THE FLEXOGRAPHIC PRINTING PROCESS

Flexography is one method of printing words and images onto foil, plastic film, corrugated board, paper, paperboard, cellophane, or even fabric. In fact, since the flexographic process can be used to print on such a wide variety of materials, it is often the best graphic arts reproduction process for package printing.

The invention of cellophane in 1930 started a revolution in modern packaging. This clean, nonabsorbent film could not be practically printed by any other printing process. But flexography’s quick-drying inks were excellent for this new material. Cellophane gave a tremendous boost to package printing along with polyethylene, a stretchy, synthetic plastic that became popular in the early 1950s.

Another versatile packaging material is corrugated board, used to contain everything from ice-packed seafood to fine china. Because of its rigidity and flutes, corrugated board does not wind through the press from a roll. Individual sheets are fed into the in-line press one by one. All of the rollers, including the printing cylinders, transport the board through the printing and converting operations. Corrugated board is so extensively used that it has been called today’s “packaging workhorse.”

 

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