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FLEXO Magazine : January 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES All art courtesy Fischer & Krecke/Bobst Group. Preventative Maintenance for the Modern Flexo Press By Massimo Ardito and Michael Burdy T he goal of a properly executed maintenance program is to achieve optimized equipment utilization, maximizing throughput, minimizing waste and increasing the profit- ability of your assets. In today’s competitive market, a quality flexo press can be a $2 million to $10 million investment. To ensure or exceed the desired return on that investment, a printer needs to keep the press operating at the highest possible level of productivity and avoid costly, unscheduled downtime. Today’s presses are extraordinary machines, significantly dif- ferent than presses of one decade ago. They are more automated, more efficient, faster, and in many ways require less hands-on maintenance than those of the past. However, with advanced electronics and high levels of customization, the modern press is so complex it almost demands maintenance coordination be- tween the printer and the press builder. However, here are some basic, simple but too often neglected preventive maintenance actions that can be performed in the printer’s facility, by OEM trained in-house personnel. Diligence in these fundamental services will help avoid unscheduled shutdowns and significantly ensure long term returns on investment. MAINTENANCE FUNDAMENTALS 1. Develop a maintenance program that is a balance of pre- ventive and predictive maintenance with the support of the machine manufacturer and all sub suppliers. 2. Remember your maintenance program is a growing and changing document; it is not carved in stone or just a list of tasks. 32 FLEXO JANUARY 2009 3. Use all of the tools in your toolbox; use technologies that produce results. Remember that, in some cases, a visual inspection with a trained eye is the best technology. 4. The first fundamental of any program is to keep the press and the area around it clean. Your press is a substantial in- vestment. A clean press is easy to inspect, reveals evidence of problems such as fluid leaks and metal shavings. The atten- tion required for cleaning encourages frequent inspections. 5. Precisely lubricate the press on prescribed intervals; use the specified lubricant and volume. We are all aware that inade- quate lubrication results in premature wear and component failure. But over-lubrication can also be detrimental to the equipment. Be precise—excess lubrication is a magnet for dirt, debris and ink. 6. Keep electronics cool, clean and dry. Take time to inspect air intakes, cooling fans and purge filters. 7. Regularly change all batteries. A multi-million dollar ma- chine can experience an unscheduled shutdown because of failure of a small, inexpensive battery. 8. Keep in mind “Band -Aids” are only a temporary fix and not a long-term solution. If a situation hampers safety, perfor- mance, productivity, quality or operator convenience it should be swiftly addressed because it is affecting your bottom line. 9. Take full advantage of regularly scheduled visits from OEM technicians to train and share thoughts with preventive maintenance personnel. Often at new equipment installa- tion the concern is to train operators while the technicians, a key component of the printing operation, are neglected. www. f le xography. org BEGINNER FLEXOGRAPHER
End of Year 2008