Pad printing is an effective method of decorating parts of all kinds; from ad-specialty items such as pens and golf balls to industrial products like faceplates and propane tanks. Numerous add-ons and custom options are available to make this already productive process even more efficient for Syringe Pad Printing Machine. Some are designed to enhance parts handling, while others address potential bottlenecks in the printing workflow. Let’s take a look some of these beneficial technologies.
Most manufacturers offer standard vertical machines in one through four or six-color configurations. Multicolor open systems can have multiple cliches, or one cliche in a split inkwell. Independently adjustable cliches are more desirable than having all of the colors on a single cliche. The benefit of independent cliches is simply the ability to more easily absorb potential image-to-image and/or image-to-part-location problems.
Multicolor closed systems can also have single or multiple cliches. A few manufacturers offer small (60-mm) multicolor ink cups, commonly referred to as split ink cups, that allow you to print two or three colors. The limitation is that the colors must be side by side, unless your machine can pick up once and then stroke the print two or three times. In that instance, you can shuttle the part to print colors on top of one another. The other limitation is that split ink cups are difficult to manufacture, and thus are expensive.
The four types of indexers are pneumatic, electronic, stepper-motor driven, and manual. Pneumatic indexers are less expensive and more popular than the other automated shuttle systems. Pneumatic indexers can have multiple positions by means of either multiple cylinders or a single, more expensive cylinder equipped with magnetic brakes. Be very careful to avoid any fluctuation to air pressure when working with parts of a critical nature on pneumatic indexers.
Electronic indexers have programmable, servo-driven motors. These indexers are more expensive than their pneumatic counterparts and are somewhat hard to find. Stepper-motor-driven shuttles can be programmed to travel a desired number of steps between prints. Stepper-motor and electronic indexers will typically last longer than pneumatic indexers. Manual indexers are used for low-volume jobs where the registration of colors is not critical.
Hot-air dryers are common on racetrack conveyors and rotary tables. Even though most pad-printing inks dry to the touch within a few minutes, most people prefer to have the additional drying equipment, especially if they are using two-component ink or printing multiple colors with a lot of coverage, or at high speeds.
Racetrack conveyors are standard equipment on many multicolor machines. Racetracks are pneumatically driven in most cases and can have several nests or fixtures. If necessary, cams can be attached to allow the nests to rotate in between stations for printing multiple sides on a given part. These systems are rarely used outside of the pad-printing industry.