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FLEXO Magazine : April 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES TECHNOLOGY DESCRIPTION In the graphic positioning process, a new measuring system is integrated into a specially engineered mounter that enables the topography of the print-ready cylinders to be scanned to an extremely high precision level. Sensors ensure the positioning of the whole package of carbon fi ber cylinder, sleeve, tape and printing plates. An RFID antenna transmits the calculated data to a chip embedded in the sleeve. The complex software includes all relevant parameters—starting from the specifi c properties of each module of the package (adapter, sleeve, adhesive tape etc.) to the material type used in the press—in the automatic calculation of the optimum impression values. This whole process takes only a matter of seconds during the mounting stage. At fi rst glance, one would hardly be able to tell the diff erence between a graphic positioning print deck and a standard one. It is only the RFID antenna and the positioning sensors which identify it as something diff erent. The reading of the data to the machine control system, as well as the forward racking of the print units, is automated and synchronized for all print units involved in the job. COST SAVINGS In a graphic positioning application, when the sleeves are load- ed into the press, with the exact information embedded in the educated sleeves via the RFID chip, they transfer the information to the press. When asked to move to impression, the printer is able to achieve perfect impression and register from the very fi rst repeat on a brand new job. The effi ciency of this process results in a dramatic reduction of waste. Substantial savings result from elimination of: 1. Wasted substrate. 2. Wasted ink. 3. Wasted energy. 4. Wasted hourly press time. 5. Wasted labor. 6. Waste of disposal costs. 7. Waste of machine utilization. Additionally, since graphic positioning system-equipped presses do not require register marks, additional material width is not required and there is no need to rework plates or job layouts, again avoiding costs. The sum of these savings is substantial and only increases when more colors are introduced and shorter- length jobs are run. With a wide range of job structures and continuously increas- ing material costs, this list of savings can be extended with many other examples. For fl exo in general and for individual print shops in particular, this new technology will open new doors. Print jobs, which before had to be refused because they could not be produced effi ciently in fl exo, may now well be of more interest. With this new technology, the production/setup ratio is shifted dramatically in favor of production Advanced print stations are equipped with RFID readers that gather information from a chip implanted in the print cylinder. www. f le xography. org APRIL 2009 FLEXO 21