What Are Corrugated Printing Plates?

what are corrugated printing plates?

It’s no secret that adding unique images or distinctive lettering to your packaging and corrugated boxes can instantly draw the eye and create a lasting impression. But the process of getting those designs onto your boxes can be a little less clear. Using printing plates is one method for producing high-quality images at a reasonable unit cost. Here are the finer points of how printing plates work and why they might be a good choice for your needs.

How Do Printing Plates Work?

Printmaking has been an art form for centuries. It is suitable for most box types, shapes and dimensions, including die cut cardboard printing. Printing plates for corrugated boxes work in much the same way that a rubber stamp or an engraved wooden block produces images on paper. A corrugated printing plate picks up ink when it makes contact with the substrate. The ink is then transferred onto the new surface and creates a reproduction of the plate’s raised image. This process is called flexographic printing.

Each image that you want to add to your box requires a separate plate, and each color also requires an individual plate. Since creating custom images can be a complex process involving multiple plates, many printing companies will only accept orders for large quantities.

Custom images can play a large part in helping you grow your brand recognition, so the investment is often justified when looking at the ROI. Consistent branding can increase revenue by as much as 23%, and branding images that incorporate color can lead to 80% improved brand recognition.

What Are Printing Plates Made of?

A corrugated printing plate is typically made of rubber or flexible plastic, and its surface contains a raised image that picks up a thin layer of ink. Printing plates can also be made of metal, a more expensive option. Materials used for commercial printing plates may include:

  • Sheets of flexible metals such as aluminum.
  • Silicone.
  • Rubber.
  • Soft plastics.
  • Paper.
  • Fabric.

In addition to the composition of the printing plate, the technology used in the printing process is also important. Some printing plates rely on computer-to-plate (CTP) technology, which can map out a design directly onto the plate with the accuracy of a computer.

What Is a Printing Die?

A printing die is a thin steel-tipped blade that can be used in the printing process to create a pattern. Shapes formed by a printing die can be as simple or complex as needed. They work in a similar way to a cookie-cutter. Die cut printing tools can be used to add details or definition to the products created using printing plates.

Benefits of Using Corrugated Printing Plates vs. Lithographic or Digital Printing

Litho printing process

Along with the printing plate technique, the digital printing and lithographic lamination methods are some other options for adding images or lettering to your corrugated boxes.

Litho printing is typically a four-color process that uses printing plates to transfer a design to a separate sheet, which is then laminated to your box. Instead of rubber or flexible plastic, these printing plates are made of a thin metal or plastic. The result has clear, vivid colors and is either glossy or matte depending on your preference. Digitally printed boxes also have the same clarity and photo-like finish, but instead of plates, the process involves applying ink directly to the substrate one line at a time.

Though both litho printing and digital printing have their merits, using printing plates for corrugated boxes has several distinct advantages:

  • Affordability: While exact costs vary depending on your box’s dimensions and the intricacy of your printing design, printing plates are the most cost-efficient method for producing large quantities with simple images.
  • Speed: Reliability and quick turnaround are essential for business owners. Because of the straightforward process involved with printing plates, the printing company can typically produce the full order quickly once you have finalized the design plates.
  • Versatility: With its flat, non-absorbent surface, cardboard is an ideal substrate for printing plates. You also have the option between oil-based or water-based inks.

Advantages of Trusting Custom Boxes Now for Your Printed Corrugated Boxes

At Custom Boxes Now, we can help you establish your brand by providing custom printed boxes for shipping and packaging. Depending on your specific design and needs, we offer digital printing, litho laminating and flexographic print to plate using corrugated printing plates. When you partner with us, you receive:

  • A fast turnaround: We have an extensive staff of structural design experts standing by to bring your custom box designs to life. For you, this means a quick turnaround, usually within three to five business days after we approve your artwork.
  • Unbeatable service: We understand the important role that high-quality branding plays in your company’s success. That’s why our technicians are masters in their field and prepared to help you make any necessary image adjustments or recommendations to fit our artwork and printing guidelines. We also believe in transparency, so you don’t have to worry about any hidden or unexpected costs. Using our online configuration tool, you can get an estimated price that includes shipping and handling.
  • A simple process: Our process is simple and stress-free, leaving you to handle other areas of your daily operations. All you have to do to begin your order is provide all pertinent information — including the size of your order, the image or design, box dimensions, preexisting specs and more. We will communicate with you regarding your image to make sure it meets guidelines, and then create an estimate for your project. If necessary, we can also send you a structural prototype of your custom box. Once we get your approval, we will quickly schedule and process your order.

Get Custom Printed Corrugated Boxes at Custom Boxes Now

If you’re in the market to get branded boxes for your product or shipping, corrugated printing plates can be just the solution you’ve been looking for. If you want to learn more about which printing process is right for your needs, Custom Boxes Now is your one-stop solution for anything box or printing related. Our packaging experts know the business and industry inside and out, and we’re here to help you!

get custom printed corrugated boxes at Custom Boxes Now

Ready to learn more about how printing plates can take your branding to the next level? Reach out to Custom Boxes Now today to learn more about the process and your options to use printing plates to create memorable packaging that sells.

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