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FLEXO Magazine : June 2013
Technologies & Techniques Integrity & Uniformity Drive Anilox Roll Manufacturing & optimization By Jean M. Jackson Fine line counts, lower volumes, open structures—anilox roll manufacturers are answering the call to support enhanced print details, many made possible through the multiplicity of screening techniques now being deployed for flexo printing and utilized side-by-side with new inks and coating to generate special effects. Volume of the anilox roll controls the ink film thickness and thus density and dot gain. It is the most critical element in defining the engraving specifications, as it controls the wet ink film thickness to the plate. In North America, cell volume is measured in billion cubic microns (BCM)/) in2. One BCM equals one microliter. The conversion is BCM/in2 x 1.55 = ccm/m2—the measurement used in Europe and Asia. It is critical to use the units when talking with your anilox, ink and press suppliers as more products are being supplied globally. Line count controls the resolution or smoothness of the ink laydown and is measured in lines or cells per inch. The higher the line count, the smaller the cells and higher number of cells per square inch. Generally, using the highest line count ENGRAVING ESSENTIALS • Volume of the anilox roll controls the ink film thickness and thus density and dot gain. It is the most critical element in defining the engraving specifications • Line count controls the resolution or smoothness of the ink laydown • Using the highest line count anilox roll feasible for a job, will help to ensure that the print produced stays clean through a run and that the anilox roll is easily cleaned--either on press or in a cleaning system • For process printing, anilox line count should be at least three to four times the plate line count • Anilox rolls that start with a hard, dense ceramic coating as the foundation have a longer roll life as the coating delivers good wear resistance and consistency of the engraving www.flexography.org June 2013 FLeXO 49