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FLEXO Magazine : August 2011
26 FLEXO AUGUST 2011 www.flexography.org management process will be more consistent and repeatable and you will have considerably less work off ink to contend with. The correct anilox sleeve will be available to hit your color target and it will be easy to install. I have seen eight- color, wide web CI presses set up in 25 minutes and hit color 95 percent of the time, first time following these practices. Sleeve technology is a major factor in allowing the makeready times to be greatly reduced. Having the correct inventory on hand and ready to use is what allows it all to happen repeatedly. CARE & HANDLING There are many other advantages to sleeve technology as well. There will no longer be the need to maintain gears, bearings or shafts. This will reduce the need and cost to inventory spare parts and the time, real estate and resources to maintain them. Sleeves also allow for offline cleaning, this is a big advantage especially to the wide web market. Now there will be no excuse for not having an offline cleaning system to always insure rollers are clean and ready to use. But, as with any new technology, education will be the key to take full advantage of the opportunities it provides. The lightweight nature of the sleeves means they will be handled more and most likely care free. These new com- posite materials are not as durable as the old metal rollers. We must dedicate ourselves to the education of our people to ensure they are given the proper train- ing to take full advantage of the tools. Only then, will we get the most life expec- tancy and return on our investment. On average, sleeves will last three- to-four years before the inner layers, end rings, key ways or body either wear out or get damaged. This allows us to forecast our inventory control and pre- dict that we will need 20 percent to 25 percent of our sleeve budget each year for replacement or repair. It may sound like a lot, but the uptime created by the improved press performance more than justifies the cost. Training and education for this technology is widely available. Care and maintenance of the sleeves is what will allow us to get the most out of our investment. Educating our people is what will allow this to happen. Extreme care must be taken in the handling, material movement, storage and clean- ing practices of the sleeves. Handling considerations include having the proper transfer carts available for safe and efficient movement of the inventory. Cleaning chemicals we use must also be taken into high consideration and reviewed to insure they are safe for the construction of the sleeves. Corrosive or caustic cleaners with very low or very high pH content can cause severe damage to the sleeve construction. For anilox sleeves, it is of extreme impor- tance to keep this in mind, as these conditions could cause blistering of the ceramic surface requiring resurfac- ing. Improper chemicals can cause the inner layers to delaminate and the aluminum cladding to corrode. These are some of the most common causes of reduced anilox sleeve life. These con- cerns can all be properly addressed by training our operators on the construc- tion of the sleeves and the use of the offline cleaning systems. While sleeves are in storage it is always recommended that they be wrapped or covered with a protec- tive cover. This will protect plates from ozone and anilox from environmental plugging or surface damage. Proper utilization of padding is also highly rec- ommended to protect the sleeves from any type of impact damage anywhere in the process. Vertical storage, for me, is the best way to store a sleeve as it applies no pressure to the ID or OD of the sleeve. But this is not always possible. If hori- zontal storage is required, it is always best to have the largest diameter peg possible to disperse the weight of the sleeve over a larger area. Following this practice will prevent the expansion layer from being fatigued or the sleeve egg-shaping due to weight and causing TIR concerns on press. So, as you can see there are endless opportunities for process improvement as we continue to convert from roll to sleeves. Education will play a major factor in how successful we are in doing so. I am sure if we listed all the pros and cons of sleeves and metal journal rollers, the performance characteristics would Over 40 years of experience in the ﬂexographic industry, design and production of the highest quality systems. innovation is the key to our success. COMPUTER CONTROLLED VISCOSITY CONTROL SYSTEM IN THE ROU SLEEVEMAKI SYSTEMS Head Ofﬁce AV Flexologic B.V. H. K. Onnesweg 2 P.O. Box 252 NL-2400 AG Alphen aan den Rijn The Netherlands Tel +31 (0)172 434221 Fax +31 (0)172 437919 Mail av@ﬂexologic.nl Toll Free number from the UK 0800-3892121 (only accessible in the UK) PHOTOPOLYMER PLATEMAKING EQUIPMENT FULLY AUTOMATIC MOUNTING MACHINE for ﬂexo printing plates (for the ﬂexible packaging and corrugated industry) Advanced MOUNTING & PROOFING EQUIPMENT (for the ﬂexible packaging, corrugated and label industry) www.ﬂexologic.nl PRE-PRESS EQUIPMENT FROM MODEST SYSTEMS TO THE MOST ADVANCED HIGH-TECH SOLUTIONS