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Understanding Some Of The Less Common Package Printing Processes

Business Blog

If your business is a specialized one or if you have decided to invest heavily in your marketing, then boxes with printed graphics may be a good choice for you. With almost any sort of packaging material, you have a wide variety of choices when it comes to the process used to add graphics to the cardboard. While lithography and digital printing are two of the most common, there are some other choices. Keep reading to learn about a few.


You may know that lithography printing involves the creation of plates and the offset printing once the ink is transferred to a rubber matt. The process has many advantages and is fairly quick to create large volumes of prints. However, a similar plate printing process called flexography may be needed instead. When lithography printing process are utilized, solid plates are created that are made from thin pieces of metal. The plate cannot be bent of manipulated. However, when it comes to flexographic printing, the plate can and will be bent and flexed. 

Flexographic plates are created from a polymer material and they can be created in several ways. The traditional method involves the use of gums, a sticky transfer plate, and gelatin. A digital etching process may also be used and plates are sometimes molded. 

The result is a plate that can be adhered to a cylinder. Ink is transferred to the cylinder and it is then passed over the cardboard or other type of printing material. Flexography has the advantage of being cheaper than basic lithography. Also, a wide variety of different inks can be used with the process. Also, the ink can be placed on many different types of materials that include plastic. 

You should know that images will not be as crisp with the printing, but the process is often quite a bit cheaper than lithography. You cannot create photo quality images or ones that require four colors though. Keep this in mind when choosing your package printing method.


The rotogravure process is an intaglio one. This means that the ink that is forced onto the packaging is held in the etched part of the printing plate. With litho and flexo printing, the ink sticks to the relief or raised part of the plate instead. It is essentially the opposite of the litho printing. Like the flexography process, rotogravure utilizes a rotary printing press, so the created plate is adhered to a cylinder. 

The cylinder is engraved to transfer the ink. The advantage of this type of printing is the fact that extremely large volumes of shipping materials can be created with the cylinders. If you need thousands of the same printed boxes, then the process is ideal. Also, the roller can be passed over a variety of materials and the image will not degrade over time. This means that you can expect clear and precise images throughout the entirety of the printing process.

If you do decide to go with this printing method, you should know that you will experience higher costs based solely on the creation of the roller. This is one reason why it is only a good option if you need large volumes of printing materials. Also, it may take some time for the initial roller to be created in the first place. You will need to prepare ahead of time and quick turnarounds can only be experienced once the roller has actually been created.

With the rotogravure process, make sure that you spend a good amount of time looking over proofs. You do not want to pay for the creation of a new cylinder if you later decide that you want the image changed or adjusted in some way. 

For more info on these and other custom package printing techniques, check out sites like


31 July 2017