Flexography printing process and basic characteristics

If you work in the printing sector, you’ve likely heard the word “flexography”. So, what is “flexography printing process” used for?

Flexography is a modern high-speed printing process suitable for most packaging and label applications. It allows for fast, cost-efficient, high-quality label printing for a variety of mass-produced goods. This blog post, we will support to you know more about the flexography printing process.

How does Flexography work?

flexography printing process

(Source: internet)

In flexography printing, the starting material comes in the form of a roll, which passes through a series of rotary flexible relief plates. A specialized roller feeds each flexible plate with ink, with a single flexible plate required for each individual printed color. The relief plates work in tandem to provide all colors for the final print product.

In cases where additional processes are required – such as laminating, embossing or die-cutting, the can be integrated along with printing in a single pass, greatly increasing production speed and capabilities over more traditional printing methods.

Flexography printing also allows for printing on various substrates, including: paper, plastic film, metallic surfaces, multilayered film composites, …

This material flexibility has led to increased use of it for a broad range of products: self-adhesive labels, cut & stack labels, food packaging, plastic bags, …

To that regard, purpose-built flexography label printing machines have been developed, offering efficiency and speed advantages over many other label printing methods. Flexography label presses can print labels rolls of various materials quickly without sacrificing quality, making it the ideal printing method for food, beverage, and consumer products.

Flexography vs. Offset printing

flexography printing process

(Source: internet)

Even though flexography and offset printing methods widely overlap in terms of meeting printing needs, there are some key differences that set them apart:

  • Flexography uses rotary flexible plates to directly print on the substrate, rather than printing indirectly through a series of offset plates, as is the case in offset printing.
  • As opposed to the secondary die-cutting, folding, or laminating processes used by offset printing, flexographic printing integrates these processes into a single pass operation.
  • While offset printing only works with flat and smooth surfaces, flexo works with most materials because it is flexible;

The technological advancements in modern flexography have made it the method of choice for many applications, due to the advantages it offers for both clients and manufacturers alike, such as:

  • Flexography offers extremely high color accuracy;
  • The ability to combine printing with almost any additional process into a single pass operation allows flexography to provide significant economies of scale.
  • Offers fast printing speeds, operating at up to 750m/2,000 ft. per minute;
  • A variety of inks can be used in flexography printing, such as solvent-based, water-based, or UV curable inks, adding to the method’s flexibility.
UV Flexography

UV flexography uses inks that are curable with ultraviolet light rather than the standard drying methods used for water or solvent-based inks. UV curable inks can be dried faster than their counterparts, reducing production time.

  • Faster drying;
  • Volatile organic compound (VOC) free;
  • Superior print quality for many applications;
  • Only dry when exposed to UV, so the printer can be left print-ready;
  • Easy to use;
Flexography label printing services

Flexography combines printing and other processes into a single pass, producing vibrantly printed products in a fast and efficient manner. Flexography printing has become the printing method of choice for companies in demanding sectors such as food and beverage, cosmetics, and consumer packaged goods industries.

Hirich Labels specialized in flexography, using modern, state of the art flexographic printers operated by experienced technicians. Contact us to support your label printing needs.


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