Date: 6/3/2013 8:11 AM PDT
As always, CFgear is on the cutting edge relative to
innovative and emerging technologies in the bulk flash drives and custom flash drives marketplace. Whether developing
new custom thumb drive styles, or enhancing printing capabilities, CFgear puts
months and months of effort in our internal R+D processes before ever allowing
a process to reach our customers as an option.
One such option that seems to be gaining steam in the
custom flash drives industry is fast turnaround options on flash drives
utilizing a full color printing process.
Although this technology has been around for more than a year, CFgear
maintains this option as truly a last resort for our customers and here's why.
1. Full color
process printing technology that exists today uses a massive amount of ink to
print a logo on a flash drive. Because
of this massive amount of ink, the logo itself is "raised" off the
surface of the flash drive about 2 millimeters, exposing the raised logo to wear. This may not seem like much, but to a device like
a custom flash drive, which has a very smooth surface and gets plenty of wear,
this process will not pass even our first round of scratch resistance testing,
meaning your logo will soon degrade to the point of visibility concerns after
just a few uses. More on this later.
2. Because the
printing process is strictly mechanical, it is faster and allows for rapid
turnaround. Simplified, think of the
process as similar to printing a sheet of paper full of colors on your home
printer. There are two challenges we've
discovered with this process. The first
issue is drying time. With massive
amounts of ink being sprayed onto the plastic or metal surface of a flash
drive, 24 hours is not near enough time to correctly dry the device and
"cure" the printed logo. this
will lead to smudging or, as previously mentioned, a logo that will crack and
peel almost instantly with any use. The
second issue is if I want to choose a Pantone color for my logo (and every
marketing expert knows their brand image must match their identity) does my
home printer do that. It does not, and
so the ability to hit an exact Pantone color for the printed image is next to
impossible. Human intervention is the
only method to ensure a perfect match.
More on this later as well.
3. Centering and
bordering is a major problem with 24 hour full color flash drives as well. Since the drive needs to be precisely placed
inside the printer, the ability for the print head to deliver an exact hit
border to border is nearly impossible, leaving a noticeable gap on either side,
top or bottom relative to the printing surface precision. In order to minimize this, the logo is also
shrunk to try to fit within an outlined space the printer can handle.
To illustrate these issues, we've pictured three flash
drives. The top and bottom flash drive
were printed using a 24 hour full color process printing method. The middle drive using our standard silk screening process. The top drive looks
fine from a distance but note the Pantone Green is far different than what was
requested and is printed on the middle drive.
Also note the cracking and peeling where the black ink in applied fairly
thick. Finally note the bottom drive
AFTER our first scratch test on the printing process. Flaking and peeling from the basic test to
the point the words are not recognizable.
the ink is simply applied by the printer too thick which raises the logo
too far from the surface of the custom flash drive and exposes it to wear and
breakdown easily. Note also the smaller
logo on the top and bottom drives versus the middle drive as the printer tried
to eliminate a centering problem by shrinking the size of the logo, which
devalues your efforts to promote your brand and image.
In the end we believe the excitement over 24 rush service
for full color process flash drives is hype only and not justified by the
quality and lasting ability of the product.
If you want to discuss more about this process or any other process for
rush flash drives, call us at CFgear, like the experts do. As a true USA manufacturer of flash drives,
we know flash drives, we know the printing techniques and we know our customers
needs today and tomorrow. We don't want
your hard earned budget wasted on a product that will degrade so quickly after
minimal use, and yet we offer many solutions to get your drives to you in 24
hours if desired!
CFgear, where we are YOUR FRIEND IN THE BUSINESS! We will strive to keep you informed and
educated on everything related to our business of custom flash drives!