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FLEXO Magazine : November 2010
Technologies & Techniques the pressure will be too high in some areas, and the print will look smudged. The print quality achievable in flexo on flexible tubes is stunning; and this print quality can be maintained during pro- duction runs. Two tube printers with flexo stations that feature DRP systems have been in production since February 2010. Multi-Color tube DeCoration Flexographic tube printing is usually done on a hybrid machine that has screen printing stations and flexo printing stations. This arrangement combines the strengths of the two printing processes: flexo for halftones, screen for vibrant solids and pin-sharp texts. The layout of a tube printing machine shows the arrange- ment of the stations around a rotary indexing table. Each print station has its associated UV dryer; each color is dried before the next color is printed. Flexo units and screen units are interchangeable in each of the stations. Any combination and any sequence is possible. Tubes are pushed onto the mandrels in the loading sta- tions. Two loading stations ensure that long tubes with small diameter are pushed on reliably. In the first loading station a tube is only pushed two thirds of the way onto the mandrel. Final positioning on the mandrel is achieved with a second push in the second loading station. Dust has to be removed from tube surfaces and then the surfaces have to be treated, either flamed or corona treated, to increase the surface tension for printing. Lacquered tubes can be decorated or tubes can be lacquered after printing as in the layout shown. The wet tubes are unloaded from the mandrels and placed onto pins of a pin chain conveyor. The pin chain conveyor moves the tubes through UV oven for drying the lac- quer before the tubes are unloaded onto a conveyor. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Harald Gavin earned a BS in Elec- tronics and Mathematics from the University of Hamburg, Germany and an MS in Control Engineering from the Cran- field Institute of Technology, England. He worked as a senior manager for Baker Perkins (later Rockwell Graphic Systems) in England, manufacturer of web-offset printing presses for commercial printing. He joined AUCOTEC, a German soft- ware company, in 1994 to start up the North American sales company, AUCOTEC Inc. He returned to England in 1998, where he founded Path 2 Print Ltd. as a sales company for ISIMAT’s screen printing machines in the UK and Ireland. In fall 2007, he joined ISIMAT in Germany as director of interna- tional sales and marketing. Figure 7. Cross section of a flexo tube printing press. Figure 8. A flexo tube printing press. www.flexography.org november 2010 FLeXO 99 FLX_Nov10_mech.indd 99 11/1/10 2:27 PM
Sustainable Fall 2010