Tech Tip Tuesday: How Do You Correct Distortion With Pad Printing?
Distortion means different things to different people. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
We will first speak to pad printing.
If we are to stay with a fairly standard definition of distortion … the printed image is the same size and clarity as the film from which the cliché was made were it overlaid … the most common causes are odd shape, e.g.: cylinder, obstructions in and around the print area, e.g.: raised elements of the product, knockouts, etc., and the product not being perpendicular to the print stroke.
For odd form printing the first line of defense is utilization of a pad that is a bit oversized for the job. There begin to be issues that are tangential such as compression capability and cliché clearance but we will assume that the machine is capable. In this case the larger the pad … the less distorted the image starts to become.
Obstructions can be overcome with design of a custom pad to circumvent obstructions coming in contact with the pad.
Part not perpendicular can sometimes be tricky but the easy answer is to adjust tooling for presenting the part so that the image area is as perpendicular as is possible.
In all cases, when it comes to a point where the pad size, tooling corrections, custom pads no longer help artwork distortion (distortion correction) can be used to account for predictable distortions introduced from the above defined issues.