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FLEXO Magazine : June 2012
Technologies & Techniques Geometrically Speaking: Anilox engravings & Their Applications By Bill Poulson Since its inception in the early 1990s, flexo printers have employed the 60-degree anilox roller. This proven, reli- able roller has been supplied by engravers ever since. If handled with care properly, these anilox rollers can yield many years of production. Based on industry standards, it has been the most useful geometry the industry has to work with. This article will help to explain some suggestions for when it is proper to use an alternative geometry, show some of the aspects of these different geometries, and talk about how to apply these recommendations. It is important to remember that an application may arise that requires a different geometry, based on unique challenges and/or customer’s requirements. When this happens, the sup- plier is the best resource for assistance. Suppliers have seen a multitude of requests, problems and solutions and can assist in providing an alternative geometry that might work better. Because of the sheer number of options, it is important to become familiar with the selection of geometries, as well as what a supplier has to offer. All suppliers offer similar geom- etries, but some are proprietary. In other words, there are many different types of engravings to choose from. Let’s start with the existing industry standard for flexo- graphic reproduction. SUBSTITUTE ROLLS • The 60-degree hex is the standard for quality graphic printing, line type, solids and coatings • The 70-degree geometry is slightly more elongated than the 60 degree. This geometry is fairly new to the industry and has not had enough time in the field to show its real worth • Similar to the 60-degree, except in durability, the Katron hex can hold and maintain a process graphic in all preliminary tests • The 45-degree pyramid, or quad cell, has been engraved in chrome anilox rollers since the 1980s when ceramic surfaced laser engraved anilox rollers were first produced • The 30-degree hex has a natural channel created that can help ink to wet out better as it is being transferred from the anilox to plate • The trihelical is a constant channel around the anilox roller or sleeve that comes in three variations: 45-degree, 75-degree and 89-degree FiGure 1 70 FLeXO june 2012 www.flexography.org