Anodised Labels

When printing on aluminum sheets for machine labels an anodizing process must be followed in order to get the printing ink to stick permanently and become scratchproof, weather resistant and solvent resistant. Ideal for printing advertising signs, front panels, serial number panels, decorative signs, flow diagrams, site plans, information signs and promotional aids for indoor or outdoor use. Equipment required includes exposure units, sealing tanks (to seal the open-pored aluminum), mechanical coating machines, cutters and corner & hole punch presses.

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Bar Code Labels & Batch Numbering

Bar coding and batch numbering machinery is available in thermal or inkjet models for printing onto adhesive labels. Thermal printers require heat sensitive continuous adhesive labels which pass through the machine under the heat generating bar code image (similar technology to the thermal facsimile). Batch coding machinery is available in inkjet and rubber stamping models.

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Bottle & Cylindrical Printing

When screen printing a round object such as juice & squeeze bottles, drinking glasses, coffee mugs, pen shafts and conical shapes such as drinking glasses, rain gauges and ashtrays a cylindrical printer is required. The correct size gear, mandrel and screen must be used to reproduce the design correctly. Objects made out of Polypropylene plastic require flame treating before printing. Ceramic/glass inks are either catalytic (2-part) or high firing inks.

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Ceramic Printing

There are two types of ceramic screen printing: under-glaze or on-glaze. Both require printing mediums mixed with glaze and a high temperature firing (pottery) kiln. Under-glaze printing medium is used when printing directly onto the raw bisque and requires a high firing temperature. Once the initial firing process in completed the ceramic tile can then be printed with a design using on-glaze colours. This can be screen printed directly onto the glazed tile/ceramic item or using a screen printed ceramic transfer decal. It is then fired a second time but at a lower temperature than. The firing process takes place in a front loader, canopy or roller type kiln at temperatures between 700 and 1000 degrees Celsius. Décor tiles vary in sizes & designs and can have a raised effect using specialized printing glazes and fine glass beads.

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Darkroom Equipment

When developing light sensitive printing emulsions, cliché's, plates and blocks the light frequency of the light source and watts must be matched according to the manufacturer's specifications. The UV content of the light is all important to develop the image to be printed successfully. Light sources are either free-standing, enclosed in a light box or housed in a drawer. A vacuum is required to ensure that the artwork positive/negative makes a perfect contact with the light sensitive emulsions/coatings. A darkroom is either "red" or "yellow" light compliant and must be free of dust and other problem causing external factors. Wash-out bays vary in shape and size according to the product to be developed.

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Die Cutting

A die is made up of a plywood board and a blade which is embedded into the wood in the cutting shape required. Laser cutting techniques ensures accurate placement of the blade. The board is then pressed down onto the product to be die-cut using a manual or pneumatic press. Examples include die-cut boxes, high density foam peak caps, car licence disc holders, key rings and other promotional items. The items can be printed before or after die-cutting.

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Digital Printers

Digital printing has had major advancements in the past twenty years. The printable size, quality of definition and durability of the inks have improved dramatically since the first digital printers. Digital printing inks are constantly developed to adhere to more and more surfaces/substrates. The printing speed has also increased through development and now holds a major portion of printing outdoor and indoor advertising displays.

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Domed Labels

A high quality label with a raised polyurethane layer giving the label a 3 dimension effect. Used with great visual effect on the rear and side of cars, computer equipment and machinery. The label is printed (digitally or screen printed) and die-cut and topped with a liquid polyurethane resin. Dispensing of resin can be done manually with a syringe type dispenser or air-driven dispenser with an adjustable flow nozzle. The amount of resin deposited is regulated to make all labels uniform and complete. Bubbles are removed and the label is left to dry to form a semi-flexible crystal-clear lens that will not yellow over time.

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Embroidery Machines

Embroidery is used in the fashion and corporate imaging industry to enhance the look of clothing, caps and badges. The machines range from single head to multi head automated machines and vary in the number of needles (colors). Together with the embroidery machine, software is required to get the design from a simple drawing to a stitch pattern. There are design houses that, using the specialized software, will convert the design and email it to you for a fee. Accessories include state of the art software, tubular & border frame work (to hold the fabric rigid during the stitching process), wide & semi cap frame work, embroidery threads, bobbins, scissors, lights and needles.

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Hot Foiling & Embossing

Machines available in manual or pneumatic models in different sizes (140 x 170 mm / 210 x 310 mm and larger). Using heat and pressure the lettering/logo is pressed into the leather product with foil or without foil (embossed look). Foils come in different colours, effects and widths e.g. traditional gold foil. The lettering can be individually set (like the old fashioned letter press) or made out of a zinc embossing die using an artwork/negative. Ideal for embossing leather goods such as wallets, key-rings and diaries.

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Laser Engravers

Technology has advanced in this field of computerized imaging resulting in a wide range of models from inexpensive table top engravers to large format high speed engravers that are capable of engraving a wide variety of surfaces such as rubber, plastic, glass and even hard metal.

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Sandblasting & Etching

Both sandblasting and etching are used with great effect in the glass industry to create a matt effect on shiny glass. The contrast of light reflection creates the design or pattern required. Examples include household & business window treatments, drinking glasses & dinnerware, trophies & medals, etc. The glass can be manually masked off using adhesive tape, computerized vinyl cut designs or photographically generated masking films. Sandblasting uses sand or aluminum oxide grit which is blasted under air pressure onto glass & chips away a layer not masked off. The longer the surface is sandblasted, the deeper the depth of the sandblasted design. Once the sandblasting is completed the masking is removed. Etching uses a corrosive paste to etch away the glass not protected by the masking. The depth of the etched design varies according to the strength of the etching paste and the duration of the etching process. Once the etching process is completed the masking is manually or chemically removed.

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Flexographic Labels

This method is used with great effect in the continuous printed label market, printed buckets and cosmetic containers. The design is separated into the different colours & a stereo is produced for each colour using a combination of photographic negatives & an exposure unit/laser engraving. The flexible stereo(s) is placed on the Flexo printing machine drum which rotates picking up the ink off the roller on the raised area/design which is in turn rolled onto the printing surface. The inks can be air dried or cured under ultra-violet lights.

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Flocking

Coloured fibre is placed into glue using static forces on a flocking machine to create designs for the clothing and promotional item industry. Flocking is also achieved by screen printing a design in reverse (mirror image) onto flocking sheets and then over-printed with a heat sensitive adhesive. The designs are then transferred using a heat press on clothing. Under the heat press the adhesive melts and once cooled, the remaining unused flocking is pealed away leaving the design intact of the clothing.

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In-mould Labelling

A process in which the design which has been pre-printed on an acetate is placed on the product during the injection-moulding process resulting in a colorfast, semi-scratch resistant and tamper proof design on a moulded product. This process is ideal when manufacturing chairs and tables and plastic buckets and containers.

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Lithography

Litho machines come in a wide range of printers ranging from single colour to multiple colour printers that use either conventional air-dry inks or UV cured inks. A photographic plate is exposed with an artwork using a photographic positive/negative. After the plate is washed out the design remains behind as a raised area to which the printing ink will attach itself as the printing drum rolls over the ink rollers. This image is in turn rolled onto the paper or substrate to be printed. Traditionally magazines, calendars, business cards, invoice books etc. are printed in this way.

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Magnetic Signs

Magnetic sign material is available in different sheet sizes and thicknesses. Using a flat bed screen printing machine (available in manual or automatic models), a screen, squeegee and printing inks the design is printed onto the magnetized flexible material. This type of sign is ideal for temporary marking of vehicles e.g. estate agents cars, press vehicles, test vehicles. The magnetized material is also used in the advertising & promotions industry for fridge magnets.

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Pad Printing

Machines available manual/electronic in different sizes and number of colors. Ideal for printing logos onto shaped objects such as golf balls, pens, promotional items, electronic components, glasses & coffee mugs. The diameter of print is restricted and varies according to the shape and diameter of the item to be printed. Machines range from 1 - 6 color printers with up to 20 stations for loading on a conveyor system. A shaped silicone pad picks up the solvent based ink from the recess in the cliché (plate) and deposits the image on the item to be printed. Fine definition can be achieved on a variety of printing surfaces. Number of colors is restricted to the type of printer only if the item to be printed cannot be re-registered for successive colors. Pad printing inks are formulated to adhere to different surfaces. Colors are matched to the Pantone ® Color Matching System. Available in air-dry, catalyzed and UV curing inks.

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Pantone Colour Matching

The PANTONE ® formula guide provides an accurate method for the selection, specification, communication, reproduction, matching and control of solid PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM Colors, the international printing, publishing and packaging color language. Each color identified by unique PANTONE name or number. PANTONE ® formula guides are available from PANTONE Licensed Printing Ink Manufacturers.

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Printed Circuit Boards

A printed circuit board is created using a combination of photographic techniques & etching and finished off using screen printing. P.C. boards are created consisting of conductive tracks, a protective layer of solder masking and printed legends/writing. Extreme care must be taken at all times to make sure the etching and printing is accurately registered, that the environment under which the board is produced is dust free and that the boards are static free. Printing machines vary in size and are available in manual or automatic models. PC boards are also printed with conductive pastes so that components can be placed with Surface Mounted Devices (SMD) allowing for a thinner and more technologically advance board.

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Rubber Stamps & Sterios

Rubber stamps are available as off-the-shelf stamps (used in offices e.g. C.O.D. / URGENT / PAID), individually set type assembled to your requirements (letterpress) and rubber stamps that are engraved/etched using an artwork generated from a computer design program (e.g. for company logos and fancy typefaces). Two types of stamp holders are available "self-inking" and stamps adhered to a handle. Different types of inks are available.

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Graphic Screen Printing

For printing posters, boards, signage, sublimation paper, glass and any other thin flat substrates. Available in manual or automatic printing machine models, with or without a vacuum printing bed. Inks: Solvent or waterbased inks. Air-dried or UV cured inks. Screen Darkroom Equipment: A light source, jet spray gun and wash out bay is required in a yellow light darkroom, as well a complete set of screen cleaning chemicals and photo emulsions. Screens: Frames sizes vary according to the size of the print and the mesh count must be matched to the type of ink and the definition required. Additional drying equipment required: Drying racks and Tunnel Dryers.

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Security & Access Cards

Desktop printers are available for in-house printing of encoded name tags, identity cards and security access cards with multi-colour logos, colour photograph capabilities and sequential card identification numbering.

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Sublimation & Transfer Printing

Sublimation or transfer printing can be achieved using digital or screen printing techniques. Sublimation ink is printed onto transfer paper in reverse (mirror image) and once it is dried it is heat transferred onto the fabric or surface using a heat pres. Under heat a chemical explosion occurs releasing the pigment colours onto items such as promotional clothing, cycle gear, flags, T-shirts and hard surfaces such as pre-treated coffee mugs, plates and ceramic plaques.

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Textile/T-shirt Printing

When printing a T-shirt, overall or promotional clothing with two or more colours you will require a manual or automatic carousel printing machine. A screen & squeegee is required for each colour to be printed therefore a six colour design requires a six colour printer. The T-shirt is pulled over a laste (board) and removed once all the respective colours have been printed with waterbased or Plastisol inks. These inks require "curing" to make the ink colorfast on the fabric. Inks: Bases & pigments are required for mixing ink colours. Screen Darkroom Equipment: A light source, jet spray gun & washout bay is required in a yellow light darkroom, as well a complete set of screen cleaning chemicals and photo emulsions. Screens: Frames sizes vary according to the size of the print and the mesh count must be matched to the type of ink and the definition required. Additional equipment required: Flash Dryers (to dry inks between prints), Heat Press (to cure the ink) and Tunnel Dryers.

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Vinyl Cut Lettering

A computer driven vinyl cutter is ideal for the sign writing, marking and the sandblasting industry. Vinyls are available in different roll widths, thicknesses, colors and durability for use indoors or outdoors. These vinyl cutters will also cut sign writers masking and Rubylith (used for positive making in the litho and screen printing industry). The cutters can be operated with specialized signage software or Corel Draw (or similar) graphic design packages.

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