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Pad Printing




Pad printing is the imaging method of choice when it comes to marking products that are designed with irregular or highly contoured surfaces. A pad-printing machine can expose a graphics shop to seemingly endless opportunities–from ad-specialty work to industrial applications–and handle many of these products with ease. But when it comes to either large-format parts or materials with huge surfaces, the machine operator is typically forced to handle the substrate numerous times, and possibly change tooling, in order to complete the print. This workflow can interfere with print-to-print consistency, make registration in a process-color job a nightmare, and use up valuable machine time.

Pad Print Machinery of Vermont (PPMOV) developed its XE Series pad-printing machines to tackle the challenges of large-format pad printing and specialty applications. XE Series machines have been used to print onto propane tanks, basketballs and footballs, asymmetrical bottles, hard hats, appliance panels, and more.

There are three models in the series: XE 13, XE 16, and XE 30. The XE 13 supports four or five colors, a maximum print area of 4.7 in. (120 mm) in diameter, and a 6 x 12-in. (150 x 300-mm) cliche. The XE 16 supports four or five colors, a maximum print area of 5.9 in. (150 mm) in diameter, and a 7 x 14-in. (180 x 360-mm) cliche. The XE 30 is available in four, five, six, or eight colors. Four- and five-color units support a maximum print area of 9.5 in. (240 mm) in diameter and an 11 x 23-in. (275 x 580-mm) cliche. The six-color model supports a maximum print area of 7.5 in. (190 mm) in diameter and a 9 x 10-in. (220 x 250-mm) cliche. The eight-color machine supports a maximum print area of 4.7 in. (120 mm) in diameter and a 6 x 12-in. cliche. Custom machines are available, and PPMOV recently built a six-color unit that supports a maximum print area of 9.5 in. in diameter for a custom application.

XE Series machines are engineered to deliver several tons of compression, which allows for the use of a wide range of pad configurations, formats, and durometers. Each comes standard with a touchscreen interface and Windows-based operating system (LAN or Internet connectivity makes remote monitoring and updating possible) that drives a completely servo-controlled conveyor and printhead. The servo-driven conveyor facilitates instant changes of registration on the Y axis, and the servo-driven printhead allows for the same on the X axis. A 20-GB hard drive allows users to store and recall jobs and operating parameters, such as head speed, number of colors, print and cliche pauses, down strokes, inclusion and/or frequency of pad cleaning, and actuation of optional ancillary devices, such as flame-treating units.

PPMOV recently released Combi Program, which is new software for the XE Series that enables the machines to combine from two to ten individual jobs, each with unique operating parameters, into a single job. A cliche can be etched with more than one image, and Combi Program will direct the servo-controlled printhead to a different image on the cliche for pickup and printing to a different area of the substrate each time. PPMOV says Combi Program delivers efficient, extremely accurate operation and fast changeover in applications that involve multiple print requirements on a single object, including those in which large print areas can be broken into smaller print zones.

Each machine is available with independent pads, a feature that facilitates the printing of multicolor and four-color-process graphics and enables the machines to execute multiple hits for selected colors when required. Independent pads also are designed to ease the decoration of large parts. Options for part transportation and handling include rotary turntables, linear shuttles, and elliptical, linear, and shuttle conveyors, and options for pre- and post-treatment include conveyorized and standalone flame treaters and an infrared drying oven.

For more information, contact Pad Print Machinery of Vermont, 201 Tennis Way, PO Box 720, East Dorset, VT 05253, 802-362-0844, 800-272-7764, fax: 802-362-0858, e-mail:, Web:


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