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FLEXO Magazine : July 2013
Producing the Plate 1. Lay down negative film onto flatbed and fix to surface with tape 2. Block off unneeded area with thick foam tape 3. Spread out backing sheet to determine plate area. Mark off area with a permanent marker 4. Attach RFID tags onto backing sheet with thin clear tape 5. Roll backing sheet back up and place into backing sheet holster 6. Turn on platemaker and let it pour in appropriate level of liquid photopolymer (Rock Tenn’s system is set to 0.250-in. caliper plates) 7. The platemaker will then roll out the backing sheet on top of the liquid plate floor 8. Turn on UV exposure unit and let plate harden 9. Remove plate and clean through standard procedures: wiping, washing, rinsing, post processing, heating, and drying Left to Right: Roll out backing sheet; mark off plate area; attach RFID tags; roll up backing sheet and place back in holster Left to Right: Film is taped to flatbed; foam strips are stuck to the flatbed to create barrier walls for liquid photopolymer; finished foam walls. PRODUCTION PROCESS Plate production starts by first rolling down a negative film onto a transparent glass flatbed. The film is a negative of the image, protecting the non-image area from its eventual expo- sure to UV lights located underneath the glass flatbed. After the film is fixed, an even layer of polymer is poured overtop. A transparent plastic backing sheet is rolled on top of the liquid polymer—this backing sheet will become part of the plate floor after UV exposure. Hardening of the liquid polymer occurs through exposure to UV lights located beneath the flat- bed (creating the plate face and relief), and above the flatbed (creating the plate floor). The plate is then processed through several stages of washing to remove and reclaim unexposed liquid polymer. RockTenn in Missisauga generously provided machinery and consumables for platemaking. Divisional Graphics 26 FLEXO July 2013 www.flexography.org