Although all plates have the same function, to pick up and transfer your
ink or coating to your substrate, you
must choose carefully to ensure you achieve a consistent ink or coating
transfer for at least the length of your print run. Some fundamental decisions are easy such as
selecting a plate that will suit your ink or coating chemistry i.e. water, UV
Next you need to determine what thickness you need based on the
undercut of your print cylinder and thickness of mounting tape you intend to
Determining what durometer you need is a little more subjective, but a
general rule of thumb is the smoother your substrate the harder the plate. But
this is also affected by the hardness of your mounting tape, as well.
major factor is whether you are still using film to expose the image to the
plate or using more modern direct laser imaging. If you are purchasing your
plates this is not really a factor, but whether you purchase or make your own,
choosing a plate that is water, solvent or thermal development clearly has a
potential environmental impact and should be considered carefully.
of a consideration today the plate material can also be molded rubber, although
the majority of choices are varieties of photopolymer materials. So what works
best for you? The decision is obviously helped by consulting with a variety of
suppliers but is only really determined from experimentation by yourself with
various plates on various substrates under a variety of conditions. A final
choice comes from how sophisticated your graphics are, which again your plate
material or imaged plate supplier can help you with.