FAQ

How does a custom label get made?

What is flexographic printing?

Flexography (often abbreviated to flexo) is a form of printing process which utilizes a flexible relief plate. It is essentially a modern version of letterpress which can be used for printing on almost any type of substrate, including plastic, metallic films, cellophane, and paper.

Why is flexo printing recommended?

It’s higher speed and lower cost create efficiency over screen printing and letter press printing.

What is tooling?

Tooling refers to the tools and parts needed required for flexographic printing. Details of tools below

Plates

The plates are flexible polymer sheets that wrap around cylinders to create the image. One plate is needed for every color. We like to think of these as the “rubber stamp” part of the printing process. There are two popular methods in which plates are made.

Die

The die is the cutting tool that will create the shape of the label. These tools come in hard case cylinders and flexible depending on the type of material it’s cutting as well as the volume of labels it will be used for.

Fountain roller

The fountain roller transfers the ink that is located in the ink pan to the second roller, which is the anilox roller. In Modern Flexo printing this is called a Meter or “metering” roller.

Anilox roller

This is what makes flexography unique. The anilox roller meters the predetermined ink that is transferred for uniform thickness. It has engraved cells that carry a certain capacity of inks that can only be seen with a microscope. These rollers are responsible to transfer the inks to the flexible-plates that are already mounted on the Plate Cylinders.

Doctor Blade (optional)

The doctor blade scrapes the anilox roll to insure that the predetermined ink amount delivered is only what is contained within the engraved cells. Doctor blades have predominantly been made of steel but advanced doctor blades are now made of polymer materials. With several different types of beveled edges.

Plate cylinder

The plate cylinder holds the printing plate, which is soft flexible rubber-like material. Tape, magnets, tension straps and/or ratchets hold the printing plate against the cylinder.

Impression Cylinder (optional)

The impression cylinder applies pressure to the plate cylinder, where the image is transferred to the substrate. This impression cylinder or ” print Anvil” is NOT optional. The Plate Cylinder NEEDS something to apply pressure(Impression) to.

Die

The die is the cutting tool that will create the shape of the label. These tools come in hard case cylinders and flexible depending on the type of material it’s cutting as well as the volume of labels it will be used for.

Why does it matter what way my labels are wound?

If your labels are being hand applied, it generally does not matter what way the labels are wound or how many are supplied on a roll as long as it’s manageable to be held in your hand.

If your labels are being applied by machine, the direction in which the labels come off the roll is important to have them applied properly.

Please click to view our chart on : Printing and Winding Design Chart for Roll Labels. 

Why do you need to know the ID (Inside diameter or core size) or OD (outside diameter) of my label rolls?

The ID or inside diameter of a roll is actually the core size. The core size is needed based on the equipment that the labels are being printed or applied on.

If a label is hand applied, the core size generally does not matter. Industry standard would be 3″ Core.

The OD or outside diameter is required so the finished label roll will fit inside a printer or on an applicator.

What is the difference between Thermal Transfer and Direct Thermal?

Thermal transfer material requires a thermal ribbon to print the image on the label.

Direct thermal material requires the heat of your printer, to create an image on the label.

To tell them apart, you can do a simple scratch test.  Take the label and scratch it quickly using your nail.  If a dark mark appears, it is a direct thermal label.  If no mark appears, it is a thermal transfer label.

Where are my labels being manufactured?

Your flexographic labels are being manufactured in our facility in Hillsborough NJ. For short run or digital labels, we have partners in several areas throughout the country to keep costs down.

What does PMS Color mean?

PMS is the Pantone Matching System used by the printing industry to print spot colors. Most applications that support color printing allow you to specify colors by indicating the Pantone name or number. You can purchase PMS books which have all the colors in the Pantone Matching System. The books are universal and this assures that you get the right color when the file is printed. Please note you may look at a PMS color on your computer, however the color may look differently when displayed on your computer or device.

http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone/colorfinder.aspx
PMS works well for spot colors but not for process colors. Process colors are generally specified using the CMYK color model. (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) Just like in your laser or inkjet color printers.