Development Trend of Package Printing Technology

I Status

With the development of economy and S& T, technology for planographic printing, relief printing, intaglio printing and special printings will take the momentum of growing. Different printing technologies with varied advantages and applicable scopes would coexist and supplement one another in a long haul, while each occupying an irreplaceable position in the whole industry.

1. Planographic printing still dominates

Easy plate-making, light plate material, fast make-ready, able to produce large-size color printing matters with high quality and accurate overprint, especially being applicable for products rich in both pictures and words. During recent years, the printing technology has been absorbing high-fine-frontline technologies in optics, chemistry and computer etc, which shows the advanced level of technologies of the age.

2. Relief printing technology will break through

Relief printing is a traditional printing technology in China, with the features of: sound technology background, small investment, short process, suitable for small-scale, small size and special types of package printing, no rigid requirements on ink, able to adjust printing pressure and control inking to a large extent, able to achieve a satisfactory quality and is widely applicable.

3. Intaglio printing will keep stable growing

Intaglio printing is featured as high speed, broad format, low consuming and few closing time, which can achieve the best effect in all kinds of printing stock.

4. Screen printing will boom

As a representative of porous printing, screen printing is mainly adopted by workshop production in China, and is deemed to be “cheap”, only being able to yield lines and color block products. But now, modern screen printing devices, materials and technologies have brought new vitality to screen printing.

II Tendency

1. Tendency of planographic printing

The current tech subjects of study globally are: Computer to Plate, Direct Printing, Waterless Lithography and Frequency Screening. Most foreign sheet-fed multi-color offset presses utilize devices for remote-controlling of ink color, automatic make-ready, and automatic register, and realize whole-process of control and fault diagnosis. China starts late; therefore, we shall make more effort on the R&D of new all-in-one multi-color offset presses. Domestic-made printing equipments and materials (paper, ink, sensitive material and blanket) also have to be improved in their quality.

2. Tendency of flexographic technology

Since the Montreal Protocol in 1995, control on CFC is tighter, and some solvents such as trichloroethane and tetrafluoroethylene are limited for use. There are two methods for making the flexographic printing conform to environmental-protection requirement. The first is to develop new environmental-friendly solvent; the second is to develop, produce and utilize water-developable flexographic plates. Meanwhile, plate-thinning is also among the tendency of its development.

3. Tendency of intaglio printing

Intaglio printing devices are expensive, and the plate-making cost is high, which make it only suitable for products in excessive supply. The ink for intaglio printing contains toxic substances, thus its application is restricted. Only by solving these problems, can it be developed further. During recent years, the enhancement of intaglio printing technology has greatly reduced its preparation time, and promoted its competitiveness among medium-and-short-run printing market. It is expected that the development of intaglio printing would focus on: full-automatic gravure cylinder plating, application of filmless electronic engraving technology, photopolymer thin-roll intaglio printing technology and development of ring-type intaglio plate covering the cylinder and digitalized speedy proofing. Intaglio presses would follow the trend of multi-usage, multi-color, high speed, automation, linkage and environmental protection, and are going to achieve water-based gravure printing ink printing and effective control of solvent ink residue.

4. Trend of screen printing

It is fully convinced that the screen printing would be greatly developed if the following conditions are met: able to develop water-based rotary screen press; able to achieve higher efficiency, able to read the pressure, speed and angle parameters of the doctor and able to control them by program; able to produce repeatedly according to program when printing repeatedly; able to correctly use production data from preparation to the whole printing process. The screen printing in China would develop both horizontally and vertically. “Vertically”means growing into higher level. International screen printing circle has widely applied computer design, plate-making, e-carving and other advanced technologies, while China is yet on the research and pilot phase. “Horizontally” means developing new screen printing products, such as out-door large advertisements etc. In conclusion, the package printing of China will have a leap on devices, technology and scale.

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