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FLEXO Magazine : July 2007
2 8 F L E X O J U LY 2 0 0 7 w w w . f l e x o g r a p h y . o r g nEwspapErs E very printer from time to time experiences a “chaotic era.” One day you’re bouncing happily along minding your own business, products are being produced, and customers are all smiles. Then, from seemingly out of nowhere, insanity strikes. Suddenly your print is mottling across the sheet while your plates are plugging with ink. As if that is not enough, you find that you have plate expo- sure problems that could be contributing to all of this. You are left in a complete stupor trying to figure out what must be done and in what order to get you back on the track to some form of normalcy. This was the Chattanooga Times Free Press as we rounded into our new year. We were in the middle of tweaking our ink formula along with investigating the cause of some nasty mottling that kept rearing its ugly head. The two together were causing an awfully shameful product for our quality- concerned crew. Then, just when we thought things couldn’t get worse, we started noticing that our reverse type was completely filling in. Familiar Feeling We had experienced symptoms like this before and knew the cause was likely to be one of two things—ink plugging in the plate or overexposure causing the solid area to fill in. All we needed was a satisfactory way to check for our culprit. A techni- cian from our plate company happened to be with us that day and inquired about the targets on our plate test page, suggesting that we check our reverse type target to find out. Because we run a test plate every day to verify that exposure and processing are up to our standards, this should have been a simple task. Turning to our test plate for clues, we realized that we had no target that would aid us in any way. With the reverse type target we would have been able to spot overexposure before we ever got the plates to the press, eliminating a lot of confusion, downtime, and operating dollars. This is when we realized that our current test plate would no longer suffice. It was clear that we were in need of a complete renovation of our plate target page that in- cluded some old test targets and some new targets in a fresh ar- rangement that would provide us with all of the essential elements for testing. Originally, our test target in- cluded a handful of highlight dot squares and a few tint scales. Minimum and maximum dot percentages were essentially the only thing that could be determined before our plates reached the press. Also, there were a few useless targets including a large solid box in the middle of the page. It was great for testing den- sity and mottling, but only if you are building a target page for testing print quality. Our goal was to make a test page that did not need to be print- ed to check our plate’s capabilities. We wanted something that would allow us to quickly glance over the fresh plate from the processor and determine any possible defects. exposing exposure Problems New Test Plate Designed As Performance Indicator By Lindsay Limbaugh The old test plate. The new test plate. Turning to our test plate for clues, we realized that we had no target that would aid
Golden Anniversary Commemorative Journal