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FLEXO Magazine : July 2012
Simple indeed, if we follow the stan- dards contained within Section 17 of the FIRST 4.0 standards and stay within the published tolerances. Just like with monitors and proofers and spectrophotometers, the key to ac- curate and repeatable platemaking is in establishing and following standard operating procedures, maintaining the calibration of the imaging device, expo- sure unit, processor, dryer, instrumenta- tion and proper inspection. Modern digital flexo platemaking has become a science and should not be practiced as the black art of years past. In other words, it can be as simple as: calibrate, measure and adhere to the tolerances. First, lets assume all our equipment is within spec and the job has been “RIPed” (if this technique is employed) properly with the correct bump curve. Following ablation, we inspect and measure the mask as outlined in Section 17.3.1. The main and back exposures, processing, drying and finishing then must be carried out according to FIRST standards and be held to the tolerances that are published in Section 17.3.2 . A final inspection confirms the fin- ished plate’s adherence to tolerances and the plate is off to mounting. SUMMARY The standards and tolerances detailed in FIRST 4.0 give us the guidance to produce a complex, printed flexo job that meets the demands of the brand owner. Just like any process, it is only as good as the people who are tasked with production and the strict adherence to the standards and process required. And communication is vital. With so many handoffs from brand owner to designer, production artist, account manager, assembly operator, proofer, platemaker, mounter and press opera- tor, it is imperative that all are on the same page and that each realizes that the ultimate success of a job involves ev- eryone and that every step has a ripple effect downstream. And finally, for these specifications and tolerances to be truly effective they must be employed by highly skilled personnel who not only righteously fol- low the procedures and processes, but also possess the judgment to deal with matters not covered herein. n About the Author: Marshall Hogen- son, corporate director of sales, OEC Graphics, Inc., has more than 30 years experience in prepress as an opera- tor, manager, owner and salesman. He previously spent over 11 years at Barco / Esko in a variety of roles. He is a regular speaker at FTA Forums and a contributor to a variety of industry pub- lications. OEC Graphics is an award winning premedia provider specializing in flexo prepress and platemaking. OEC celebrates its 100th anniversary this year with the opening of its fifth North American manufacturing facility. www.flexography.org july 2012 FLEXO 49 Improve your balance at any speed 3MTM Flexographic Plate Mounting Systems give you flexibility - a choice of adhesives, foams and thickness to better balance solids and dots to meet increasingly higher customer expectations. Air-release EASY Mount Adhesive provides faster set-up and smoother surfaces for improved productivity and print quality - at any speed. Best of all, 3MTM Flexographic Plate Mounting Systems are brought to you by Anderson & Vreeland, with 50 years of flexo experience. Tip the balance in your favor. theDiffe rence! Experience flexodaily.com fb.com/ andvre twitter.com/ andvre linkd.in/ AndVre youtube.com/ andersonvreeland gplus.to/ andvre 866.282.7697 fx: 800.223.6869 www.AndVre.com info@AndVre.com Download free Selection Guide at www.AndVre.com/3m_mounting.html See us at Labelexpo Stand 929