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FLEXO Magazine : October 2012
New covering methods which allow even higher quality sleeves, with no joins and no overlapping are in development. Another supply chain innovation has led directly to cost savings with elastomers: the ability to regrind and reimage sleeves. “E lastomer sleeves can be produced with wall thick- nesses from .125-in. to .500-in. with phenomenal print results on all,” claims Carey salesman and flexo technology expert, Ed Stolzman. Elastomer sleeves can be kiss ground to the next lower repeat and re-imaged once the sleeve is done be- ing used, creating as many as three-to-four uses of the same sleeve. When considering overall ROI, this will drastically reduce costs. BELOW SURFACE IMAGING Because of their increased ink transfer and contrast capabilities, the fastest running, highest ink density materials for press speeds of 1500 to 3000 fpm are direct engraved elas- tomer sleeves. To best leverage elastomer ITR technologies, Carey Color was chosen to partner with Kodak to be the first North American install for the Flexcel Direct System. Flexcel’s TIFF Front End takes below surface engraving to unprecedented levels. Shoulder angles, undercuts, variable relief depths, and other below surface imaging can all be controlled through the conversion of a traditional 2-D 1-bit TIFF to a 3D TIFF. The 3D system has been combined with the extremely precise laser diode array imager that is faster and more powerful than any of the high resolution modulated C02 or fiber lasers on the market. This gives the quality advan- tages of engraving digitally while approaching the speed of the LAMS process. www.flexography.org october 2012 FLEXO 55 ENCODED ELASTOMER SLEEVES Flat plates can’t talk, but elastomer sleeves can! Carey Color is spearheading a revolutionary innovation for sleeve manufacturers, which allows them to uniquely encode each sleeve and track that sleeve throughout its lifetiime. Carey ’s encoded elastomer sleeves can tell you where they ’ve been and what they ’ve done from manu- facture to regrind, to the last impression. Senior Developer Chad Gray remarks, “Print manag- ers can scan a sleeve in their warehouse with a mobile device and determine its size, when it was made, elas- tomer composition, how many times it’s been on press, etc. It’s now possible to track the entire lifecycle of an elastomer sleeve! “ By linking this information to our secure, yet globally accessible customer database, production managers can get a new job from sales, and instantly be able to see how many sleeves are in the pipeline that will fit that job or what could be reground for that job. ” Gray says proudly, “This idea was conceived and developed at Carey Color as a direct response to our customers’ needs. Printers need a way to manage their inventory and know where and what every sleeve in their enter- prise is at a moments’ notice. We are giving them that.”