Fixtures play in important role in maintaining consistent and quality results given the dynamic interaction between the silicone pad and the product during ink transfer. At its core, good pad print fixture design is all about providing proper support to the printed areas of the part while allowing for repeatable registration and accounting for loading, unloading, and other processes taking place during the print cycle such as shuttle movement, pretreatment, and vision system verification.
Intricate parts with tighter tolerances will naturally require more highly engineered solutions, but the most complex fixture isn’t always the best fixture. Designers must also take in to account the usability of the tool in the production environment.
The complexity of the fixturing necessary for any given project will be driven by the following factors:
- Part size and geometry
- Number of colors or images being printed
- Number of print locations
- Print tolerance
- Part variants (graphic variants vs physical variants)
- Pre/Post treatment requirements
- Load/Unload methods