Digital Vs. Flexographic Printing
In the year 1993, the label industry was first impacted by digital printing. This was made with the introduction of the Indigo Omnius digital press. Flexography, which is shortened as flexo is a technique of printing that was developed in the early 1900s. This technology makes use of flexible relief plates and semi liquid inks either UV cured, water-based or solvent-based. While both these methods have undergone great developments in the recent years, there are some pros and cons associated with them thereby making the one better than the other in some situations. Let us get into the details about the advantages and disadvantage of both these methods:
Advantages of digital:
Under this method, as the copy is generated by the digital file, there will not be any requirement of printing plates. Great quality output can be created with the help of this technique. The time required for setting up this type of system is lesser and during version changes and job setup processes, there will be a minimal substrate waste. This method will be suitable for shorter runs.
Advantages of flexo:
Flexographic press can create outputs at a faster pace and under this method it will be possible to print a wide variety of substrate materials. Since most of the presses operating under this method are equipped with a minimum of eight stations, ease of printing can be there. Under flexographic printing methods, the presses need not have to pay a huge purchasing cost and maintenance cost. This technique would be the ideal choice for longer runs and where huge quantity of labels should be produced. The greatest benefit associated with a flexographic press is that all printing and converting processes inclusive of die cutting, laminating, varnishing and priming can be done by a single pass through the press. This in turn will reduce the operating cost. The consumables will also cost lesser under this technique.
Disadvantages of digital:
Very slow process when compared to flexo. Also, the cost of initial investment and maintenance will be huge. The consumables and primary inks will cost more for the users.
Disadvantage of flexo:
The setting up time taken will be more under the flexographic printing method. The printing plates will cost more, but the plates can be used again and again and it can last for millions of impressions when properly maintained.
It has been found that the flexo method would be the ideal choice for food production industries.