Flexographic (Flexo) direct printing on corrugated is a process of applying ink similar to using a rubber stamp. The flexo printing process is the most common and economical method of custom branding on corrugated mailers, cartons, and retail POP (Point of Purchase) displays
Here at Packaging Design, flexo print plates are utilized on rotary die cutting equipment. The printing plates are mounted on a metal cylinder which rotates. Ink is added and the print plate stamps an image on sheets of corrugated which are being fed through the machine. Each color of the graphic design is broken out onto its own print plate. For example, if a customer chooses a design with three colors then there will be three print plates. Although more costly, many customers choose to print both the outside and the inside of their packaging for extra marketing impact. Additionally, some customers do what we call reverse out prints, usually on white corrugated board. This is where ink is applied to the negative spaces of the design leaving a positive image in white.
Manufacturing print plates is an art form combined with modern technology. Here’s how Packaging Design’s print plate partners, Luttrell Engraving, www.Leigraphics.com, make print plates: First a negative image of the desired print design is created. Next the negative image is placed under a UV light which shines through onto a photosensitive sheet of material. Where the UV light shines onto the sheet, the material hardens to form the print surface. The residual, non-hardened material is then washed away leaving the positive print surface raised on a flexible sheet. This sheet is then mounted on a plastic print plate backing and is ready to use in producing your custom branded packaging or display.
Although the print plate making process may seem complicated, printing your custom design on corrugated mailers, boxes, and displays is not. It is our specialty here at Packaging Design. We can help guide you through the process of branding your packaging in order to take the next step in the ecommerce or retail markets. Visit our website, www.pack-design.com, for photo galleries of our work and case studies of successful customer partnerships.