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FLEXO Magazine : June 2012
the equipment. Therefore it is important to fit the proper level with the budget and overall expectations of the plant. Basic configurations use a single pump to supply ink to the chamber. The ink is then gravity returned to the tank to com- plete the cycle. Fully automated inking and wash-up systems allow for faster make-readies and repeatable processes. In these, two pumps are often used -- one to feed the chamber and one to return the ink back to the kit. Utilizing PLC controls and automated valves with the ink- ing and washing sequences can pull ink or wash solutions from their respective tanks and circulate them through the chamber efficiently. Sequences and timers can easily be adjusted for different applications. Using a two-pump, push- pull method allows installers to run lines in a simpler, more hidden-away manner than a single-pump, gravity-return sys- tem. This helps maintain a clean and uncluttered press side environment. Trends toward incorporating onboard viscosity and pH control make for a seamless integrated system. SOLUTION VS. COMPONENTS Traditionally, the individual components associated with a chamber retrofit project are acquired separately and then pieced together on the press to work as one. The chamber, pumping system, and viscosity control units are all installed by different suppliers. This pieced-together concept does not allow for an efficient/integrated solution. Recent trends are moving toward one entity taking overall responsibility and integrating a complete solution rather than just supplying individual components. Many features and levels of automation are available. They're designed to meet any unique field environment, so that all the integrated com- ponents may work together as one. While overall performance and reliability are usually the main objectives - keeping press side clean and uncluttered is also important. SUMMARY There are several companies that specialize in developing and manufacturing chambers for the flexo printing indus- try. Although chambers may at first look relatively simple in construction, the reality is that there are a lot of complex fluid characteristics happening inside. Whether you're looking to improve the performance of your existing chambers or purchase new ones, it's critical to get the features that will make the most positive impact on your operation. The cost of high-quality components is proven through longevity and increased up time. It's important to understand that this is a harsh and de- manding environment that requires equipment to run around the clock and go through many cycles without failure. It's smart for all of us to do our homework. About the Author: Scott Michels is vice president of sales and marketing for Harris & Bruno International. He's been involved in the industry for more than 20 years and has trav- eled the globe extensively promoting new technologies to the printing and coating markets. He lives on the coast of Mas- sachusetts with his wife and three children. ...continued from page 102. VOLUME SPECS The true value of testing is that everyone involved in a facil- ity, from production to ownership, sees and understands the process better through the planning, running and evaluation of printed samples. With printed samples in hand, sales and customer service staff have a new tool to understand what production is capable of and what they can sell. Printed test samples help your customers see and understand the limita- tions of the process or the capability you can offer! The best testing is logically planned, conducted, reviewed and acted upon. The more planning that is put into the test, the most efficiently it will run, collection of samples, measure- ment of samples and best information gathered with minimal time and cost. Utilizing a suppliers' experience and product knowledge to offer correct products to be tested is imperative. Remember, the more elements that are tested, the longer it will take to run and review printed samples TIME TO TEST Is it time to take another look to see if improvements in all the elements of the process to include printing press design have passed by previous testing and specifications? What's old is new and the anilox roll is no exception. The anilox roll is a precision metering device whose function is to transfer a film of ink to the printing plate for desired print results. It al- ways has been and always will be about volume and resulting ink film thickness. When anilox roll inventories are standardized, an important element of the flexographic printing process is minimized while print quality and process efficiency are maximized... 1. Ask questions of suppliers if they do not offer information 2. With new information and proof: test it 3. Benchmark or Banded roll test? 4. Act on the results of the test About the Author: Dan Foy is a technical engineer for ARC international based out of Charlotte, NC. With almost 20 years' experience in the anilox roll industry, he works with ARC customers to provide proactive recommendations on anilox roll specifications, testing, inventory management, coating ap- plications and training. His experience covers the spectrum of flexographic markets including wide web film and foil, folding carton, corrugated, newspaper, tissue, tag and label, envelope, pharmaceutical packaging and coating applications. 106 FLEXO JUNE 2012 www.flexography.org