When looking at adding labels to pens, there is one optimal process: screen printing. While each of them will put the desired label on a pen, each is very situational based on the size and shape of the pen. Screen printing, however, is the most common choice for of labeling pens due to it being able to print on virtually any pen and is the most efficient for printing in large quantities. Other advantages screen printing holds are that if the pen allows, then the whole pen can be printed on. Also, the print can be multi color, has a short dry time, and is durable to last. For more information on printing your pens, please click here.
Unlike some of the other processes, material of the pen is not limited when screen printing. The most common pen materials generally are plastic and metal. Wood pens can also be printed on, but this is not a common material. The ink has no trouble sticking to the different materials and stays attached.
There are generally two kinds of ink used for the screen printers. There is the more efficient UV/LED-dry ink, and the slower air-dry option. The UV/LED option is recommended because the ink dries almost instantly after passing through the UV or LED system. Air-dry requires a couple minutes to fully dry to touch which can greatly slow down production of large quantities.
The UV and LED systems both dry almost instantly, but still have their own differences. The LED overall is the better-quality option due to a variety of reasons. The main advantages are that the LED is more compact and requires less power to run. Also, the maintenance of an LED is minimal because the lifetime of an LED is more than 20,000 hours, while the UV is 500 to 2,000 hours before the bulb needs to be changed. When talking about efficiency, the LED does have a slight advantage too because to turn it on and off is instant, and the UV system requires a couple of minutes to heat up and cool down.
As stated above, screen printers can print on virtually any pen shape/size. If a pen has a cap, a clip, or is completely cylindrical, slight adjustments can be made so printing can be done. The different adjustments for the different shapes are so that the machine can print multiple colors correctly. The pens will either use an optical sensor or use a mechanical part. If printing on a pen with a clip or cap, a mechanical part is used to rotate the pen, so all the extruded parts of the pen (clip or cap) are facing the same direction when being printed. A completely cylindrical pen does not need either, unless multiple colors are desired on the pen. A cylindrical pen does not have any extrusions for parts to grab onto, so an optical sensor is required. An optical sensor will be able to scan the pen for where prints already are and rotate to the desired position for the following colors.
Overall, screen printing is the ideal process for adding a labels onto pens. Screen printing still holds the advantage over the others due to the efficiency and variability it holds. None of the other options can label pens at the rate screen printing can with the quality it provides.