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FLEXO Magazine : February 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES Substrate Selection Guide A Glimpse at FIRST 4.0 T he flexographic process is capable of printing on a multitude of substrates. FIRST 4.0 (Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications and Tolerances) divides substrates into two major classes: wood-based and petroleumfmineral- based. Wood products include materials such as paper, carton board, combined corrugated and linerboard, tissue, and news- print. Petroleum or mineral-based products include categories such as: film, foil and laminated structures. Each substrate category can be further divided into numer- ous sub-groups. For example, film includes polyethylene, poly- propylene, polyester, polystyrene, etc. Each of these groups can be further separated into subsets-Le., HDPE, LDPE, LLPE, etc. - are all subsets of polyethylene. The selection of a substrate for a particular job is based primarily on the finished product require- ments, such as strength, flexibility, and protection. However, the many substrate variables will influence print quality and should be considered during the selection process. It is important to note that, according to FIRST 4.0, consistency is a primary characteristic influencing print quality. In other words, the consistency of any given substrate property throughout the production run and from run to run will have a significant impact on a printer's ability to achieve reproducible results. The following information is, for the most part, taken from the pages of FIRST 4.0. Additional details can be found in FIRST 4.o'S Print Section. FEBRUARY 2009 www.flexography.org FLEXO
Sustainable Winter 2009