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FLEXO Magazine : June2010
inks. A good proofer allows for this testing to once again keep the press out of the testing loop for live jobs. Consider proof- ers a vital component of your standardiza- tion verification process. Along with proofing, anilox cleaning and verification plays an important role in sustainable standardization. Efficient pressrooms augment their cleaning methods with visual verification of cell condition. The minimum for anilox verifi- cation is a scope system that allows the cells to be viewed. A lighted scope of 200x power is good for most cell counts. You can also get scopes that define cell condition by measurement. Once you have your anilox selection calibrated, measuring devices give you the precise analysis you must have for proper main- tenance of anilox inventory. What kind of information does a scope and measuring system yield? Anilox condition will be the first thing you will notice. Condition can be determined by inspecting for cell wall wear, broken walls and plugged cells. You will also be able to evaluate the effectiveness of your clean- ing method. It has been assumed that the act of cleaning an anilox is enough but you must be able to confirm the cleaning method and cleaning products perform as expected. Verification is a requirement for sustaining standardization. You cannot establish conditions for ink without some method of confirming the anilox volume is going to deliver the expected amount. Have your anilox cleaning method reviewed by your anilox supplier and consider the numerous variations of visual and quantitative verification. Successful flexographic printing now relies very little on luck and has become a more precise science over the last 20 years. The print buyers certainly have demanded much greater repeatabil- ity and quality from the flexographic market. Every session concerning processes and workflows of the FFTA Forum 2010 in Las Vegas touched on the great value in standardization and how to go about it. For many convert- ers, it makes both dollars and sense to simplify the standardization process to a few anilox types in sufficient quantity mixed with good cleaning practice. The secret of standardization is anilox accommodation, not dictation, of the printing process. Determining the right aniloxes can be done with the cooperation of your ink supplier and anilox supplier to define the correct anilox for you. Remember the value of print testing and use of banded aniloxes. The whole concept of today ’s standardization is repeatability and savings by putting the least amount of ink down while getting the perfor- mance. Our consumable cost-driven process finds margins in ink and mate- rial savings that can be gobbled up with wasteful practices and inefficient methodology. Set yourself up with a win- ning hand of aniloxes and the support to maintain the benefits of standardization with proofing and verification. Please don’t continue to gamble your hard- earned dollars on the unsure bet of an out-of-control anilox inventory and gain the confidence of the standardization process to go “all in” when targeting that next profitable pressrun! n ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sean Teufler proudly serves the central U.S . as a technical graphics advisor for Harper GraphicSolutions, a division of Harper Corporation of America. Technologies & Techniques www.flexography.org june 2010 FLeXO 45 FLX_June2010_mech.indd 45 6/10/10 9:39 AM