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FLEXO Magazine : September 2009
62 FLEXO SEPTEMBER 2009 www.flexography.org TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES 0.000 0.020 0.040 0.060 0.080 0.100 0.120 Yellow Magenta Cyan Black 0.066 0.114 0.078 0.075 Density 3‐Sigma of Solid Ink Density check of the various components in the print deck, they found that the load adjustment for the doctor blade holder was not working properly. This led to an inconsistent wiping of the anilox roll thereby causing abnormal variation in the amount of ink being delivered to the plate resulting in the excessive solid ink density variation. Once the adjusting mechanism was repaired and working properly, the solid ink density vari- ation settled down to levels comparable with the other print decks. Having data and a statistical analysis not only helped identify a problem, it helped verify that the problem was fixed. If key attributes like solid ink density are not measured and monitored, it can be difficult to accurately identify problems that can lead to color variation and can impact waste, down- time, and compromise quality and customer satisfaction. ONGOING COMMUNICATION OF CONFORMANCE As the above example illustrates, the use of data to drive process improvement, coupled with ongoing data collection of the key process control parameters, can feed into a total quality system that can be used to help communicate con- formance to agreed upon specifications with the customer. Many customers these days are requiring some sort of report- ing of print attributes showing that the final product conforms to the specifications with the end-goal being a consistently printed and converted product. By following the steps of the methodology outlined in FIRST 4.0, printers can effectively optimize, fingerprint, character- ize, and control and improve the printing process that will lead to higher levels of color consistency and predictability. And beyond the subjective benefits it will lead to a reduction in makeready time and waste, increases in productivity and throughput, and opportunities for new work that would other- wise not necessarily be obtainable. ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Michelle Warfford Beuscher earned a Bachelor's (1989) and Master 's (1997) degree in Graphic Communications from Clemson University. She has been involved in the flexographic printing industry since 1990, working in both wide-web paper and film applications. She served on the FIRST Committee for the premier and second editions and as editor of the third edition. Currently, Beuscher is an independent consultant to the flexographic industry spe- cializing in training program development and implementa- tion, printing process measurement, control and evaluation. She served as project manager and editor of FIRST 4.0. For more information, contact Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bill Pope is technical director for FTA. Three standard deviations, or sigmas, of solid ink density FIRST 4.0 Get Your Copy Today! FTA Members: $99.00 (Non-members: $198.00) Place your order online at www.ftastore.com or call FTA at 631-737-6020.