Main Article Content
Pad printing is an indirect gravure printing for printing on objects with complicated geometries or rough surfaces. Although pad printing is a proven and widely used printing process, there are few scientific studies on the shape and hardness of printing pads and their influence on printing quality. The shape and hardness of printing pads are therefore still determined today by experience. Even in the age of digitalization, the manufacturing of printing pads is still a manual process. So far, no modern tools are known to support this manufacturing process. In this paper, using simulations with commercially available finite element method (FEM) software (Abaqus) or open source software (Salome-Meca) as possible development tools for silicone rubber printing pads is investigated. The FEM simulation of this hyperelastic material requires various input parameters such as material model, special material parameters as well as mesh types and sizes. This paper shows how these parameters are determined, which material tests are necessary and how sensitive the simulation result is to these input parameters. Based on the comparison with experimental data, the results show that silicone rubber printing pads with small deformations can be simulated very well with both the commercial FEM software Abaqus and the free open source FEM software Salome-Meca. Mooney–Rivlin or the polynomial material equations are used. Finally, a workflow is shown with which the geometry of a printing pad can be evaluated and optimized.