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FLEXO Magazine : July 2013
been difficult to harness for flexo because of particle size and clumping/ agglomeration of the pigments. Those issues have been resolved with the application of chan- nel engravings. For solids, the anilox engraving requirements will be moderately heavy – between 5 bcm to 16 bcm, depending on testing results for strength. Channel engravings, such as the weave and the 30° channel with low engraving specification, are ideal for the heavy solids. If there is a need for combinations of solids and screens, then the 30° channel and XLT-60° works well. It is always a good idea to communicate with your ink supplier to review recommendations for specific ink systems. Each ink vendor has different formulation for different inks. COLD FOIL & SCENTED Cold Foil is another way of creating exciting graphics. Selecting the proper anilox engraving to laydown the right level of adhesive for cold foil allows the application to be run in a very productive setup. The result is a cost effective, dynamic graphic. Scented inks are another option for differentiating your graphics. We are all familiar with scratch-and-sniff products, but in today ’s world they can be done more and more with the flexographic process. Choosing the anilox engravings with shallow depths and large openings will enable the scented pigments to easily flow in and out of the engravings, resulting in the desired transfer without breaking many of the encapsulations. Sustaining the encapsulation is the key to success and can be done to great effect with today ’s variety of channel engravings. THERMO-CHROMATIC & TACTILE INKS Color changing inks, or thermo-chromatic inks, have long been used in the beer industry, as a positive indicator for a cold beverage. This effect can also be used in other industries to create interesting effects. Applying spot thermo-chromatic inks can be used to enhance specific areas to reveal specific information or graphic elements. Tactile inks provide a raised effect that is interesting to the touch. Once only found in screen printing, developments in the varnish and engravings have made it possible to achieve desirable effects in flexography. Channeled anilox rolls with heavy volumes work well to cre- ate raised areas for enhancement of the end product. Along with the heavy volume anilox rolls, part of the challenge will be curing the tactile inks. Having at the minimum, 400 watt UV lamps will be required. Additionally, it might also be necessary to adjust the web path to give the tactile coating additional time to fully cure and set-up. The addition of a mobile curing unit will help cap- ture the raised effect on the web as quickly as possible and enhance the results. The tactile effect can be used in a variety of ways – as water droplets, stitching on a baseball, or raised effect on a logo. GLITTER INKS Large channel engravings work well for these extra-large pigmented inks. Channel anilox rolls with heavy volumes and large openings enable the pigments to tumble and flow into and out of the engraving and onto the substrates. One of the challenges with the large pigments is the need to keep the pigments in suspension in order to properly transfer from the anilox roll to the plate and substrate and that can be achieved with a varnish designed for the purpose. Along with opportunities for use of these different anilox engravings with these different graphic enhancing inks, comes the need to clean the rolls as soon as each pressrun is finished to prevent lock-up of the carrying vehicle in the cells. Be sure your current cleaning methods also apply to these specialty applications. As chemistries may not respond, con- tact the ink supplier for proper cleanup instructions for those formulations. Today ’s anilox technologies can truly help to enhance the various graphics, thus differentiating your product against the competition. To take advantage of the opportunity of these dif- ferent ways to create dynamic graphic effects, it is necessary to do your homework. Coordinate with your anilox supplier and ink suppliers. Schedule banded roll print trials to determine what combina- tion of ink and anilox works effectively. Put together banded roll layouts that include a variety of different engravings targeted to address your goal. A banded roll trial will also enable you to test other vari- ables, such as drying or curing requirements, and press setup. During testing, you should also determine optimum press speed. We have found that testing the new plating technologies, along with different stickyback and polymer can truly make a difference. Using the right anilox technology and coordinating with your ink and anilox suppliers, it is truly possible to create and print dynamic products. n About the Author: Alexander James is the director of Harper GraphicSolutions, the technical division of Harper Corpora- tion of America, Charlotte, NC. Alex has a Master of Science degree in graphic communications from Clemson University and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina, Asheville. With more than 20 years of experience in the graphics industry, Alex has presented at numerous industry related events. Alex has traveled globally, nurturing and developing business relationships by assisting customers in establishing print workflows, improving efficiencies and productivity. Large channel engravings work well for these extra-large pigmented inks. 58 FLEXO JuLy 2013 www.flexography.org C M Y CM MY CY CMY K Roland_LEC_Order_Flexo.pdf 1 7/3/13 12:02 AM