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FLEXO Magazine : March 2011
Technologies & Techniques provide barriers to oxygen and light. These treatments can be incorporated into the paper in a variety of ways, including through the fiber furnish, in-line coating processes during the paper-making process or secondary coating processes per- formed by the converter. These treatment systems use a variety of synthetic polymers, starches and fine minerals designed to create thin, pinhole-free films or change the substrate’s surface energy characteristics. Therefore, it is important that the ink, press configuration and process conditions are appropriate for the substrate. Taking advantage of its sustainability edge, the industry continues to develop environmentally friendly, non- petroleum based and solvent-free coating options. Flexo is an evolving technology. With advances in inks, plate making, print quality and substrates, flexographic print- ing is a cost-effective, high-performance printing and convert- ing platform ideally suited for today ’s packaging market. As brand-owners drive sustainability requirements through the supply chain and paper manufacturers enhance functionality through the use of barrier technologies, paper will see growth as a substrate in several markets, including food service, food processing and retail product packaging. PaPer Basics A big advantage of flexographic printing is the ability to use a variety of substrates, which adds complexity for those converters that print a range of materials. There is a variety of paper grades, sheet structures and variables, as follows: • Substrates that are uncoated, film-coated, coated on one side or coated on two sides. • Different levels of sheet density, surface smoothness or gloss and their associated variations in ink absorption. • Different types of fiber made from assorted pulping pro- cesses used in paper formulation. • Wide-ranging levels of brightening and pacifying fillers within the sheet. Once you have defined the best type of paper for an ap- plication, work with your paper supplier to match the paper’s characteristics to your printing and press requirements. The supplier may offer different grades of paper that could fit your end use, or sometimes they can modify a given grade to bet- ter fit your specific converting needs. Paper suppliers are typi- cally willing to provide samples and detailed specifications as well as arrange for trials. To optimize your flexo printing, take the following steps: • Match the ink to the paper. Contact your ink manufac- turer, who will work closely with substrate suppliers and printers to understand the unique chemical and surface properties of the material, the product’s end use and any special graphic print requirements. The ink manufac- turer will recommend or formulate an ink to work with the selected substrate. • Ensure paper consistency. Avoid mixing substrates from different manufacturing runs. When possible, run rolls by Flexo Analyzer 1% Highlights & Better BETA PRO Measure: HD FLEXO 3-D Imaging For Superior Highlight Dots DOT STRUCTURE INDEX DOT STRUCTURE INDEX NEW! The Key to High Quality Flexo Trade In FREE FREE For Older Betaflex’s (limited time of fer) 10-Day Trial BetaColor Viewer 3 ($439 Value) • Color Separation & Analysis • Image to Image Comparison • Flexo Plates • Laser Masks • Prints • Offset Plates • Film The Quality C ontrol Company 800-272-7336, 201-939-2400, email: firstname.lastname@example.org 707 Commercial Ave., Carlstadt, NJ 07072, www.betascreen.com www.flexography.org march 2011 FLeXO 45 FLX_March11.indd 45 3/18/11 1:33 PM