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FLEXO Magazine : March 2010
40 FLEXO MARCH 2010 www.flexography.org FTA TODAY the anilox inventory. If you need timely information, verification equipment such as measuring scopes can be used. Below is a list of equipment that is essential to preparation and communication from the ink and plate areas: • Plate: Micrometer, Plate analyzers, Shore A gauge • Ink: Scales, Formulation Software, Densitometers, Color- imeters, COF gauges • Anilox: Scope systems, stainless steel brushes for ce- ramic, cleaners MAKEREADY PROCEDURES (RECIPE CONTROL) The key to the make ready process is making sure the press is clean and a stable platform for repeatability. The press is not meant to proof the plates, QC inks or discover design flaws. These issues should be worked out before com- ing to press with the work. The press operators should not concern themselves with making any adjustments to compen- sate for art or ink issues. On the other hand, operators should concern themselves with print variation related to press mechanics, function and registration control. Press mechanics can be optimized. Check all gears, drive motors, bearings and surfaces for wear. Lubricate all gears and bearings as required by the press manufacturer. Keep the press and press area clean; remove oil and debris in and around the press area. You do not want mechanical or shopkeeping issues to contribute to the variables associated with printing. A final thought regarding make ready/recipe control is to make sure as a shop order comes through the workflow can satisfy the job requirement. Ensure that all measurements and procedures are documented for easy reference by the operator. Efficiency in the work makes the difference between print- ers who stay open and grow and those that find it difficult to survive week to week. Although it appears the worst is over, the economy is still in some turmoil and hopefully recover- ing. All a printer can focus on to be successful is to learn to outperform prior efficiency levels and continue to earn the business of customers with better turn times and quality. Re- maining profitable is the key to survival and you have to look within your workflow to improve your chances for success. If we fail to plan and communicate, the customer's increasing expectations will no longer be met. One missing piece of the puzzle will result in an incom- plete understanding of the task. You have to learn how to identify the potential for problems and prepare to prevent their occurrence. Establishing workflows and procedures for the press inputs of ink, plate, anilox and make ready/recipe control allow you to realize better efficiencies. These types of process improvements are dynamic, meaning you must continue to make improvements. If you are not quite sure how to get started, contact industry experts to help you get going. Today is the day you should get started on the road to better profitability. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Huey has been with Harper GraphicSolutuions, a Division of Harper Corporation of America for the past eight years. His current role is to sup- port and advise customers throughout the U.S. as technical graphics manager, Western Division. Huey has been em- ployed within the flexographic industry for 20 years, holding positions from pressman to conversion manager for a flexible packaging company. He is certified by the National Council for Skills Standards as an expert flexographer, published technical articles and spoke at the FFTA Annual Forum in 2005 and 2006, as well as other workshops and trade events. If you are uncertain of the true volume of your anilox, have your supplier conduct an audit.
Sustainable Winter 2010