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FLEXO Magazine : July 2008
PLANTS & PROCESSES TECHNICAL TRIAL The patented linear motor system that replaces conventional ball screws in presses has allowed for the development of two new tools for the operators. One controls print quality; the other, dot gain. They come together in one Print by Pressure System. It was subjected to its first live press trial at Eastern Packaging, Lawrence, MA, on June 10,2008. Putting the claim that "linear motors afford operators the ability to precisely control impression movement by as much as 200 times greater than ball screw technology," to the test, a team of press operators: 1. Downloaded the print job from receipt. 2. Made customary adjustments. 3. Ran the job as normally done. 4. Shutdown the machine and installed the new pressure control system. 5. Reloaded the job. 6. The system was used to print the same job with no op- erator intervention. Conclusion: The test proved that from recipe, the linear mo- tors and the pressure control system were able to completely reproduce the job run from the very first impressions, since the pressure control system is used to automatically control pres- sure, at full production speed, without operator involvement. Next up is a trial of the dot-gain control portion of the Print by Pressure System. It will entail: . Installation of a proprietary camera system on the press. It will work in conjunction with the pressure control system. . The camera will view the dot in setup and also full production. . It will automatically make adjustments to the dot gain, ac- cording to the pre-selected parameters of the job. The test, again scheduled to be run on the very same Eastern Packaging press, is being conducted to determine if utilization of the Print by Pressure System allows faster setup, delivers more consistent print quality, and greatly reduces operator involvement. Close-up of linear motors, used to control impres- sion, and their electronic circuitry. What some people describe as "innova- tion," others initially described as "a crazy idea." Take for example the CT press, po- sitioned at Eastern with the promise that it is non-operator dependent. One impor- tant feature stressed by the manufacturer is the pre-registration system included on each print deck. A camera-based automatic control system is also described as a plus, as it detects minute variations in plate po- sitioning and impression settings. Curtis explains, "Once you put a plate in, the motorized pre-registration system comes right down and you adjust the kiss immediately. It's all about making it easier. That way, you don't have to be inside the press to make sure you get your contact with the CI drum, the anilox, and ultimate- ly with the material." Going a bit further, he says, "Sleeves come with absolute measurements. I can adjust impression to that particular sleeve. - J U L Y 2008 FLEXO Up and running-a bakery print job passes through the press. All I have to do is dial in the repeat to get into the zone, step it in to get within mi- crons, then kick it into high gear. The cam- era system immediately begins checking every repeat-up and down. Simply down- loading a recipe stored in the press, brings me right into the kiss that I ran at one or two months ago. I'm off to the races!" Drying can be controlled to +/- 1 degree F, thanks to a specially designed, highly advanced, between color and overhead drying system. It affords additional drying time between stations and that lets opera- tors run the press at 600fpm to 800fpm on jobs that traditionally print at 300fpm to 400fpm, says Curtis. New lightweight carbon fiber doctor blade chambers keep things wet and ink moist. They combine with an inking / wash-up system, which, according to Curtis, is unique. The pur- pose: "Help the environment by reducing solvent use. Go green!" . The Master Controls of Eastern Packaging's Converting Technology press. www.flexography.org
Flexo Sustainable Fall 2008