It depends on what you want to call a printing technology. The Strataprinter prints in the traditional sense: it transfers wet ink, as an image on a printing plate, to a substrate material. Traditional printing technologies are Lithography, Graveur, Seragraphy, Letterpress and off-shoots of these such as Offset Lithography, Pad Transfer, Flexography and Hot Stamp. Applications that have been called "printing" in recent years, notably laser, inkjet and thermal wax printers and their heat transfer off-shoot are computer outputting technologies, not printing technologies.
However, compared to any of these printing or outputting technologies, the Strataprinter is unique. All of the traditional printing technologies depend on the concept of the "press" to print. The Strataprinter has eliminated the "press' and the bulk, complexity and expense of the machinery it requires. And the Strataprinter prints permanent inks, such as epoxies and thermosetting polymers, making its "prints" far more durable than direct "prints" or transfer "prints" from computer outputting devices.
But more specifically, the Strataprinter is designed to match the output quality and through-put of any silkscreen printing, pad transfer printing, offset flexographic printing, or foil stamping device of its scale. In addition, because it is a full turnkey system containing all the pre-press and printing devices in the same purchase, the Strataprinter is designed to be less expensive initially and more cost effective in operation than any competitive technology, traditional or "electronic".
There are only a few instances where the "press" of the traditional processes or the "output"-related capabilities of the electronic processes do things that the Strataprinter cannot. The pressure exerted by the pad printer is capable of transferring an image into the dimples of a golf ball. The Strataprinter can't do this. The squeegeeing of the ink in the traditional silkscreen printing process produces bold deposits of ink over large open areas. The Strataprinter can't do this either. And, of course, the Strataprinter cannot do sequential numbering or one-off name imprinting like the electronic printers do so well.
The Strataprinter is a miniature image printer so there is a size limitation to the image it can print. The maximum size is about that of an ordinary business card, 1.8 x 2.8 inches to be exact. The Strataprinter can print this size image on any size product provided the surface is flat and larger than the seal of the Strataprinter printhead. For instance, the printhead seals on a 4¼" square ceramic tile so a 1¾" x 2¾" image can be printed on a 4¼" x 4¼" tile.
Larger images have been printed. However, the Strataprinter printhead and screen cartridge must be made larger to accomodate a larger image and this is an expensive proposition. The Strataprinter exposure unit is made to fit a 5" x 8" printhead and the Master Control Module is designed to handle the volumes should such a size be made available. For now, enough products exist in the present size to keep a Strataprinter profitably employed.
Small products are placed in a chambers that the Strataprinter printhead seals against. Any object smaller than the 2½" x 3½" inner dimension of the printhead seal must have a seal jig made for printing. Any dimension product can be placed within this seal area. The Strataprinter has printed on products as small as computer chip packages. The dog tags, mosiac tiles and credit card size nameplates that make up the majority of Strataprinter products are all smaller than the printhead.
The Strataprinter must create a vacuum seal in order to print. This means that the material it is printing on must be non-porous. It can print on relatively porous materials if they are nested within a sealed fixture. Satins and bookbinding cloth as well as spun plastics have been printed with the Strataprinter. But, no... The Strataprinter cannot print T-shirts!
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