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Basic Flash Troubleshooting - Part 2: Identifying an Imprint Issue

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

Trodat flash stamps are known for their ability to deliver thousands of high-quality impressions, their ease of production and their durability. But as reliable as they are, even they can experience the occasional issue.

While Trodat flash production problems are rare, they do happen. An easy way to spot trouble is if you end up with a poor imprint. Poor imprints can come in the form of excessive feathering, edge printing, light printing or background printing, and being able to identify which imprint issue you’re having will help us help you resolve it that much quicker.

So, what are we looking at?

Excessive Feathering is when the impression appears “blurry”, rather than sharp and crisp. This appearance is caused by the ink bleeding out into the surface being stamped on, and is usually a result of too much pressure being applied when stamping or using a media that is excessively porous, and not so much an issue with the stamp itself.

If you’re using paper that is extremely porous, like tissue paper, or the stamp is being held down for too long, you can cause excessive feathering/bleeding. The quick and easy way to resolve this is to either try a less porous type of paper, or to use less pressure when stamping. If you still experience bleeding, try our Premium ink which uses a thicker formula that helps minimize feathering.

Edge Printing is identified by seeing edges and corners of the flash foam imprinting on the surface when they shouldn’t be. This can result from overpressure when flashing, causing the foam to crease which allows ink to seep out to the edges. To alleviate this, make sure you are using the correct pressing plate during production.

Another cause of edge printing is over-inking, especially on the E & S-Style die plates. The excessive ink will overwhelm the cartridge material and leak out, so it is vital that you are filling the die plate to the proper level.

Light Printing is exactly what it sounds like… your impression appears light and faded instead of solid and vibrant. This is caused by over-flashing, which is when too much energy reaches the flash foam and begins sealing the image area, which in turn prevents the ink from passing through freely, resulting in a light impression.

To prevent over-flashing, make sure you are using the correct vellum, transparency, and flash machine power setting. Using OEM toner cartridges to produce bold artwork is also vital, as weak or pixelated artwork will cause over-flashing.

Background Printing is the opposite of light printing. This is when not enough energy is released during the flashing process, or not enough pressure is applied by the pressing plate, which results in the flash foam not sealing completely. Improperly sealed foam cannot stop ink from passing through and imprinting on the paper. To alleviate background printing, make sure you are using the proper power setting, pressing plate, vellum and transparency.

While rare, flash stamp imprint issues can happen and can be frustrating when they do. Being able to identify and describe them accurately to a trained Trodat technician will make diagnosing and resolving the issue much easier, which means you can get your production back up and running that much faster.


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