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FLEXO Magazine : October 2012
Technologies & Techniques Liquid vs. Sheet Photopolymer Plates & Their Applications By Randy Reynolds and Jessica Harkins With advancements in photopolymer technology and the many additional options by which to process these plates, flexographer’s choices are more varied than ever before. This article makes some compari- sons between the two most basic choices of plate material when water/solvent based inks are used. Since a user would likely choose between liquid or sheet photopolymer, in either a corrugated or multi-wall bag application, we will focus our comparison on this market. Let’s begin with liquid photopolymer. In many cases, when printing on corrugated board, low-density poly, and woven poly materials with water-based ink, liquid photopolymer is the plate of choice. This is especially true when line/screens do not exceed 85 lpi. This is also the case in corrugated applica- tions, when the printing cylinder undercut requirement dictates a .155-in. or .250-in. thick plate. In most instances, there does not seem to be an appreciable difference in the print result of COMPARATIVELY SPEAKING Liquid Equipment: Sheet Equipment Exposure Bed/Positive Displacement Extrusion Exposure Frame Rotary Washout – Spray/Rinse Processor Wet Post Exposure Dryer Dryer/Finisher Post Exposure/Finisher Reclaim/Distillation Unit Liquid Consumables Sheet Consumables Polyester Backing Sheet Solvent Protective Cover Film Post Exposure Salt Detergent/Defoamer/Developer A&V liquid Photopolymer in-line system. 46 FLeXO ocToBeR 2012 www.flexography.org 3rd Annual Plate/ Platemaking/Sleeve Selection Guide