Flexographic printing, initially used mainly for packaging, was once known as aniline printing due to the dye used. It is currently also used for more demanding productions, thanks to the improved characteristics of the components used, so much so that it is used, together with other printing techniques, also for newspapers. The matrix is relief, flexible and soft, and is wrapped around a cylinder. The printing is direct: the cliché transfers the ink directly to the support to be printed thanks to a slight pressure exerted by a pressure cylinder
The inking is applied by a steel or ceramic roller (Anilox roller) which is loaded with ink with two different systems: the first, by means of an inkwell full of liquid ink, while a blade (squeegee) removes the excess from the surface of the roller, in a similar way to what happens for rotogravure printing; the second system takes place using a rubber roller which, in addition to drawing the ink from a basin and transferring it, also acts as a squeegee on the anilox roller with which it is in contact, turning at a lower speed.
The anilox roll is engraved with different cells, from 80 to 800 per centimetre. A high number of cells favors the printing of details while a low number favors the printing of solid backgrounds. The material printable with flexography is very varied; supports with a rough and poorly reflecting surface can also be used, such as corrugated cardboard.