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Why You Should Choose Flexographic Printing Over Offset Printing

flexographic printing over offset printing

When you want to print an image onto a product, there are a few things that you need to think about first. One thing you need to consider is the need to have a high-quality image to ensure that the print looks good on the item you are printing it on.

Aside from that, you should also be deliberate with the printing process that you choose. Two of the most popular printing processes are flexographic printing and offset printing.

Flexographic printing, also known as flexography, uses a flexible relief plate to print an image directly onto an item. On the other hand, offset printing transfers the image from the plate to a rubber blanket to the printing surface.

No printing process is better than the other. However, you need to figure out which printing process is the best for your conditions.

Flexographic Printing Advantages

There are many advantages that you can get from flexographic printing. Here are some of them:

  • Quick Production Process: One of the most significant advantages that flexographic printing has is its swift production process. Although set-up time is moderately slow, the production speed more than makes up for that. As innovations on flexography machines continue, the set-up time reduces as well, so you can enjoy an even faster production.

  • Versatile Substrate and Ink Options: Another huge benefit to using flexographic printing is that it has a vast range of potential substrates that one can print on. A substrate is a material where you want to print your image.

Since flexographic printing can accommodate a lot of ink types, it can support printing for both porous or non-porous materials. Most of the time, flexography is the printing process to use when you print on non-porous materials given its flexibility.

  • Low Operational Costs: In the long run, flexographic printing has lower operational costs than other printing processes. Its low operational costs and quick turnaround process is excellent for high-volume productions. 

  • Environmentally-Friendly Printing Process: With the right practice, using flexography can be an environmentally-friendly printing process. Water-based inks are a great way to make eco-friendly choices when printing because you reduce the number of toxins released into the environment. 

  • Quality Printing Results: Flexographic printing creates quality and attractive results. Combined with its production speed, flexography provides a good return on investment overall.

  • More Durable Plates: In comparison to offset printing, flexography has plates that are a lot more durable. You can reuse the flexography plates often before there is the need to replace them again.

Flexographic Printing Disadvantages

Flexography also has a few disadvantages that are worth considering when making your printing process choice. Here are a few of the disadvantages that you should know:

  • Moderately Higher Price for Lower Volume Productions: If you are going to print a low volume of items, then it might not be worth it to use flexography. Since each color used in print requires a different plate, it’s better for medium to large productions because of the set-up.

  • Longer Set-up Time: As mentioned before, the more colors needed in print, the longer the set-up time will be. The reason why this is the case is that each color requires a different printing plate. Therefore, the set-up is really where flexographic printing ends up taking its time.

  • Complex Printing Equipment: Flexographic printing process has a lot more moving parts that need a regular maintenance schedule. Failure to maintain the equipment regularly can create more expensive repair or future maintenance costs.

Offset Printing Advantages

Offset printing, on the other hand, is one of the most common printing processes in the industry ‒ and for a good reason. Here are several advantages that you can get when you use offset printing:

  • High-Quality Printing Results: When it comes to consistency, accuracy, and quality of the print, offset printing is the way to go. The offset printing process, over the years, has a more improved Pantone Matching System that makes color delivery accurate from the computer to the printing plates.

  • Reduce Wasted Prints: With the offset printing process, it’s a lot easier to control the ink during the printing. Ink flow is a lot more adjustable, making it easier to reduce the instances of poor contrast in your prints. Since there are fewer poor contrast prints, production costs decrease due to wasted prints.

  • Print Material Variety: With offset printing, you can print on a lot of different print materials. It’s suitable for paper, metal, plastic, cloth, wood, and so much more. However, this printing process is the best choice for printing magazines, brochures, newspapers, and the like.

  • Ideal for Large Production Jobs: Offset printing is better for a more substantial volume of production jobs. The reason for this is that the production cost decreases as the amount to print increases. Aside from that, the production and the printing process go by faster for higher volume printing.

Offset Printing Disadvantages

But of course, offset printing doesn’t come without a catch. Here are some of them:

  • Customization Difficulties: Customization options are a lot more limited with offset printing. The more customization a project requires will make the set-up a lot more complicated since you’ll have to keep on changing it for each customization.

  • Costly Low Volume Project: The side effect of being more useful for large production is that it means that low volume projects will be a lot more expensive.

  • Extra Maintenance: The plates for offset printing can oxidize if not properly maintained. Aside from that, the printing plates are less durable and not as reusable as those in flexographic printing.

  • Set-Up Costs: Overall, the set-up for offset printing takes a lot longer and runs a higher risk of producing waste. Thus, it can raise the set-up costs as well.

Offset Printing vs. Flexographic Printing

Offset printing and flexographic printing each have their advantage and disadvantage. Depending on the needs of your project, the printing process that you need will be different.

Offset printing is best for magazines and print-type projects. Meanwhile, flexographic printing offers excellent quality and quick printing process if you are looking for a medium to the large printing process. Aside from that, it has a lot more versatile choices for inks as well as printing material — a good bang for your buck.

Based on the different advantages and disadvantages of these two printing processes, flexography has a lot to offer. It is more convenient, versatile, and quicker than offset printing and offers sufficient printing quality too. Therefore, if you are looking for a printing process, consider flexographic printing.

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