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FLEXO Magazine : August 2010
Plants & Processes The main areas to address are: • Readying the facility • Consulting with suppliers of ancillary equipment • Educating and training of employees Keep in mind that, once the press is installed, there’s still more to do before production can begin. First of all, the press will need to successfully complete a series of acceptance tests to ensure it is operating to specification. Secondly, the press will only be deemed commercial ready after success- fully conducting press characterizations. Readying the Facility The first step is to ensure that the facility is ready for press installation. The one part of preparation that requires the most lead time should ideally have begun before you finalized your press purchase—air permitting. State environmental protec- tion agencies require an application for each new press prior to installation. No matter what your individual situation is, be it your first solvent press or a modification of an existing permit for a facility with sufficient unused permitted capacity for the new press, you will still need to file an application. The permitting process can take anywhere from nine to 18 months, depending on the complexity of your situation. Fac- tors can include, but aren’t limited to, air quality containment and permit requirements in your area. Air permit planning should be one of the first steps in your new press purchase timeline. If you haven’t prepared and submitted this applica- tion by the time you are ready to purchase, you risk delaying delivery of your press. Then there are the rather large “details” to iron out: It’s vital to maintain constant communication with the press manufacturer to review details and stay on top of the project status. We have found it works best for each organization to appoint one person to be in charge of all communication and problem resolution. Details to finalize include: • Transport of the press to the facility: has the manufacturer arranged this? • Customs: Who will handle customs if the press is arriving from overseas? • Foundation drawings/utility requirements: Make sure the press manufacturer provides these to you quickly so you can put together bid packages for third party contractors and flush out the total project budget. Once this last issue has been cleared, you can take the project in your own hands and prepare the facility. Make sure that the following issues have been addressed: • Has the foundation been installed with enough cure time for the concrete? (Note: In many states, the preparation and pouring of a new press foundation cannot occur until your air permit has been approved.) • Have the utilities (water, power and air) been run to the press location? • Is there adequate space outside the plant to accommo- date the off loading of up to five trucks and staging area for the shipping crates? Now it’s time for the logistics of the installation. Installing a press is similar to putting a jigsaw puzzle together, where the pieces, besides only fitting in one position, may also have to be installed in a very specific order. Every installation is individual and will vary depending on the physical restrictions of the intended press area, storage and staging space. If storage and staging space are limited, you will need to be careful in scheduling deliveries to meet the planned installation time line. For instance, if the inking/ wash-up system will be installed in week No. 3 , arrange for it to arrive in week No. 2 , or as soon as adequate space should become available. You can work on this directly with the manufacturer. Remember that many of these shipments contain large com- ponents. Measure entrance spaces and pathways to the instal- lation location. Are the entrances large enough? If not, you’ll need to find a solution, most likely enlarging an opening in a wall or even a roof. Roof penetrations are not unusual, but they are a very costly addition to your press budget. Large crane rentals alone can run tens of thousands of dollars per day. Another step can be thrown in the mix: an older press may need to be disassembled and removed prior to installation of the new press. If this is the case for you, make sure the scheduling department plans accordingly to minimize any lost production capacity. When you install a new press or remove an old one in an active production area, make sure that the installer has built appropriate isolation around the work site. Remember that any adjacent presses will maintain negative room pressure, which will attempt to draw loose dust, dirt and construction debris into the operating area. This is especially true when an existing concrete floor is being removed. ancillaRy equipment So now that a great new press is on the way and your facil- ity is getting ready for a seamless installation, you’re done spending money, right? More often than not, that answer is, “No.” Investing in ancillary equipment may be required to maximize the press’s performance. Common extra equip- ment purchased includes web video inspection, anilox rolls, bridge mandrels, and print sleeves, among others. Web video systems. The technology for web video systems has improved greatly and the available software can include 100-percent inspection, defect detection, bar code reading, color analysis and many other functions. There are several suppliers of this equipment and you’ll want to meet with them to discuss the specific requirements of your process before a system is purchased. Although all video inspection equipment does similar functions, it is recommended to take the time, as with any press component, to visit one of the manufacturer’s customer installations to get a firsthand look at real-life performance and question the operators on ease of use. Anilox, bridge mandrels, sleeves. Most new machines run at production speeds greater than 1,000fpm. The best print quality requires the best quality components. The press will only perform as well as its “ weakest link” and care must be taken when selecting these components. Unfortunately, the best test of the quality of a sleeve or any other press component is how it performs over a long period of time. This cannot be easily determined in a single press trial or by visual inspection. In this case, reach out to some of your supplier’s customers about their experience, ask about sleeve life. The relationship you foster with your supplier will be key. Find out how they support their business and your business and what their turnaround time is. www.flexography.org august 2010 FLEXO 41 August2010_mech.indd 41 8/13/10 7:46 AM
Sustainable Summer 2010