Letterpress Printing Plates
Centurion Graphics supply and manufacture photopolymer and magnesium letterpress printing plates in various thicknesses.
ALL of our letterpress printing plates are capable of holding very fine detail required for high-quality printing with solvent or oil-based inks.
These are compatible with almost any letterpress machine
Heidelberg, Adana, Craft Dragon & Quickutz are definitely some our most popular ones.
We can also supply all our letterpress products with or without double-sided tape attached.
They are all hard enough to leave a tactile or embossed / debossed finish, which is very much in fashion at the moment.
You can find out how to order them here.
1.75mm Foil Backed Letterpress Polymer
- This is our most popular letterpress printing plate.
It is the UK equivalent of Toyobo KF 152 and is sometimes referred to as "deep relief" if using a Boxcar base.
- Our customers' feedback from those who have used both products report that they prefer our 1.75mm because they like the extra relief depth this offers. You can achieve a deeper emboss or de-boss in the substrate with this extra relief.
- But don't just take their word, why not try it yourself? We know you will be impressed with the results.
- Also, the plate has a wide latitude that allows for fine reversals and small type elements all on the same plate. It is highly durable and is able to hold very fine detail and screen frequencies.
- Furthurmore, 1.75mm plates can be wood mounted to type high (23.32mm).
0.95mm Foil Backed Letterpress Polymer
- This is sometimes referred to as "standard relief" if using a Boxcar base.
This is the UK equivalent to Toyobo KF95.
- Also, the plate has a wide latitude that allows for fine reversals and small type elements all on the same plate. Additionally, It is highly durable and is able to hold very fine detail and screen frequencies.
Foil-backed or steel-backed?
Photopolymer letterpress plates are described as either "Foil" or "Steel Backed". We use the the expression "foil" because it refers to a very thin plastic that is bonded to the photosensitive polymer. Once the plate has been washed out, only the required print elements are left in place and the "foil" backing holds them in situ.
Foil backed plates are transparent which obviously makes it easier to register on the base as you can see through them. Also, scissors can easily cut the backing.
We can also supply the following thicknesses of foil-backed polymer letterpress plates upon request:
0.43mm – 0.80mm – 1.14mm
0.95mm Steel Backed Letterpress Polymer
- As this is a very thin letterpress plate, it can also be used for rotary letterpress applications because it is flexible enough to wrap around magnetic cylinders.
- Thin plates always wash out very well and remain flat because there isn't as much photopolymer product to react with the air when stored.
1.45mm Steel Backed Letterpress Polymer
- 1.45mm plates can also be used for Bakelite mouldings.
- Additionally, it is incredibly hard at 90-degree shore.
- They can also withstand very high temperatures required for the moulding process.
- They are more advantageous if printing or embossing onto soft substrates than the 0.95mm because they offer more relief
1.75mm Steel Backed Letterpress Polymer
- It is a super hard polymer product that is 90 degree shore.
- This is not recommended for large areas of reversal or solid because it tends to curl.
- However, it is the hardest polymer product available and is well suited for Bakelite mouldings.
- It also offers the most relief when printing or embossing onto soft substrates.
- 1.75mm plates can be wood mounted to type high (23.32mm).
Steel backed letterpress plates are ideal if you are using a magnetic base as you won't require glue or double-sided tape to fix in place.
We can also supply the following thicknesses of steel backed polymer letterpress plates upon request: 0.73mm – 0.83mm – 0.17mm – 1.9mm
Magnesium Letterpress Plates
16 Gauge (1.63mm) Magnesium Letterpress
- 16 Gauge magnesium letterpress plates are the most cost effective metal option.
- We usually etch 1mm, leaving a backing of 0.63mm.
- Care needs to be taken when removing as they can easily bend because of this thin backing.
- They offer a beautifully crisp print for the customer who appreciates more traditional methods.
- 16 gauge plates can be wood mounted to type high (23.32mm).
8 Gauge (4mm) Magnesium Letterpress
- 8 Gauge magnesium letterpress plates are a perfect choice for newcomers to the trade.
- Because they are 4mm thick to begin with, they allow for a deep etch of around 2-3mm.
- This means there is still a sturdy backing left that will stand up to repeated removals from the press without bending.
- 8 gauge plates can be wood mounted to type high (23.32mm).
Traditional Letterpress Printing Plates
Magnesium plates are the most traditional letterpress printing plates and have been used for decades. They are sometimes referred to as "zincos" because they used to be made of zinc. Different thicknesses or "gauges" are available.
How are they made?
It requires a great deal of skill and experience to complete the process of etching magnesium letterpress plates. This is because the chemistry that makes up the etching "bath" has a lifespan. Therefore the operator has to understand the characteristics of the bath at different stages to ensure a clean etch.
At Centurion Graphics, our team has been etching magnesium plates since 1981, some 38 years! Hence, we are well equipped to meet this challenge.
Photopolymer letterpress plates are able to hold finer screen frequencies, but some customers prefer traditional magnesium plates because they produce a crisper "shoulder", in their opinion. As a result, the emboss or de-boss in the substrate is sharper.