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Flexographic Printing: The Interminable Service



Flexography is the latest version of letterpress printing. Flexographic printing is a rotary printing process utilizing flexible plates with a raised relief. It is a classic method that can be used on almost any type of substrate, including crumpled cardboard, cellophane, label stock, fabric, plastic and metallic film. In this new generation of digital typography, flexography holds its own prevalence, especially when it comes to product labeling. Indeed, the flexographic process can be used to print on a wide variety of materials and it is often the best graphic arts process for package printing.

A Modern-Classic Flexographic Printing

Flexographic printing uses malleable photopolymer plates covered around rolling cylinders on a web press. Each plate is adhered to a cylinder and inked by a cell structured roll called anilox. The inked plates have a shortly raised image and rotate at high speeds to alter the image to the substrate. Flexography’s inks can be used in many types of absorbent and non-absorbent materials. In contrary to the offset printing where they used individual sheets of paper, the materials used allow large pieces to run in flexography with fewer interruptions. Furthermore, flexography is suitable to print distinctive patterns, particularly for wallpaper and gift wrapping.

On the other hand, flexographic printing has its advantages and disadvantages. This is presented as follows:


  • Flexographic printing is faster than rotogravure.
  • The printing is versatile. It can be used on almost any non-absorbent material.
  • Can print on a wide variety of substrate materials.
  • The maintenance and equipment used are low cost.
  • It can be used with water-based and oil-based inks. (Currently, water-based inks are popular because of their non-toxicity)
  • All printing, varnishing, laminating and die cutting done in a single transition.
  • It is not very advanced since it cannot bring off comprehensive and intricate artwork as compared to that produced by rotogravure printing.
  • The colors of the final product produced by flexographic printing are bold and brittle.
  • The whole process is less compelling this is partly because flexography is old.
  • It takes several hours to set up complicated jobs such as printing, varnishing, laminating and die cutting.
  • The cost of the printing plates is relatively expensive, but when they properly care, they last for millions of artworks.
  • If version changes are needed, they are time-consuming to make.

Despite a clear disadvantage, there is no insufficiency of businesses that would take flexography.

Widely Used Printing Process

Now, we already know the characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of the flexographic printing. And in order to fully understand the scope of flexography, we only need to notice how many products are printed using flexography. Our supermarket’s counter, freezers, and displays were wrapped through flexographic printing. In department stores, clothes, linens and wallpapers are all printed by flexographic industry. The plastic and paper bags which are used to carry all of these items are also impressed by flexography. Because of its wide variety of applications, flexography has enlarged into a multibillion-dollar segment in the package printing industry.


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