Almost 60% of our customers require some type of graphic on their enclosure ranging from simple labeling to extensive logo graphics. A few years ago Toolless transitioned from using silk-screening to using a digital printer for graphics. Although not used often, we can even print raised letters and graphics with texture. We had such great success with the first, smaller printer, we added an additional printer which can handle larger parts. Printing is much faster than silk-screening and the graphic are much more durable. Acquiring a third printer also helped us though the ramp up transition and volume ordering from our customers.
We can print in any imaginable color, combinations, or pattern. With the right file (more on this later) we can reproduce almost any image. We can even do a color fade. We once did a U.S. flag smaller than a postage stamp and it turned out very defined and easily recognizable. But what our customer likes about this technology is to see their logo standing out of the enclosure. The number of colors don’t matter anymore, the print head mixed the colors to our needs.
Our larger printer also gives us the ability to print on enclosure after they have been assembled, using the 30cm Z-offset. This provides a certain amount of flexibility if a customer decides they want printing and we have already completed assembly – in the past this would not have been possible. It also allows us to print after painting which can be very convenient.
The process for adding printing to your project is relatively straight forward. Once you have approved an enclosure design, we program our CNC machines and use the graphic to make a .dxf file. Hopefully we have gotten a good file from you with your graphics/text. The best files are vector files. We can also use .ai, eps or cdr files and sometimes .png, and jpeg files. The picture files are hit or miss depending on how they were produced or saved, usually it works when the background has been originally deleted. Vector files are always the best. Then the printer operator imports your desired text or graphic onto the part and produces a .pdf for your approval. Make adjustments in size and placement until you have exactly what you want. The parts are then put on the printer, ink is applied to the plastic and immediately cured by a UV light. Once printed you have a durable, clear, clean, and colorful graphic.
Please check our gallery for renderings: https://toolless.com/printing/
Until next time,