You see flexography printing every day in your normal routines on many items around your home. Flexography printing is on milk cartons, packaging materials, shipping label and is most widely used in your every day newspaper and comics. Flexography printing is becoming more popular for a couple of reasons; it’s a simple operation and it uses water-based inks. Flexography printing reduces solvent emissions, and saves energy which makes it more cost efficient. This method of printing helps companies to comply with solvent emission regulations in many countries. The chemicals used are solvent based inks, plate making solution, blanket or roller cleaning solvents and water. A large amount of ink is used in this method but some presses can recycle some of the wash waters and inks that were used. For more information, please check out Wikipedia.
A rotating cylinder that is wrapped with a rubber flexible plate creates the flexography prints on the materials. Sticky tape that is double sided is used to put the printing plate on the cylinder. With the flexible plate and quick-drying ink being used this method was quickly adapted by companies for printing on many different kinds of materials. It also made it easier to print on packaged items for public use.
When cellophane was invented in 1930 it became very popular and the only way to print on cellophane packaging was by the flexography printing method. With its quick drying ink that allowed the printed word and designs adhered to the nonabsorbent material of cellophane, it made this process of flexography printing more in demand.
When placing the images onto the flexographic plates that are wrapped around the cylinder, the images need to be made a bit shorter because of the stretching factor when doing flexography printing. The images are on a soft thick surface which tends to stretch the images to a larger size when printing. A formula has been devised to allow for the stretching so the words and pictures being printed will be precise on the finished product.