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FLEXO Magazine : June 2011
FTA TODAY Materials Management Practical Tips Abound on Inks and Substrates Addressing the challenges of materials management can go a long way toward establishing a competitive edge, said speakers at a FFTA 2011 Annual Forum session dedicated to inks and substrates. Session chair David Nuñez of International Paper Co. and co-chair Rick Pomeren- ka of Printron introduced the presenters, who offered practi- cal tips that attendees could apply directly to their work. James Ford of Color Resolutions International began the session with a discussion of the ideal elements of color mea- surement instruments. “Instrumental measurements should agree with what the observer sees, so calculated color differ- ences should predict visual color differences,” he said. Ford explained the mechanisms of densitometers, color- imeters and spectrophotometers. He advised attendees to consider the following when selecting a color measurement instrument: • Geometry • Precision and accuracy • Software • Service and support • Ease of use • Cost Yet the best equipment will not offer any value if it is not used correctly. “ Understand the choices, understand the pro- cess, document the procedures, be consistent and calibrate, calibrate, calibrate,” Ford said. Scot Pedersen of Siegwerk USA discussed how to reduce the environmental impact of printing inks. “ T he weight con- tribution of printing ink is very low, and the fraction of carbon dioxide coming from printing inks in a package’s footprint is less than 1 percent, but that does not mean that ink is ir- relevant,” he said. Pedersen noted traditional and novel renewable raw ma- terials for solvents, additives and resins used in flexographic inks. He also presented an innovative formulation for renew- able content as evidence of how bio-derived content of inks can be improved without affecting quality and performance. (For more information about sustainability and inks, see Ped- ersen’s article, “Increasing the Renewability of Flexographic Inks” in the March 2011 issue of FLEXO.) Ed Dedman of Graymills Corp. encouraged attendees to “think like ink” when controlling ink dynamics for process improvement. “ Where is it going? Where has it been? Imag- ine the interactions it will have. What will happen as it flows through your particular printing process?” he asked. Dedman discussed the “4 Cs,” steps to take when handling inks: Condition the ink by controlling rheology and viscosity; clean the ink by removing debris with a proper filter; circulate the ink either by pouring or pumping as appropriate for the run; and control the ink by monitoring and adjusting elements that affect its chemistry, such as pH, solvents and heat. Scott Maloney of Sun Chemical Corp. drew the session to a close with a presentation about surface tension. He focused on critical surface tension—the surface tension above which a liquid cannot completely wet a solid—noting how it is an in- dication of a solid’s “ water-hating or water-loving character.” Maloney discussed the benefits of corona, chemical, flame and plasma surface treatments that affect a substrate’s surface energy. “Successes include improved adhesion, good ink wetting and laydown, better ink transfer, faster press speeds and greater ink-formulating latitude,” he said. n Ford Pedersen Dedman Maloney 26 FLEXO June 2011 www.flexography.org
Sustainable Spring 2011