The principle of flexographic printing involves the use of a flexible printing plate, usually made of rubber or photopolymer material.
Flexo printing machines use a flexographic plate to transport ink and transfer it to the printing material to achieve the printing process.
1. Ink supply
Flexo printing machines have an ink fountain that supplies ink to a rotating drum called an anilox roller. The surface of the anilox roller is engraved with a pattern of small holes.
2. Ink metering
An anilox roller rotates through an ink fountain, filling the cells with a controlled amount of ink. The scraper removes excess ink from the surface of the drum, leaving only the ink in the unit.
3. Plate impression
A flexographic printing plate mounted on a plate cylinder comes into contact with an inked anilox roller. Ink is transferred from the cells of the anilox roller to the raised areas of the printing plate.
4. Image transfer
A printing plate carrying ink is brought into contact with a substrate such as paper, cardboard or film under pressure. Ink is transferred from the printing plate to the substrate to form the desired image or text.
After the ink is transferred, the printed substrate passes through a drying system that can use heat, air, or ultraviolet (UV) light to cure the ink and ensure its adhesion to the substrate.
Additional processes such as cutting, laminating or painting can be performed on the printed substrate to obtain the desired end product.
Common applications of flexo printing:
This printing method is commonly used on packaging materials, labels, corrugated cardboard, and a variety of other products.
Flexo printing enables high-speed production and is suitable for a variety of substrates, including rough and non-porous surfaces. The flexibility of the printing plate allows it to conform to the shape of the substrate, resulting in excellent print quality.
Flexo printing machines are widely used in the packaging industry due to their adaptability to different materials, high speed and high efficiency.