In-Line Cold Foil Printing vs. Hot Stamping & Metallic Boards

May 15, 2019

Last year, Nosco announced the addition of its in-line cold foil printing capabilities on its folding carton line in Bridgeview, Illinois. Today, this capability not only offers significant value and speed  compared  to other manufacturing processes, but it also supports the goals of our growing customer base by heightening consumer perception and helping to increase sales.



While the brilliance of hot foils is unsurpassed on folding cartons, significant strides have been made with respect to the reflectivity of cold foil. Today, it takes a discerning eye to notice the true visual differences between cold foil and hot stamping. While hot foil stamping is still a better fit for intricately-raised foil embossing effects, cold foil has come a long way in quality and feasibility. Moreover, cold foil opens up many more creative options when art and graphics can be registered to the cold foil, or the foil can be overprinted for metallic color effects.

Hot foils can be applied in numerous brilliant shades, with some having the ability to be overprinted as well. However, this cannot be done as quickly and as efficiently as cold foil can. This is because cold foil is applied on an 8-color printing press using the first 2 print stations (leaving the remaining 6 stations for additional print options like 4-color process and 2-spot colors). This set up allows for the broadest range of metallic color in one application, and an infinite spectrum of possibilities!

Cold foil does not require special UV  inks  and dryers that can add cost to the printing process. Areas of a design that do not include a metallic finish  can  be  reversed  out  on  the sheet because of this. When compared  to costly metallic laminated boards, white opaque ink is often used to cover non-metallic areas, which adds cost and generally requires multiple print passes.

Cold foil is applied on press at production speeds, and  can  be  applied  prior,  during  or after printing for shiny metallic embellishments. The flexibility offered with cold foil is a benefit over hot foil stamping since it is typically done on top of printing – producing solid opaque metallic or pigmented color. This drives up cost and lengthens lead times, as the hot stamping is done offline and off site. Furthermore, cold foil eliminates the high cost and lead times of the traditional brass stamping dies needed for the hot stamping foil process. 

Unlike printing on metalized film-laminated paper boards, the cold foil process leaves the smallest possible environmental footprint. Lithographic cold foil is pulpable and 100% recyclable.

Please contact your Packaging Advisor to further discuss the benefits of cold foil and cast / cure films to add motion to your next folding carton project