The differences Between Litho and Flexo Box Printing 

With more and more changes being made in the realm of commercial printing that’s there, there are new types of printing that happen, and they are litho and flexo printing. What’s better for your boxes? The answers do depend, so don’t think that you’re right or wrong for using one or the other. 

Flexo printing 

Flexo, or flexographic printing is considered also surface printing which uses relief plates that are flexible. These are made in bulk and are made from a polymer or a rubber and also utilizes an ink that’s quick-drying so you don’t have to wait. 

The ink is then applied to anilox rolls, which are cylinders made from steel or aluminum with an outer layer that’s ceramic and comes with dimples to create inform distribution of the ink onto these surfaces. This of course transfers directly onto the boards that are corrugated, and then, the boards go into a dryer so that they don’t smudge. This has a lot of benefits including: 

  • It’s very economical and it offers you a chance to print everything at once 
  • Lets you print in bulk 
  • Works on a variety of substrates and surfaces 
  • Is compatible with different inks 

The disadvantages usually include: 

  • They’re not made for hard or complex artwork 
  • You do need to do more printing stages if you decide to use more colors, so it can get pretty expensive 

Litho printing 

Litho printing, or lithographic printing is another type of printing that uses different steps, and in this, a printing plate has ink applied to this, and then, it’s applied onto a blanket made of rubber through different rolls of the ink, and then is put directly onto the item you’re printing on through the use of the blanket. It’s indirect, but the image doesn’t get put directly onto there, and it’s also similar to lithographic lamination, where you print onto the paper surface and then, a laminated surface is put on top to make it more premium and glossy. 

The benefits of litho printing include the following: 

  • Good for large quantities or very vibrant and distinct colors 
  • Offers really good image quality 
  • Is really popular 

It does have some disadvantages though, which include the following: 

  • Is only used on materials that are flat 
  • Does get cracked and scratched 
  • Is pretty expensive. 

The similarities 

Both litho and flexo printing means are both the type to use plates and are both quite inexpensive when you’re printing basic items. There are some differences though, with litho accommodating a bit more. if you’d like to emboss or foil stamp something, you can do it with litho, but it does cost a bit more. Flexo printing is a little bit more limited, but the cool thing is, you can actually get more images carried from this before you have to replace it. 

Flexo is definitely flexible because it can be used on non-porous and porous areas, so if you’re a business that utilizes other kinds of substrates, this may be better. Litho in contrast does need surfaces that are smooth and flat, since it does need to be put on directly, and both of them do benefit from inks that are oil-based. 

Litho however, offers more colors and details, and it can offer more variety too So what’s best? Well, litho is good for printing in full-color and patterns that are detailed to offer more finishing options. Flexo is more direct and usually is a bit lower in costs but there aren’t many details. 

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