Metal is a durable material that lasts longer than paper, fabric or any other material. That’s why it is commonly used in making traffic and safety signs. Plus, many products are packaged in metal boxes, owing to their long-lasting properties. As you may have inferred, metal boxes and signs are produced to last for years and years. So, it is obvious the printing on them should last for the product’s entire lifetime and withstand the environment to which it’s subjected.
Take a look at two common printing methods used on metals.
Screen printing is an age-old technique and has been used to print on everything from plastic to metal. In screen printing, a stencil or “screen”, as printers call it, is created first. Using this screen, ink is transferred to the metal. Here, each color is separately coated onto the metal, allowing you to match custom colors easily. The applied ink is also quite thick and generous, which makes the sign pop. Since signs need to be clearly visible and eye-catching, screen printing is an obvious choice.
Advantages of screen printing
- Each color is given its own screen as it is applied one at a time. Hence, colors do not mix.
- Owing to the opacity of the ink, the final output is more apparent.
- The ink used for screen printing is cost-effective. So, it is useful for bulk printing jobs.
In digital printing, the ink is directly transferred onto the metal. Before the ink transfer, the sign is digitally processed on a computer to get an accurate rendering. Unlike screen printing, which uses individual colors, digital printing uses only four colors – cyan, magenta, yellow and black – to create an assortment of colors. The final result is also more detailed and accurate.
Advantages of digital printing
- Digital printing is ideal for making custom signs and prints.
- It is less time-consuming as all colors are applied in a single pass. You do not have to apply each individually.
- The quality of the print is superior as the ink doesn’t bleed or get trapped during the application process.
Screen printing is an apt choice for mass-produced products whereas digital printing can be used for personalized items. However, there is no solid way of determining if either printing method is better than the other. The circumstances in which you use them are different, and therefore, it is best to identify your needs and proceed accordingly.