Back in 1994 Shepherd received an award for Pre-Print from the Vinyl Institute for a kids travel package. Essentially what we achieved was a method to print directly to the plastic that we could form into a package with graphics already printed. By doing this it would eliminate the need for a printed insert. The struggles in 1994 resulted in the ability to create an un-distorted print (as we form the material over a mould it distorts the print). Getting the correct distortion into the print was a great deal of back and forth, trial and error with the printer.
Printing directly to plastic is nothing new. You often see this used for promotional tent cards at your local bar or when your in the doctors office you’ll see a poster with print over some defined contoured feature of a diagram. What’s notable, is that these are not mass produced in any large volume due to the manual forming techniques typically used by lower volume forming machines. We were able to create a method of Pre-print for mass production, however 1994 it failed due to the cost associated with the distortion start-up noted above.
Seventeen years later, many of the supply-side contacts we established in the early 90’s have been hard at it and recall our early achievements. Distortion graphics capabilities have come a long way and we’re happy to announce we’re making a substantial R&D investment into what we now call “Contour Printing”. Look for more information to follow on this Blog or if you want to find out more, contact a sales representative at Shepherd Thermoforming and Packaging Inc.