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FLEXO Magazine : October 2010
Technologies & Techniques Pressroom Standardization Choosing a Workhorse for spots & Combos By Bill Malm In the realm of flexographic printing, there are numerous variables that contribute to the many headaches of today ’s press operator. In a typical day, a press operator may consider various methods to achieve the print quality the cus- tomer desires. Ink manipulation, anilox changes, mounting tape or plate type changes are just a few tricks of the trade. Unfortunately, we all know that compromised quality is always the result. In order to make some areas of the print look bet- ter, other areas must suffer from the changes made. Ultimately, an operator should not have needed to do any of the voodoo flexography techniques listed. Why? Because there is a more scientific approach that can be taken to achieve printing success. Despite the difficulties and com- promised results of on-press manipulation, these techniques are still favored among operators that ask, “Why should we change what we believe has worked in the past?” The response to that question is that customer expectations have changed and they no longer tolerate loose interpreta- tions of their print requirements. Lucky for all of us, there is a better way. Standardization is a method to permanently retire the “chemistry set” approach to printing. In the follow- ing pages we are going to explore a few steps to help you minimize variables and predict success before ever going to press. These include team creation, goal selection, testing criteria, documentation and preparation protocols which will set you on the path to standardization. Define Trial ObjecTiveS Can you recall ever discussing downtime reduction? Perhaps you’ve thought of getting your suppliers involved. You should, since both are effective parts of your drive to standardization. Remember, representatives from ink, anilox, plate, mounting tape, blade, graphics house or department look forward to participating in any way to help you become a better printer. I would also suggest putting together a team consisting of production personnel, since employee buy-in is the most difficult to obtain. These are the people working with your components on a daily basis and can offer insightful sugges- tions and ideas when given the chance. Begin by determining • Define trial objectives. • Run banded roll test. • Document everything! • Communicate results. figure 1. Diagram of a narrow web banded roll. All art courtesy Harper Corporation of America. figure 2. Diagram of a wide web banded roll. 52 FLeXO oCtoBer 2010 www.flexography.org 800 cpi 3.5 bcm 700 cpi 4.0 bcm 600 cpi 4.5 bcm 500 cpi 5.0 bcm 800 cpi 3.5 bcm | 2in. 2in. | | 7in. | 7in. | 7in. | 7in. | 7in. | 16” overall length 900 cpi 3.0 bcm 800 cpi 3.5 bcm 700 cpi 4.0 bcm 600 cpi 4.5 bcm 900 cpi 3.0 bcm | 0.5in. 0.5in. | | 3in. | 3in. | 3in. | 3in. | 3in. | 16” overall length 46” FLX_Oct10_mech.indd 52 10/15/10 12:32 AM
Sustainable Fall 2010