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FLEXO Magazine : November 2009
62 FLEXO NOVEMBER 2009 www.flexography.org FTA FQC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Jean Engelke, Alcan Robb Frimming, Schawk, Inc. Paul D. Lodewyck, Flint Group Sam Ingram, Clemson University Jean M. Jackson, Praxair Surface Technologies Bill Pope, Foundation of FTA Allen Marquardt, Kimberly-Clark Colleen Twomey, MacDermid FTA WOULD LIKE TO RECOGNIZE NOTABLY ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS IN VARIOUS FQC PROJECTS: Mike Huey, Harper Corporation of America Mark Mazur, DuPont Packaging Graphics Shawn Oetjen, Dunwoody College of Technology Danny Rich, Sun Chemical Steve Smiley, Vertis Inc. Jay Sperry, Clemson University FTA's Flexo Quality Consortium (FQC) has embarked on a campaign to examine the measurement of anilox volumes. Predictable and repeatable print outcomes are essential to the success of a flexographic printing operation. One of the numerous variables that needs to be controlled is the amount of ink laydown. The ink film thickness is affected largely in part by the anilox volume. The higher the line-screen, the smaller the volume of roll, and vice versa. "So what?" you may say. "I have my '2bcm' anilox roll. What's the problem?" The problem, simply put, is one manufacturer 's "2bcm" roll will not necessarily give you the same ink film thickness as another's "2bcm" roll. Furthermore, what exactly does "2bcm" mean? Over the years, the flexographic industry has gone through multiple generations of measurement devices for determining anilox cell volumes. Early on, gravure scopes were the device of choice. Today there are a few units out there that are cur- rently being used---Microdynamics and Troika are the most common ones, but there are Liquid Volume units out there and Microfaxes being used as well. However, at present, there is no official standard for how these devices measure volume. Again, one company 's 2bcm roll may not be the same as another 's. At one point, the companies allowed for the differences between the various measurement systems. In addition, the market has been nar- rowed down by some players falling out. The goal of the FQC project is not to pick a system. Instead, it is a gauge R&R (repeatability and reproducibility) study. The committee intends to look at what is going on, what the anilox companies' measurements are, and the correlation between them and the various measuring systems. Again, the pur- pose is not to pick an application or instrument, but identify the repeatability and reliability of the devices. Many times, a printer/converter will have its rolls audited, only to find a roll has gained volume or lost volume. Meanwhile, there may be no difference in that particular roll's performance. Similarly, a 900lpi 2.5bcm roll from one company will not necessarily perform the same as a 2.5bcm from its competitor. The environment and the user are going to have an impact on these factors. As such, Clemson University has been cho- sen as the neutral site for the study. All the major anilox roll companies have pledged their support and will be involved. In a nutshell, the project aims to compare apples to ap- ples, or apples to oranges, as the case may be. In a sense, one company may be using a yard stick and the other is using a meter. The FQC seeks to understand the correlation between those two measuring devices, and the variables that affect the readings. Your Ruler or Mine? FQC Investigates Consistent Measurement of Anilox Rolls • One manufacturer 's 2bcm roll will not necessarily give you the same ink film thickness as another 's 2bcm roll. • The goal of the FQC project is to conduct a gauge R&R study on the correlation between manufacturer measurement devices and techniques. • Many of the major anilox roll manufacturers have pledged their support. FTA TODAY
Sustainable Fall 2009