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FLEXO Magazine : October 2013
understands inputs and outputs, the quicker he/she can recognize an issue and correct it. The best operators monitor equipment checkpoints and make adjustments immediately. coMMitMent There is skepticism that process control is really a worth- while resource investment. Many people talk about it, but few are truly committed to spend the time and money needed to implement it. In order for a process control system to be successful, company management first has to commit. This includes purchasing the correct equipment, testing it and training staff to use it properly. Sometimes throughput expectations need to be adjusted. In the beginning, operators may need additional time to ad- just to including the checkpoints in everyday production. But it’s important they do—If management doesn’t take process control seriously, employees may not either. eMPLoYee trAining Training is an important way to get employees to commit to process control. There are a variety of options available, some more rigorous than others. Large corporations might require their employees to undertake Six Sigma training, a program invented by electronics manufacturer Motorola in the 1980s to improve its own manufacturing output. Six Sigma levels are classified as belts: • Yellow (entry-level certification) • Green • Black • Master Black (highest level) Six Sigma is fairly expensive and takes dedication and time, but it is valuable because it teaches the basics of how to organize and analyze. For smaller companies, a less formal training program will likely suffice. Anderson & Vreeland offers training with its Technologies Team. The company uses a common sense ap- proach and tries to make learning easy, straightforward and actionable, with lots of hands-on work. PLAte rooM Process controL To apply process control basics into the plate room, the fol- lowing equipment should be considered: • A bench micrometer • Both 100x and 12x optical magnifiers • A transmission densitometer • A finished plate measurement tool • A UV light meter Bench micrometers are used to measure plate gauge and surface relief. Appropri- ate models should have a minimum 12-in. -deep throat to accommodate plates of various sizes and a blunt—not pointed—tip to prevent false readings due to softer plate materials. Measure a minimum of five to seven areas to check for consistency. Consider that some devices have outputs for SPC software to help in data collection and retention. Optical magnifiers are used to check for quality of the dot tip. Use a 100x magnifier to inspect the tip for dot chipping or erosion. Also inspect the shoulder angle of the highlight dots. A 12x loop aids in inspection of a focus test on imaging devices. Since this is a subjective inspection device, consider using a chart with pictures serving as examples of good and bad images. Operators can classify their observations more consistently with other operators. Transmission densitometers measure the amount of light passing through a plate mask or an imaging negative. They are necessary in both digital and analog platerooms. A criti- cal test in digital imaging is the “stain” test. This test ensures that the laser power and rota- tional speed of the imaging de- vice are both optimized to produce the best possible quality. In an analog workflow, transmission densitometers are used to measure the Dmax, the light blocking capability of a negative. Densitometers also ensure that imagesetters are correctly producing the proper sized halftone dots. Charting 52 FLeXo OCTOBER 2013 www.flexography.org One of these people is a plate mounting tape expert. tesatape.com/industry/paperprint 888.659.9608 tesa Softprint® Secure II Secure plate edges across long runs with minimal edge lift, no adhesion problems, and strong holding power. Available Now tesa Softprint® 52018 Plus For higher adhesion on narrow cylinders, prevents edge lift and provides the right amount of padding to help mitigate dot gain and ensure fidelity. Available Now New Products in 2013 The other one is the reason why. At tesa, our inspiration comes from the people who rely on us. Which is why we never stop looking for new ways to help narrow web printers achieve greater operational efficiency and higher quality output. Introducing the all new tesa Softprint® 52018 Plus plate mounting tape. Its reliable holding power – coupled with a durable memory foam – makes your first impression as good as the last. So request your free sample today and give us a spin: firstname.lastname@example.org or 888.659.9608 1202_TESA_PRINT_LabelandNarrowWeb_FullPage_August2013.indd 1 8/19/13 1:05 PM An AV bench micrometer A BetaFlex IAS A QEA IAS