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FLEXO Magazine : September 2013
Plants & Processes Optimizing Processes for Narrow Web Printers Maximize Quality & efficiency by selecting the Proper Platemounting tape By Joe Prunier Changes in flexographic printing are transpiring more quickly than ever. Press speeds are getting faster and faster, and new plate and sleeve technologies facili- tate vastly improved print quality. Additionally, the market is increasingly demanding shorter printruns to reduce working capital and allow for more rapid changes in label and pack- aging graphics, as well as short-term promotions. Nowhere in the industry are rapid technological advance- ments taking place faster than narrow web tag and label printing. While some printers are able to make capital invest- ments in new press and materials technologies, many are trying to improve quality and maximize efficiency of existing equipment to remain competitive. One simple way to maximize quality and efficiency is to evaluate the platemounting tapes used in the printing process and to ensure that the right tapes are being used for the ap- plication. Being aware of the capabilities of platemounting tapes, as well as working closely with your suppliers, can help to ensure that proper tapes are being used to maximize both processes and quality. Two key criteria are essential for evalu- ating platemounting tapes: adhesive systems and foams. Let’s take a closer look. MAXIMIZE EFFICIENCY Without a doubt, one of the most important components of platemounting tapes for narrow web printing is the adhesive that bonds the tape to the cylinder and the printing plate to the tape. The efficiency and process repeatability of mounting and demounting flexographic printing plates can make the difference between being profitable by prolonging the useful life of plates, or ruining plates and having to buy new ones. Adhesive can be the distinguishing factor between having to clean residue off every cylinder when the job is stripped, TALE OF THE TAPE • A simple way to maximize quality and efficiency is to evaluate platemounting tapes used in the printing process and to ensure that the right tapes are being used for the application • Being aware of the capabilities of platemounting tapes, as well as working closely with your suppliers, can help to ensure that proper tapes are being used to maximize both processes and quality • Two key criteria are essential for evaluating platemounting tapes: adhesive systems and foams • Adhesive requirements are simple: bond to the sleeves/cylinders and plates as securely as possible during printing to completely eliminate any possibility of plate edge lifting or bubbling; and when the job is done, remove as easily as a siliconized liner • High quality print is directly associated with the quality of the foam core used in platemounting tapes. It serves as a plate cushioning and support medium • For printing fine screens with high linescreen plates, softer tapes provide the best cushioning effect to act as a “shock absorber” 62 FLEXO sePteMBer 2013 www.flexography.org FLEXO WITHOUT COMPROMISES Natural image reproduction Strong colors in contrast with light tones Vibrant colors Smooth transitions to zero Solid colors, strong homogenity The unique Full HD Flexo solution allows you to achieve fine highlight printing, smooth transitions to zero and an outstanding gravure-like solid ink lay down. Learn more about Esko’s innovative flexo solutions on esko.com/flexo. firstname.lastname@example.org