Pad printing is a repetitive and rigorous process that wears off pad printing supplies such as printing plates, ink cup ceramic rings, and silicone pad printing pads.  While our pad printing machines is built to last a lifetime, it is important to change the printing components. This ensures perfect prints, few imperfections, fewer rejects, and increased productivity. With that in mind, let’s discuss when to change the pad—an important pad printing consumable. Learn how to print on silicone rubber with SE silicone inks.

How long do pad printing pads last?

Generally, pad printing pads have a life span of about 100,000 impressions. However, if you are printing on a hard surface with dimples, such as golf balls, the pad printing would last 50,000–75,000 impressions. Additionally, note that any improper use or careless machine operation of debris would drastically decrease the pad’s life.

How to know when to change the pad printing pad

Pad printing pads last for approximately 50,000 impressions. The pad printing pad picks up the pad printing ink from the plate (cliché) and transfers it to the object (substrate). This cycle repeats over and over for thousands of impressions. This compression and decompression, coupled with an ink, solvent, and pad print hardener mixture, wears down the silicone pad material. Additionally, the pad will lose oil, which will cause the pad to harden. Hard pads cause distorted prints.

While many technicians try to save money by not changing the pads, they end up with bad prints. Additionally, it is time-consuming to try to get good prints from worn-out silicone pad printing pads. The costs and efficiencies lost are worth at least 200%–400% of the cost of a new pad. When a pad is worn out, change it immediately—it is that simple.

And finally, always have spare pads in stock to replace worn out pads.

Learn more about our other pad printing supplies; 150mm printing ink cup ring.