Flexographic Label

Flexographic is a broad term in the printing industry. This process is used to print many types of substrates, but in our business, we use it primarily to print pressure-sensitive labels.

 Flexography, as the name implies, uses flexible printing plates with a raised image that are mounted on a rotating cylinder. This cylinder picks up liquid ink and simultaneously transfers the image to the substrate.

Generally, blanks (no print) up to 7 colors for us, can be produced for mid to large label or tag runs which are perfect for this type of printing.

We can produce spot colors (please refer to the Pantone Color matching system) or we can produce a multicolor picture like label utilizing 4 color process. This process incorporates 4 base colors, yellow, Magenta, Cyan, and black to produce vibrant picturesque images.

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We start out with a roll of blank pressure sensitive material and as it runs through the press each printed color is registered and all registered colors are diecut into a specific shape. Just like a cookie cutter, the finished shape stays on the liner as the waste matrix or surrounding areas are stripped away and discarded. At the final stage, the product is either finished in rolls, sheets, or fanfold.

Glossary of some flexo terms:

Anilox roll: Mechanically engraved steel and chrome coated metering roll used in flexographic presses to meter a controlled film of ink from the contacting elastomer covered fountain roller to the printing plates which print the web. The volume of ink is affected by the cell count per linear inch and the dimension of the cell and cell wall of the engraving. Manufactured from copper and chromium-plated steel. Also given a coating of aluminum oxide (ceramic) or copper and chrome.

Anilox system: The inking system commonly employed in flexographic presses consisting of an elastomer covered fountain roller running in the ink pan, adjustable against a contacting engraved metering roll, the two as a unit adjustable to the printing plate roll, design roll, or plain elastomer coating roll as the case may be. Ink is flooded into the engraved cells of the metering roll, excess doctored off by the wiping or squeezing action of the fountain roll, or a doctor blade and that which remains beneath the surface of the metering roll is transferred to the printing plates.

Camera-ready copy: Print-ready art. We generally ask for Adobe Illustrator or vector files. We can sometimes use fonts saved as outlines.

Labels are measured as width dimension first and length dimension second. As an example: a 5 x 3 die-cut label would be specified 5” x 3’ with a 3.125’ total repeat ( adding the .125” gap to the 3” label). Some diecuts are automatically applied as well as hand-applied. In case of a 5 x 3 buttcutt the repeat would be 3” (no gap). Buttcut labels are generally hand applied.