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FLEXO Magazine : June 2014
ifications to have. The one OEM specification that should never be changed is the metering side (enclosed chamber) blade width, which is factory set for the chamber size and anilox roll diameter. Also needed are: • Plate linescreen • Anilox linescreen and volume for process and line colors • Ink type (solvent, water, UV) • Substrate type • Approximate press speeds • A decision between traditional printing or expanded gamut This is the key information needed for the records collected and documented during the optimization process to help make a decision on the proper blades for the press. With this data the supplier shall suggest a starting point for extended testing with the proper doctor blade recommendations. Along with that, a supplier should inform a printer of the style and tip configuration of the doctor blade—the most common blade styles would be radius, lamella or beveled— along with the thickness of the base material and if it is coated or uncoated. Metallurgical information as to the chemical composition and mechanical properties of the steel to be used for testing should also be provided. TESTING PROCESS Once a blade or combination of blades is recommended and a time frame is agreed upon for testing (something in the 3-4 week range), the process should start with the supplier being on site. The setup and startup of initial trials is a very critical first step, therefore the oversee- ing and installation of the doctor blades should fall on the shoulders of the supplier. When all approvals have been made for acceptance of quality of product, with the initial setup of blades running, the data collecting should begin. There should be a form for tracking perfor- mance, like that seen in Figure 1. It should include printer specifics (location, date); specifications of the doctor blades being tested and press information (operators, job name, press number). But the most important information to gather is: • The anilox roll linescreen and volume of each unit • Ink type and viscosity • Unit number • Ink color • Blade pressure start and end • Blade angle (if known) • Date installed and removed • Total feet ran And leave space for operators’ overall performance comments. These are just the basics and a lot more detailed information can be collected if desired. Work with the supplier to create a form unique to the print- er, if they don’t have one readily available for use. The form should be reviewed and explained to all shifts and managers for proper data collection. With every blade change over the next five to seven days, the used doctor blades should be collected and labeled, and the forms should be updated with the proper information. The forms and doctor blades should then be returned to the doctor blade supplier for a used blade analysis and metallurgical report. Optimization DB Tracking DOCTOR BLADE USAGE FORM DATE: ______________________________________________________________________ SHIFT: _____________________________________________________________________ PRESS OPERATOR: __________________________________________________________ BLADE TYPE: _______________________________________________________________ PRESS NUMBER: ____________________________________________________________ JOB NAME: _________________________________________________________________ ANILOX L/SCREEN: _________________________________________________________ ANILOX VOLUME: __________________________________________________________ UNIT/COLOR: ______________________________________________________________ DATE INSTALLED:___________________________________________________________ DATE REMOVED: ___________________________________________________________ COUNTER START: ___________________________________________________________ COUNTER END:_____________________________________________________________ TOTAL F/M: ________________________________________________________________ REASON FOR CHANGE:______________________________________________________ A-Leaking B-Worn out C-End of Job D-Other/explain OPERATOR COMMENTS: Image 4 Figure 1 54 FLEXO | JUNE 2014