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FLEXO Magazine : June2010
4 FLEXO june 2010 www.flexography.org FTA TODAY Pressroom Protocols... Print consistency. In the world of flexo, it comes under attack every day. Culprits include, yet are not limited to: haloing, feathering, banding, bounce, dot bridging, slurring, plate swelling, chatter, ink adhesion, improper pH, excessive or inadequate plate exposure times, surface tension, contamination, fill- in, chemical reactions, dyne level, dot size/shape, foaming, viscosity, deformation, density, dot gain and even air flow. Press crews stand ever present on the firing line as the battle rages on. At point, the lead press operator keeps careful watch over the delicate dance of materials in motion as they interact and challenge him to plot strategic maneuvers to counter each onslaught. Evaluation must transpire quickly. Root causes, once identified need corrective actions and controls applied immediately. Causes and effects must be kept in check and sync. Every problem has to be linked to a proven solution. Easy? No! Possible? Definitely. Experience? Highly desirable. Checklists, tip sheets and research guides? Preferred and utilized, especially when kept right in reach; right at press side. Tasks, sometimes complicated, must be performed in tandem. The mantra: measurement, management, modification. Back in situation rooms, scattered across the globe/landscape, sit teams of sup- pliers waiting to be tapped for advice; at least I like to think so. A call comes in, the problem is defined and a plan for exactly what to do about it is issued. Eye-catching packaging that inspires action is positioned on the shelf—ready for a buy! Under this scenario, flexographers band together to help each other survive the rigors of a pressrun. They possess solid foundations in engineering and scientific approaches to printing. They are acutely aware of mechanical tolerances, proper calibration and press fingerprinting techniques. Most are adept in compatibility testing procedures and many adhere to Flexographic Image Reproduction Speci- fications and Tolerances (FIRST) guidelines. All hold strong to being united in one belief: “The success of a print job is determined well before it arrives on press.” Their common mission: eliminate variables every step of the way; or in other words divide and conquer—time and time again, situation by situation. Admittedly, tackling every obstacle that arises with military precision may be a utopian premise. Still, it’s nice to know that you have allies. In essence, each is equipped with a common set of protocols to follow when it comes to addressing and resolving problems as they occur on press. Downtime as always is the enemy. Rapid resolution is both crucial and critical. Basics come into play; both principles and practices. That’s the only way to engage in continuous process improvement, something that happens in back rooms and on front lines where ink hits substrate. To assist in the campaign, FLEXO has assembled its first-ever troubleshooting guide. Short, succinct installments, nine in number, stretch over 15+ pages of this very issue. The presentation begins on page 48. It encapsulates simple instruc- tions that hold to those protocols I spoke of earlier, it embraces those checklists and offers tips on how to get down to the root causes of any difficulties encountered— especially those listed at the top of this column. And, it draws on the skills and expertise of knowledgeable suppliers that every printer needs to have assembled for ready access in this industry ’s version of a War Room. We call it troubleshooting, but in reality, it all comes down to working together to erase mistakes, better the process, bolster productivity and foster a victory for one and all! That just may be flexo’s most valuable pressroom protocol. pubLishEr’s ink BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE FLEXOGRAPHIC TECHNICAL ASSOCIATION Roxanne Baker, Cryovac Sealed Air Mark Cisternino, Flexographic Technical Association Larry Claton, PCMC Greg Collins, C -P Flexible Packaging Gary Hilliard, Hood Packaging Michael Impastato, Flint Group Jean Jackson, Praxair Surface Technologies Eric Jones, The Label Company Allen Marquardt, Kimberly-Clark Corp. Gene Martin, The Robinette Co. James Nelson, Great Lakes Packaging Corp. David R. Nieman, All Printing Resources Greg Platt, GMF Flexo Prepress Michael Reinhardt, Windmoeller & Hoelscher Lon Robinson III, Tension Envelope Corp. BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE FOUNDATION OF FLEXOGRAPHIC TECHNICAL ASSOCIATION Roxanne Baker, Cryovac Sealed Air Mark Cisternino, Flexographic Technical Association Larry Claton, PCMC Greg Collins, C -P Flexible Packaging Gary Hilliard, Hood Packaging Michael Impastato, Flint Group Jean Jackson, Praxair Surface Technologies Eric Jones, The Label Company Allen Marquardt, Kimberly-Clark Corp. Gene Martin, The Robinette Co. James Nelson, Great Lakes Packaging Corp. David R. Nieman, All Printing Resources Greg Platt, GMF Flexo Prepress Michael Reinhardt, Windmoeller & Hoelscher Lon Robinson III, Tension Envelope Corp. PUBLISHING DIRECTOR Mark Cisternino EDITORIAL ADvISORy COmmITTEE Richard Cervarich, DuPont Packaging Graphics Catherine Haynes, All Printing Resources Jean Jackson, Praxair Surface Technologies Brad Keys, Staples Print Solutions John Meyer, Western Michigan University Dave Nunez, International Paper John Paine, C-P Flexible Packaging Paul Wilson, Encore Washington Ltd. 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