What is flexographic printing?
Flexographic printing is more commonly referred to as flexo printing. It is a mass production printing process carried out at high-speed using quick-drying inks that create high-resolution prints on a range of surfaces.
Flexible photopolymer plates are digitally imaged and mounted to carbon fibre sleeves where ink is evenly applied to the plate. The ink is then transferred to the substrate, imprinting the images and text to create the printed stock. Flexo is a cost-effective process for printing materials in a range of volumes from tens of kilos to multiple tonnes.
Operating state-of-the-art, semi-automated, high speed flexo presses with quick changeover times, such as the Comexi F2MB, is a skilled trade that requires expertise and experience.
Flexo printing: transforming flexible packaging for food and medical applications
Flexo printing is widely used in the packaging industry and is particularly suited to flexible packaging. The ability to print using a wide range of inks and substrates such as metallics, flexible film and paper provides creative freedom at the design stage but also has other benefits during the printing process. For example, flexo presses can print large areas of high-quality colour, line and tone, using food safe, low viscosity inks. These inks are fast drying which speeds up production and lowers costs.
The ability to use safe inks makes flexo printing an ideal choice for creating printed flexible packaging for the food industry and for other industries that have strict safety standards such as the medical and healthcare industries.
Advantages of flexo printing process
Flexo printing is suited to a wide range of print runs from niche projects for smaller businesses to high volume print runs for major brands and supermarkets. It is ideal for complex print jobs that require exceptional quality results – excellent colour matching and crisp, clear definition.
- Ability to print on a wide range of substrates
- Exact Pantone colour matching and colour consistency
- Cost-effective for a wide range of print runs
- High speed print process
- Ability to integrate finishing processes such as laminating, varnishing and coatings
- High-definition print quality for clear text and codes
- High volume print – multiple prints in a single pass
- Greater variety of inks including water-based, fluorescent and metallics
- High ink volume transfer for solid colours in a single pass – lower cost and quicker
- Environmentally friendly substrate and ink options
Selecting flexo printing: what to keep in mind
Complexity of your packaging design
With flexographic printing, you can reproduce more complex designs with intricate details using a wider variety of printing techniques. Special effects can also be created using different types of ink and varnish.
Flexographic printing process is suited to a wide range of quantities. Larger volumes can be produced much more cost effectively and at a faster rate than digital printing. In certain instances, flexographic printing may have higher initial set-up costs than other printing processes but in the long run the cost per print is likely to be lower and therefore more cost-effective overall.
Other considerations when calculating your return on investment are choice of material and design complexity.
Material choice will also have an influence on the type of printing process that will best suit your job. However, because flexographic printing is capable of printing on a greater variety of substrates, there is sure to be an option that will deliver quality results for your chosen design and function.
For over 20 years, Terinex Flexibles has been producing high-definition flexographic printed petfood and food packaging for brand owners and manufacturers. For printed flexible packaging that will do your brand proud, contact our team today.