Today, in the eyes of many, flexo printing technology has become the most preferred superior print process in various industries since it provides an optimal combination of productivity, flexibility and quality. It can also adapt to different materials and still use multiple ink types, including UV and water-based inks. Additionally, you can use it on almost any substrate from paper to plastic, corrugated to film, since it's adaptable and easily holds up.
If you are planning to use flexo on graph paper, lined paper or other office accessories, read on for more insights on what you need to consider.
4 Things to Consider When Flexo Printing Graph Paper
When printing on graph paper, whether on a notebook paper, index card, steno book, or other paper forms, consistent quality is required to bring out a uniform product. Therefore, here are some considerations you need to make to get a good outcome.
- Laser engraving vs grinding
- Elastomer compound capabilities
- Precise stepping and repeats
Laser Engraving vs Grinding
In order for the line work of the graph paper to be transferred from the image carrier to the substrate, the design must be imprinted into the image carrier material. There are essentially two options to accomplish this: grinding the lines into the image carrier or laser engraving them.
Modern printers prefer laser engraving to milling / grinding for the following reasons:
- The ability to flare the shoulder of the line. The ability to vary the height and angle of the shoulder to provide maximum run life and consistent line weight throughout the run.
- The consistent quality. Lines that are milled or ground are more apt to distortion and “fattening” after a number of runs. Laser engraved lines on elastomer flexo sleeves maintain the precision as they wear, and result in more precise prints over longer periods of time.
- Not having to factor in distortion. Since laser engraving is done in the round, at the desired pitch, no file distortion is needed.
Elastomer Compound Capabilities
Elastomer is more durable for use as an image carrier material when compared to photopolymer, allowing for more runs and less replacement.
At Luminite, we have a wide variety of elastomer compounds to suit all printing project needs. Our technical support team can help choose the compound that is optimized for your processes to ensure long-life and quality.
We offer in-house surface tension testing, to ensure the surface tension and energy of your system is precise -- eliminating costly defects down the line.
Ink is a significant consideration when printing graph paper. Water-based ink works well because it easily absorbs into the fibers of the paper.
When selecting an ink, work closely with your other material providers to ensure that your surface tension and energy of the system are optimized. If your surface tension is too low, your lines will not be dark enough. If it is too high, your lines will come out distorted and chunky.
Precise Stepping and Repeats
Step and repeat procedure involves creating a layout containing repeated images multiple times, mainly in a uniform pattern.
Depending on the type of quad needed, stepping and repeat may be of high performance when it comes to holding line weight. If printing medical charts, for example, it is important to consider this more stringently.
For more information about printing medical charts and other supplies, please check out our previous blog post here.
Flexo Printing Graph Paper The Right Way
Luminite is a leading flexo printing service provider and has continually perfected this technology over the years. As a result, we ensure top-notch materials and products from print sleeves, print cylinders, printing plates, and the patented Load-n-Lok technology.
If you want the best prints for graph paper, whether on steno books, index cards, notebook paper and more, contact us to help you produce quality prints.