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FLEXO Magazine : October 2012
Technologies & Techniques Improving Solid Ink Coverage on Polymeric Films Printers embrace Plate Technologies to Deliver Crisp Color By Timothy gotsick and Brian Cook Color is one of the most compelling aspects of all visual media, and its importance in the world of packaging is paramount. As a result, the pursuit of a wider range of colors, and of ever more vibrant color representation, has been a continual goal for printing technology. Ink technology has played the major role in color reproduction for package printing, but ink is only as good as its application, so flexo plate technologies have also evolved to better apply ink to packaging substrates. The following article is a brief review of several plate-based technologies that can help printers increase the quality and range of colors applied to packaging substrates. The amount of ink applied to a flexo plate on press is deter- mined by the volume of the anilox roll, so changes in anilox vol- ume will have a profound influence on color density. However, for a variety of economic and operational reasons, it is prefer- able to use the minimum amount of ink required to achieve the needed print quality. Doing so obviously reduces ink costs, but perhaps even more importantly, it allows crisp reproduction of halftones and more consistent (i.e. “cleaner”) printruns. The amount of ink applied to the plate is only half the story though, as the way that the ink is distributed on the surface of the substrate plays a major role in its appearance as well. It is during the ink transfer step that the plate can play a major role in improving both the solid ink density (SID, the intensity of the color) and the uniformity (most commonly measured as mottle) of the ink on the package. CAPPED PLATES For many years, “capped” plates were the only plate op- tion available that had a meaningful impact on SID. Capped COMPARING OPTIONS & REQUIREMENTS Method Benefits Notes Capped Digital Plates Simplest option Very good SID Very low mottle More expensive plate LUX Membrane 200 Very good SID Reduced mottle LUX flat top dot properties LUX lamination required MicroCell with LUX Highest SID possible Lowest mottle possible LUX flat top dot properties Requires new imaging hardware and software LUX lamination required Substrate and pattern specificity are sometimes seen Figures 1 & 2: siD & Mottle Comparisons: Capped/uncapped Plates. 74 FLeXO oCToBer 2012 www.flexography.org QUICKCHANGEINFLEXOPRINTING UTECO CONVERTING SPA • I 37030 COLOGNOLA AI COLLI (VR) • PH.: +39 045 6174555 • FAX: +39 045 6150855 © GENETIC INNOVATION And a new innovation is coming... Leading edge innovation in flexographic printing • Print configurations: 6 - 8 - 10 color • Max. print speed: 1300 fpm (opt. 1460 fpm) • Printing widths: 48” to 60” • Print repeat range: 13” to 32” • Fully equipped state of the art machine • Reduced make ready and maintenance times • Quick and simple sleeve changeover UTECO NORTH AMERICA 3400 TOWN POINT DRIVE • SUITE 160 KENNESAW, GA 30144 • PH. (770) 427-4100 • FAX (770) 427-4872 email@example.com • www.uteco.com HIGH PROFITABILITY FLEXO A03/11HP-RANGE firstname.lastname@example.org • www.uteco.com QUICKCHANGEINFLEXOPRINTING And a new innovation is coming... • Quick and simple sleeve changeover KENNESAW, GA 30144 • PH. (770) 427-4100 • FAX (770) 427-4872 www.uteco.com • P2P®: dynamic adjustment system controls printing pressures • PCT®: Press Control during Transition • PTC®: Predictable Torque Control • SprintWash®: new automatic washup system • FlexoSmartPackQC®: Uteco engineering platform for improved performance and profitability in quick change flexographic printing • ShopWare® Production Management, Control & Monitoring: easy machine-operator interface to manage high-productivity • LogiPack®: automatic handling of reels and cores 3rd Annual Plate/ Platemaking/Sleeve Selection Guide