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FLEXO Magazine : February 2010
www.flexography.org FEBRUARY 2010 FLEXO 29 • Improved consistency due to lack of cushion breakdown • Extended life of digital plates While numerous schools and compa- nies have tested the PEC product, no one has completed a comparative analysis between conventional plate cylinders with .015in. cushion tape and PEC cylin- ders with .005in. non-cushion mounting tape. This researcher saw an opportunity to develop a research methodology that would provide the flexographic industry with an unbiased analysis of the quality improvement claims. This study should be of interest to any manager, operator, researcher, student or educator who works in narrow-web flexography and has experienced gear marking or banding. METHODOLOGY This study was designed to provide comparative samples of a test image printed with both conventional plate cylinders and with PEC. A banded roll test was performed to optimize for each cylinder set-up. Once the optimal anilox rolls for both cylinders were determined, appropriate rolls were ordered for both processes. This optimization process ensured both plating set-ups were performing at the highest possible level and eliminated the possibility of testing both cylinders under conditions that favored one. A team of experts, which included representatives from ink, plate and anilox roll suppliers, developed a test image that would challenge the most experienced flexographic pressmen. The image consisted of gradients, and large screened areas alongside several repeating bands of solid print. Also, thin reverse type was added to the mix to increase the challenge. Digitally imaged, solvent-washed, 50-durometer plates were produced from this image. Samples for the study were printed on a 7in. Comco Cadet press, using FIGURE 2. Performance Enhancing Cylinders print with more print contrast than conventional flexo- graphic printing cylinders. FIGURE 3. Performance Enhancing Cylinders print with a larger tonal range than with conventional flexographic printing cylinders. Dr. E. Dean Gilbert presenting at National Taiwan University of Arts, Pan Ciao City, Taiwan TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES