The Continuing Evolution of Printing
Right around 1938, something groundbreaking happened. Well, it just so happens that quite a few groundbreaking technological advancements were happening in the 30’s and 40’s (Two world wars will do that!).
However, the breakthrough we’re talking about today was made at the hands of Chester Carlson, an american physicist, inventor, and patent attorney from Seattle, Washington. What he invented was a dry printing process called electrophotography. What’s remarkable about his invention is that the process eventually became the foundation of technology used for the laser printers we use today.
As we fast forward in history the first high speed printer was not developed until 1953 and was used on the Univac computer. But that wasn’t the first technological leap that printing made. As a technology, pad printing experienced a pretty drastic change of direction after World War II, when newly available silicone allowed the process to be more widely used. Before then, it was only really utilized by the watch-making industry. With more affordable (and advanced) equipment, engineers and product designers began to see a world of opportunity in the ability to print on just about any kind of surface.
In the simplest terms, the process behind pad printing transfers a 2-D image onto a 3-D object. The process is completed by using an indirect offset printing process that involves an image being transferred from a cliché, onto a silicone pad, and into a substrate. Today this technology is well established and spans many industries. Some of the main focuses include printing for appliances, printing on flexible circuit boards, printing for touch-screen applications,, and printing on plastic parts.
This particular type of printing can also dramatically increase the speed in which printing takes place; in return, the cost is reduced significantly. Today the most advanced printing system in the world is the Logica 08 Multi-Format. This machine is specifically designed to provide fully automated services. In addition the Logica 08 helps mold printing and membrane printing become a reality.
So next time you look at an appliance panel, cell phone, automotive part, sports equipment or a toy and you see a graphic or logo impressed on it you can almost guarantee it was put there by a pad printer.