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FLEXO Magazine : July 2008
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES D:: III :z: a. cC D:: ø o >< III .... ... D:: III Z Z - ø III III Poor handling practices limit available inventory and disrupt preparation. Art courtesy Harper Corporation of America. Anilox Preparation Saves Time & Money By Sean Teufler T he most common questions in the field of flexography are what to do to improve press setups and how to make them faster and more efficient. In many shops, the em- phasis is still solely on production and not preparation. Having the right components, in a ready state, often makes the differ- ence on how well a pressrun initiates, proceeds and concludes. Primary to the task of preparation is the amount of effort put into making sure that anilox roll inventories are "ready for duty" to achieve consistency and repeatability in the printed image. On the contrary, a complete focus on production results actu- ally strays from the goal of desired quick turns and customer satisfaction. If your pressroom has a need for faster and more ef- ficient setups, now is the time to re-examine the basic elements of aniloxs and their preparation to make sure you are getting the most out of them. Let's take a look at the components of an anilox management program by starting with anilox fundamen- tals and cleaning, proper documentation and finally how to best verify your anilox inventory. ANI LOX BASICS There are some principles that every print manager, operator and press assistant should know in regard to the inking system of their flexographic presses. First and foremost, the anilox roll is the heart of the flexo printing process. Simply put, this means that the anilox is the one part of the printing deck that can have the greatest variety in performance, based on condition and selection. - Secondly, anyone who wants to be successful in flexographic printing, must also know how the anilox functions. The two main components of an anilox are the cell count and volume. Cell count is the number of engraved cells per linear inch Qine- screen). Its main function provides an opening for the ink to release and support for the minimum printable dot on the plate. This second principle means the smallest dot (highlight) you print should be at least as big as the cell opening to marginalize two occurrences: under-inking from landing between cells and over-inking by landing in the middle of a cell. Volume, as the other main component, is the most impor- tant element of the anilox. This is because volume can vary depending on cell cleanliness and wear. Volume is defined as the amount of ink measured in the unit called bcm (billion cubic microns/square inch) and controls the amount of achievable ink film thickness. Think about your processes that allow volume variance from day to day. These processes include anilox clean- ing and condition, ink maintenance during the run and pump systems. These all can provide unwanted variety to the color strength and print quality if not done properly or maintained. N ow that the sensitivity and proper use of the line screen and volume are apparent, the spotlight can be put on ensuring the aniloxs are prepared. Ink systems depend almost entirely on anilox volume for color matching at a printable viscosity. How do we define proper color matching? Success in color matching is defined as minimal ink matching time and is a direct reflection of anilox condition. Let's J U L Y 2008 www.f I exog ra p hy.o rg FLEXO
Flexo Sustainable Fall 2008