Pad printing is a printing process that can transfer a 2-D image onto a 3-D object. This is accomplished using an indirect offset printing process that involves an image being transferred from the printing plate (cliché) via a silicone pad onto a substrate (surface to be printed). Pad printing is used for printing on otherwise impossible products in many industries including medical, automotive, promotional, apparel, electronics, appliances, sports equipment and toys.
Physical changes within the ink film both on the cliché and on the pad allow it leave the etched image area in favor of adhering to the pad, and to subsequently release from the pad in favor of adhering to the substrate (material being printed).
The unique properties of the silicone pad enable it to pick the image up from a flat plane and transfer it to a variety of surfaces (i.e. flat, cylindrical, spherical, compound angles, textures, concave surfaces, convex surfaces).