Letterpress Printing


1. What is it?

  • The oldest method of printing
  • Uses rotary relief type printing plates. The printed image is achieved by means of semi rigid plate which contains the graphics and text to be printed as a raised image, much like a rubber stamp.
  • One of the key label printing technologies
  • High quality and efficient in-line process capability
  • UV cured ink

2. How is the ink applied?

  • Each colour of UV ink to be applied must have its own plate and ink unit
  • The thick paste-like ink is passed from the tray to a 'fountain' cylinder, which then passes the ink to a 'transfer' cylinder, from which it then passes to a series of metering rollers. These thin the ink to an even layer just before transferring it on to the plate cylinder and finally the substrate.
  • Levels of ink are controlled by the operator via a set of keys, enabling a varied ink flow across the label depending on the requirements of the design

3. Which kinds of labels are best suited to this method?

  • Short to medium run length work
  • Highly suitable for printing very good quality Process Illustration work and very clean text

4. What are the advantages & disadvantages?


  • Recommended for process illustration and clean text
  • Robust technology
  • Fast solvent-free plate-making process


  • Slow set-up
  • Expensive on the small runs
  • Old technology not being invested in development