Let us start by saying that branding via direct print can be applied NEARLY on any product, any material, any surface.
The shape of the product, determines the printing method we need to choose, in order to successfully achieve clear print results:
Flat surfaces can easily be pad or screen printed.
Slightly curved surfaces are pad printed.
Cylindrical surfaces are rotary screen printed.
SIZE OF PRINT
Images sized up to 85mm diameter, can easily be pad printed.
For many reasons (quality of print as well as production rhythm and product handling), images bigger than 85mm require screen printing.
Flat surfaces can be pad or screen printed.
Rigid or bumpy surfaces are pad printed.
Hard or soft surfaces can be pad or screen printed.
Absorbent & flat surfaces (like un-treated textile) best be screen printed.
In order for permanent branding / printing to be achieved on flexible materials, we usually (not necessarily – decision depends on test results) have to treat them prior or after the printing process. This “treatment” increases the unit price.
If a surface of a product can “take” ink or not, depends a lot on the percentage of oil the material contains and the way it was moulded / manufactured.
Very flexible materials usually contain high amounts of oil and are moulded via processes that do not offer porous surfaces but rather very shiny and “sealed” surfaces.
Hard materials on the other hand, react in a more stable manner, offering porous surfaces, without necessarily appearing less shinny.
Some materials that usually require pre-print or after-print treatment:
Polystyrene (boxes, lighters, keypads, knife Handles)
Acrylic (key chains, some panels)
Aluminium (dog tags)
Chrome (pens, barrels)
Glass (bottles, mirrors, test tubes)
Leather & Leather imitations (balls, bags, folders)
Metal Cast (guard housing)
Painted Metal (tools, saw blades, toys)
Polypropylene (frisbee, bowls, lighters, sports bottles, tape cases, pens)
Some Grades of POM (bottles & containers)
Some Grades of PET (bottles & containers)
Steel, Stainless Steel (knifes)
Some common types of material that usually “welcome” ink are:
POM, Acetate, Brass, Anodized Aluminium, Cellulose Acetate, Ceramic, Copper, Cotton, Crystal Polymer, Crolite, Painted Graphite, K-Resin, Lacquered Surfaces, Melamine, NeoPrene, Nylon Glass Filled, Paper Coated Materials, Partek Resin, PC, PE, PETE Polyester, Phenolic, Rytan, Surlyn, Urea, Urethane, Wood.
The range of products made out of these “ink friendly” materials, represent the majority of products that can be found in the market.
As a final note, please keep in mind that manufacturers know all the above and tend to prefer and use “ink friendly” materials. They are always able to tell you the kind of material they’ve used, producing your product. All the above should work as an indication for you. Print tests on products (at absolutely no cost to you) are performed prior to us finalising any quote and proceeding with production.