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FLEXO Magazine : November 2008
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES MOUNTING, DE-MOUNTING AND MAINTENANCE OF FLEXIBLE DIES The performance and lifespan of your flexible die is partially dependent on the care and maintenance. Here are nine basic steps that will enhance the performance of the tool and give you longevity: 1. Always be sure to work in a clutter free and clean area. This is both a safety issue and a die life issue as a cluttered work area is sure to damage the cutting blade at some point. 2. Clean the magnetic cylinder using denatured alcohol or 2. ethyl acetate using a lint-free rag. Spray both the rag and mag- netic cylinder. Rotate the magnetic cylinder and wipe as you are rotating the cylinder. (Going back and forth across the cylinder will only redistribute the metal partials and dust.) 3. Remove any rings, watches or bracelets when working with the die. This is not just a safety precaution while working with equipment with moving parts, but will also prevent any blade damage on the die. 4. Remove the flexible die from the shipping container sup- plied by your tooling provider and clean the back of the flexible die with denatured alcohol or ethyl acetate using a lint-free rag. 5. Once the die and the magnetic cylinder have been cleaned, line the registration marks with the scribe line on the magnetic cylinder the same way you would mount one of your photopoly- mer plates on a print cylinder. 6. Once the run is complete, remove the flexible die using a die 3. lifter supplied by your tool and die provider. Use the die lifter to raise one corner of the plate, then pull off. This will prevent the die from tearing over time. DO NOT use a razor blade or screw driver, as this will surely damage your die plate. For safety pur- poses, NEVER use your fingernail to demount the die. 7. Clean both the back and front of the die using denatured alcohol or ethyl acetate and a lint-free rag. Use a pencil or tongue depressor with sharp corners to remove any remaining adhesive, ink or substrate from the die. This is much easier to do once it comes out of the press. Do not use the die lifter, screw driver, razor blade or any other metal instrument as this will damage the cutting blade. 8. Once clean, spray a coating of silicone over the entire die and place back into the container or storage envelope. The na- ture of some facilities prevents the coating of silicone to be used as the convert food grade or pharmaceutical labels. In this case, make sure that the VCI rust preventive paper is included in the container or envelope. 4. 38 F LEXO 9. If you store your magnetic cylinders on a rack or a-frame make sure to cover the cylinders. This will prevent dust and metal debris from settling on the magnetic cylinder and make it easier to clean for future use. NOVEMB E R 20 0 8 www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g