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Understanding Flexographic Printing

Flexography is the modern form of letterpress printing. This traditional printing method is used on a wide range of substrates including cellophane, corrugated cardboards, fabrics, label stocks, and metallic films. It makes use of quick-drying, semi-liquid ink. With the new digital printing age, flexographic printing plays a great role in the area of packaging and labeling products. For successful flexography, one must get the appropriate tools needed such as a flexstand, flexcart, and one of the best flex storage solutions.

Flexible photopolymer printing plates are used in flexographic printing. The plates are wrapped on a web press around the rotation cylinders. With a marginally raised image, the inked plates rotate at high speeds transferring an image to the substrate. The ink can print on multiple types of materials, whether absorbent, or non-absorbent.

Unlike the individual paper sheets, one uses in offset printing, the material rolls used during flexography make it possible for large orders to run with limited interruptions of reloading the substrate.

Designing for flexographic printing

Just like all the other forms of printing, flexographic printing contains some specifics that relate to types of proofs, die-cut and template specifications, drop shadows, ink colors, tints, fonts, image formats, and image resolution.

File preparation and design will affect the quality of work you will get from flexography. This is the main reason it’s important to master its exact requirements even though some of them will differ from offset printing.

Designers who are new to flexographic printing should consider visiting a printing company to learn more about how a print project should be structured and how to avoid errors and delays.

Pros

• Very high press speeds
• Prints on a broad range of substrate materials
• Suitable for longer runs
• The cost of most consumables is relatively low
• The cost of maintenance and equipment is low
• Printing, laminating, varnishing and die cutting is done in one pass.

Cons

• The costs incurred while buying the printing plates is a bit high but if cared for, the plates can last for long.
• Several hours are required to set up more complex jobs that will need printing, varnishing, laminating and die cutting.
• One potentially wastes a large substrate amount while setting up a job. This potentially wastes expensive material.
• Version changes take time whenever modifications are needed.

Despite everything, this printing method is economical. The numerous benefits keep making it the most suitable printing method. If you have never tried flexography, this is the right time! If you are looking for more information, you may be interested in checking out Flex Essentials.

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