What You Need to Know About Our Printing Processes
At GSM Graphic Arts, we offer several printing processes that help us deliver a product to your exact specifications. They allow us to provide labels, signs and nameplates for a variety of sectors and applications.
Each printing process is different and has its own strengths, so it’s important to select the right one for your project. In this article, we’re taking a look at these processes, the differences between them, their benefits, and how we offer quality above all.
Digital Printing Process
Digital printing is used to produce high-quality products that can be used in virtually any application. The process consists of printing (or recreating) an image from a file much like a home printer would do with a piece of paper.
The digital printing process captures images from pixels and maps out small dots onto the surface that form the text, logo or design you want added to a label or to signage.
At GSM Graphic Arts, we offer several finishes, such as gloss, anti-glare and selective textures. This gives us the clarity and contrast we’re looking for. We can colour match the inks as required.
This process is ideal for pre-anodised aluminium as well, enabling us to produce multi-coloured aluminium labels and panels which can also include unique numbering and barcodes as required.
Benefits of Digital Printing
There are many reasons to choose this process, including:
- Cost – Short-run orders are generally cost-efficient.
- Quality – The colours are high quality, clear and lifelike.
- Fast Turnaround – There are no screens, so there’s a shorter set up time and labels are printed quickly.
- Environmentally-friendly – Digital printing is eco-friendly because it cuts down the waste by not using screens and by using less ink than other processes.
- Flexibility – Digital printing allows you to add any design you want to the product.
Silkscreen Printing Process
This technique has been around for a long time. It involves transferring ink onto the surface of a product through stencils that are supported by a mesh across a frame. Our silkscreen printing process is suitable for bold designs and for large order production.
We can print on a variety of surfaces, including PVC, vinyl, Polycarbonate & Polyester, and offer several finishes, like textured, gloss and anti-glare. We can also match colour standards like Pantone, BS and RAL. This process is ideal for pre-anodised aluminium as well, so we can deliver finished panels made in house.
Benefits of Silkscreen Printing
Some of the pros of using this technique include:
- Durability – This process is more durable as the ink is printed on the rear of the clear material, making it ideal for applications where longevity is a concern.
- Value – Because of its durability, silkscreen printing can give you a lot of value for money.
- Flexibility – This method is suited for different materials, from plastics and metals to textiles and banners.
- Cost – Silkscreen printing is cost-efficient for high volume requirements due to the speed of the process once set-up.
Stainless Steel Etching Process
With this process, we use corrosive chemicals to etch text detail into stainless steel. This is an accurate technique because it allows us to offer complex designs without damaging the material. The stainless steel etching process etches the text or graphic away below the surface of the stainless steel, meaning that the detail will remain in place even in harsh environments.
At GSM Graphic Arts, we can easily use 304 or 316 stainless steel grades, depending on the end use of the product. The material can also be available in bright, satin or brushed finishes, and the range of thickness we usually work with varies from 0.5mm to 2mm.
The etched detail can also be paint infilled if required to achieve a contrast for the text.
Benefits of Stainless Steel Etching
- Durability – This process creates durable and long-lasting products for a range of applications, including in very harsh environments.
- Consistency – You always get consistent results with this technique as well, especially because the etch detail is determined by silkscreen printing a resist.
- Quality – This method allows for the etching of fine details.
- Flexibility – Stainless steel etching is suitable for many applications, including offshore oil rigs, military uses, petro-chemical terminals and food processing lines.
Laser Marking Process
Laser marking refers to the process in which a beam moves across a material and discolours it, which leads to areas of contrast. The material itself is not damaged.
We offer a full fibre laser marking service at GSM Graphic Arts for nameplates and other products. The laser beam is so precise that it allows us to mark and engrave the material from a few microns up to a deeper mark.
We can use images from a variety of formats, like vector files and basic BMP files.
Benefits of Laser Marking
- Low Cost – Laser marking is suitable for prototype and development parts and low production runs at cost-efficient prices, since there’s no need for tooling costs.
- Versatility – This process can be used on different materials, from stainless steel and aluminium to acrylic and Polycarbonate. It’s also suitable for many applications, such as to mark serial numbers and unique identification.
- Speed – Laser marking is also fast, so you can get your products with a relatively quick turnaround.
- Durability – You’ll also benefit from durable nameplates, since the process will last for a long time, even in harsh conditions.
Not Sure Which One is Right for You?
Don’t worry! If you don’t know which process is best suited for your project, we can help. Our highly skilled staff can advise you on the right printing method and execute it to perfection as well, so don’t hesitate to talk to us today.
As label manufacturers, we know a thing or two about printing, so our processes are all of the highest quality and ensure you always get the product you’re looking for.