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FLEXO Magazine : August 2012
The main, even if not only, areas that needed to be ad- dressed are: accurate temperature control in real time, optimization of chamber doctor blade, optimization of inking circuit, ink stirring without foaming, transfer of the ink from anilox, to plate, to substrate; and handling the ink without damaging it, either in the long run nor in the quick speed changes. To understand the basics, to tell apart the solutions that work from those that don’t, to invent brand new solutions us- ing lateral thinking, to industrialize and validate the chosen solutions...you have to go through this circle in order to iden- tify “smart” solutions that are just what is needed. Among the various solutions developed and introduced on the new Onyx EB press, the most significant is “ThermiloxTM”, a process for ink temperature control which is the subject of a patent filed by Uteco. The technology simply preconditions the ink to bring it to correct operating temperature and main- tain the optimum printing heat with accuracy and reactivity. In addition, the temperature set point can be independently controlled for each color group. “ Ergonomy ” is not a simple goal when you have to design a press for the Flexo EB process. The concept is simple, but there are many subtleties that can lead one toward press complexity. Press manufacturers have approached the key topics of ink control and delivery (thermoregulation, viscosity control, circulation, metering) by redesigning from the ground up, in order to have good handling yet keep simplicity and user-friendliness. Flexo paved the way to print on soft/elastic substrates by means of the CI drum configuration. It then stepped ahead with quick job changes through printing and anilox sleeves. Blending these pluses with EB curing is now leading to the next breakthrough in flexible packaging. n About the Author: Enrico Rimini is project manager for Uteco Converting S.p.A, headquartered in Verona, Italy. The firm, a leading manufacturer and supplier of equipment in the field of flexible packaging was established in 1985. Innovation has always been a key-point at Uteco, not only in the design and creation of leading edge equipment, but also with the ability to tailor machines to the specific needs of converters in any corner of the world. Its Onyx press line is now configured to facilitate electron beam curing that speeeds packages to market and enhances barrier resistance properties while eliminating food migration concerns. Comparative characteristics of EB flexo, gravure and offset. Results were compiled from benchmarking trials. 56 FLEXO august 2012 www.flexography.org Flexo EB Rotogravure Roto-‐offset Dot gain ++ + + Text reproduc;on ++ -‐ + Print contrast ++ -‐ ++ Print trapping + -‐ -‐ Register accuracy ++ -‐ -‐ Minimum dot reproduc;on -‐ ++ + Solid coverage -‐ + -‐ High line count + ++ ++ Print run repeatability + ++ + Print run consistency + ++ + Capability for elas;c substrates ++ -‐ -‐-‐ Mechanical & chemical resistance ++ -‐ + Food packaging conformity ++ + -‐