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FLEXO Magazine : July 2007
beginner flexographer 3 6 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 D id you know that according to American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPMR), back pain is the second leading cause of absenteeism from work? Although there are no guarantees of avoiding injuries on the job or at home, proper technique and planning can help reduce these risks. This article will provide some general guidelines for the begin- ning platemaker to follow to both avoid injury and set the stage for producing the best possible plate. In addition to the guide- lines described below, a platemaker should always refer to the original equipment manufacturer’s safety guidelines when lifting or handling any object and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when handling material that requires it. There have been many advances in automated flexo platemak- ing over the past 10 years. Even with all of these advances, there is still a certain amount of manual plate handling the operator must perform in order to complete the platemaking process. There are ways to make these manual steps a little easier. For example, mobile loading tables can help transport plates from one station to the other. Such tables can be very helpful especially when handling larger format plates. Flexo plates come in many different sizes ranging from 18 in. x 24 in. to 52 in. x 80 in. and in thicknesses ranging from .030 in. to .250 in., depending on the printing application, with the thicker plates obviously weighing more. A .250-in., 52-in. x 80-in. plate weighs between 40 to 50 lbs. The weight is not as much of an issue as the size and awkwardness of handling such a plate. It is recommended that two people handle a plate that is 42 in. x 60 in. or larger. This will help protect both the operator and the quality of the plate. Any plate smaller then that can be handled by one person as long as the company safety guidelines for lifting are followed. Raw plates are shipped in supported corrugated boxes to protect the unexposed photopolymer material, and can also be You Can Handle it! Safety and Storage Points for Flexo Plates By Harold Blair A ll ar t co u rt es y M ac D er m id P ri n ti n g S o lu ti o n s. Carry the plate as close to the body
Golden Anniversary Commemorative Journal