Looking back to the late 1980s, it is easy to see how the industry has evolved. At that time, Syringe Pad Printing Machine was just beginning to compete with hot stamping and screen printing. Additionally, sealed ink cups had just been invented.
By the mid-90s it was not uncommon for large manufacturers to have dozens of pad printing systems dedicated to printing the same parts, over multiple shifts, for years. Meanwhile, hundreds of small contract decorators survived by running service orders. While a few of the dedicated systems featured automatic loading and unloading, the majority were manual load/unload, single-color machines with pneumatic drive systems and very little, if any, flexibility.
As manufacturing moved off shore, smaller shops disappeared. By the 2008 recession, only those decorators that had made the conscious decision to upgrade their equipment and processes were left. On the other hand, many equipment and consumable suppliers either expanded to include other technologies as part of their offerings or disappeared.
Today, those companies that are the most successful with pad printing are utilizing newer, highly efficient pad printing systems that offer flexibility and substantially more process control than those offered by their older counterparts.
The most successful pad printers make use of highly efficient systems that allow for greater flexibility and better process control.
So, what constitutes a highly efficient, flexible pad printing system with more process control?
First, start with efficiency, or, more specifically, energy efficiency. The average cost of commercial electricity in the United States in 2018 was $0.1074 per kilowatt (Kw) hour.1 Adding in the associated fees that most power companies tack on, that cost ends up being a loaded cost of ~ $0.1794 per Kw hour.
A typical, single-color, 90 mm pneumatic pad printer working at an average of 1,000 cycles per hour will require about 2.7 natural liters (NL) of compressed air at 90 p.s.i. That is the equivalent of about 950 cubic feet per hour, or 16 cubic feet per minute. It takes about 0.25 horsepower (HP) to generate one cubic foot per minute (CFM).
Therefore, it takes about .207 Kw to generate the necessary horsepower to generate one CFM. Thus, it will take 3.3 Kw to power that printer for one hour.