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FLEXO Magazine : June 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES ABSORBENT PAPER PRODUCTS Still a challenge (to say the least) are the inherent diffi culty of printing on an absorbent paper product with free fl oating fi ber in an environment equal to a dust storm! Substrates continue to advance with technologies such as “through air dried” along with other substrates that have a low modulus and a highly textured surface. This is where the color and plate impact the sheet during the printing process. Substrate issues still complicate matters with printing clean and being in control across the typical web widths that can range from 80in. to 135in, being the expectation and requirement. WHAT’S NEXT? Some technologies that are still evolving in the tissue/towel segment include: Press Speeds of 3,000fpm and beyond. Introduction of six- and eight-color fl exo presses. Servo/gearless technologies. Dual plate cleaning and video defect detection systems (vs. the single units of the past). Improved plate cleaning systems Temperature-controlled central impression cylinders. Auto registration systems like those used on packaging fl exo presses. Auto impression settings like those used on packaging fl exo presses. Color control systems on press for managing/monitoring ink usage and maintaining color tolerances while printing. Improved color gamut technologies tied to the introduction of six-, seven- and eight-color presses. Advanced web dust removal vacuum systems as additional support to the auto plate cleaning systems. Ink technologies—higher strength pigments in CMYK are needed, as well as the ability to match current consumer product end use requirements in terms of bleed, rub etc. Wide web continuous photopolymer—while currently available, there are limitations on web widths matching the standard 80in to 135in. towel/napkin printing segment requirements. CLOSING REMARKS: Incorporating training programs, best practices, SOPs (standard operating procedures), safety awareness—along with challenging the process and fully understanding your limitations—are all Digital Web Viewers Off-Line Proofing c critical for a successful printing operation. Continuous improvement is a reality as long as the local programs/mills are managed with a dedication and focus for maximizing capabilities and a focus on tomorrow. These ingredients and “extending the challenge” have shown the world of printing on paper towels will continue and improve for years to come. ■ ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David M. Root comes from a 17-year background in the fl exographic paper towel/tissue printing industry, which he earned at Georgia-Pacifi c Corp. Root was an FTA/FFTA Board member for six years, chaired fi ve FFTA Forum sessions, has been an Excellence in Flexography Awards judge and is a former vice chair for the Wide Web Leadership Council. He is currently VP of operations at The Excelsior Packaging Group. RBE On-Press Defect Detection 100% Finishing Inspection Variable Data Inspection Register Controls www.pcindustries.com Phone: +1-847.336.3300 Fax: +1-847.336.3232 www. f le xography. org JUNE 2009 FLEXO 21 A ✓ ✓ ✓ R ✓ vImproe Quality Increase Speed educe Waste Minimize Liability R 100% R N VISIT US AT INFOFLEX 2009 BOOTH #532 C G N U A R E E E D P F M A E
Sustainable Spring 2009