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FLEXO Magazine : June 2011
Technologies & Techniques viscosity may also require changes to the fluid in-feed and drain port sizes. The fluid pumping system must also be sized properly. The print station height and overall fluid volume usage will help determine the cor- rect pumping system. Q. Can a RADBS handle multiple colors? Systems are available that can apply multiple colors from one chamber, side by side at the same time. Be sure to discuss this with the supplier to determine your exact needs. Q. Is it possible to retrofit for very narrow or very wide webs? Machines of all widths may benefit from retrofitting an RADBS. However, a RADBS designed for a narrow web will look different from one designed for a very wide web. (See Photos 1 and 2.) The chamber for a wide web retrofit may be taller and thicker to increase rigidity. There should also be more support arms or chambers to support tube fasteners. The main support tube and its mounting hardware must be designed properly to reduce flexing and allow the doctoring blade to maintain an even and repeatable contact across the entire face of the anilox roll. Q. What should I consider with respect to the anilox roll/ inking system interface? The anilox roll must be engraved to accept and transfer the amount and type of ink required for your particular printing process. Likewise, the printing plates must be designed to accept and transfer the same ink to your substrate. Therefore, a proper retrofit of a RADBS should involve the suppliers of your anilox roll, ink and print- ing plates. All of these suppliers must work together to ensure that all components are correct for producing the highest quality product with the least amount of waste and expense. Bringing your suppliers together during a RADBS retrofit will also allow you to revisit your press from the ink pump to the substrate to be sure you are getting the best return on your investment. Q. Do I change the system one deck at a time or over- haul the whole press? To reduce downtime, it is best to retrofit the entire machine at once. Also, keep in mind that it is natural for some people to resist change and want to con- tinue working with equipment that is familiar to them, regardless of the benefits of new technology. Eliminat- ing the old device and overhauling the entire press at once allows the operators to concentrate on working only with the new doctoring system and in most cases accelerates the learning process. This allows your company to maximize profits on that particular press as soon as possible. Q. Is the work done in plant or sent out? Most retrofits are completed in the plant. In rare cas- es, the existing machine design will require that parts are sent to a machine shop, but ideally the design will incur minimal alterations to the existing equipment. Q. How long should I expect the press to be down? A retrofit can take as little as an hour to complete, but it depends on the existing equipment. Some machine designs require more time. Q. How do retrofitting costs compare with that of buying a new press? Retrofitting of a RADBS is considerably less expensive than purchasing a new machine with this feature. Retrofitting can typically run from $1,500 to $10,000 per print station, depending on machine width and other considerations. A new press with this feature might cost hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars. If the existing machine is in good work- ing condition, holds register and meets the owner’s requirements, it is an excellent candidate for a retrofit. However, retrofitting a RADBS will not cure every problem your existing equipment may have. The sales professionals you consult should be able to help you evaluate your existing equipment. Q. What other benefits does a retrofit offer? Benefits include ink savings, reduced setup times, reduced clean-up times, greater repeatability, tighter control over print quality and reduced fugitive emis- sions from solvent-based inks. It may also increases press speed without incurring any additional costs. Retrofitting your existing press requires less downtime than other alternatives and does not involve the need for additional floor space. Finally, investing in modern- ization is a selling point: When your customers and po- tential customers tour your plant and see that you are improving your equipment and doing what is needed to enhance the quality of the products they purchase, they may respond with new or increased orders. n About the Author: Perry Lichon, president of Retroflex, Inc located in Wrightstown, WI, has nearly 30-years of experience with the manufacturing of flexographic printing and convert- ing equipment. www.flexography.org June 2011 FLeXO 77 narrow web blade.
Sustainable Spring 2011