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FLEXO Magazine : August 2010
Technologies & Techniques finetuning by the operator is required to create saleable product. Pre-register systems help ensure consistency in setup times between operators, guaran- teeing high quality product shift-to-shift. InkIng SyStemS Inking systems have traditionally been a source for inconsistent quality and time consuming setups. Conven- tional ink station designs have numer- ous settings: meter roll to anilox roll, doctor blade to anilox, and anilox to plate. Variation in any one of these set- tings will affect the color being printed. There are no reference points for these adjustments on conventional systems— operators set them blindly. Therefore, there is no way to ensure a job is set up the same way each time, regardless of whether the same operator, or another operator on a different shift, sets it up. All this inconsistency leads to exten- sive set up time and lengthy approvals before the job can be run. New flexo press technologies keep these variables in mind, streamlin- ing the inking steps and making the process more routine. These new ink systems have greatly simplified setup, while improving consistency. Meter roll, doctor blade, and anilox adjust- ments have been replaced by swift, automatic positioning. Operators simply have to load the components into the station and lock them in place. The sole remaining adjustment (anilox to plate) can be set for the job’s plate/tape combination, then left alone. Elimina- tion of adjustments and auto positioning ensure that the station will be set up the same way, every time. Plate CylInderS Another component of conventional presses that contributes to long change- over times and unnecessary waste is the loading of plate cylinders and setting of impression. Conventional print stations consist of a plate cylinder with a plate roll shaft and moveable adjusting arms that hold the shaft. Alignment of all these components can prove challenging when inserting a new cylinder. Once the plate cylinder is loaded, an operator, depending on the repeat size difference, makes multiple turns of an adjustment knob to position the plate to the web. Not only is this time consuming, it can quickly fatigue the press operator. Once this gross adjustment is made, the operator can then start the press and begin the process of setting impres- sion. On most conventional presses, this process is trial and error, and is com- plicated by the fact that adjustments to impression impact the position of the anilox to plate. After several iterations of adjustments, the operator achieves the final result. It is also nearly impos- sible to repeat from job to job, as none of the adjustments provide any type of reference point to return to the next time the job is run. New presses have addressed these problems. First, the plate roll shaft/ad- Plate cylinder on an advanced press. www.flexography.org august 2010 FLeXO 65 August2010_mech.indd 65 8/13/10 9:29 AM
Sustainable Summer 2010