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FLEXO Magazine : June 2014
Elevating Flexo DFTA’s Patent Pending Process, Planoflex, Hopes to Make Life Easier for Printers Dr. Martin Dreher B eing able to connect observations and analysis to new solutions is perhaps the highest level of mastery of a technical subject. At the DFTA Technology Center at the Hochschule der Medien (HdM) Stuttgart, we consider this to be our foremost task. In doing so we were able to file a patent on a derivative of flexogra- phy which, if successful, has the potential to lift the entire flexo printing process to a higher level with respect to costs, productivity and quality. Being a letterpress derivative, flexography is a printing process where only the printing elements get in contact with the substrate and the inking (anilox) roller. Depending on the design to be printed and the required impression engagement, at times this may produce a very non harmonic unrolling of the printing plate—not unlike driving a car with damaged tires. This non harmonic unrolling may introduce vibrations into the printing press which, worst case scenario, show up as horizontal streaks in the printed design. Experienced pressmen may claim to know what corrective action to take. Adequate countermeasures are the modification of the print form (material and/or substructure) or the variation of press speed until an operating window is found where no more resonance is be- ing produced and the printed design remains free of streaks. Award entries like those received for the DFTA Award prove consistently that this countermeasure does work to produce very high levels of quality. Nevertheless, it is our goal to lift flexography into a higher level on a broader basis than what may be performed by only the top print shops. Another less useful countermeasure, which nonetheless is often used because of a common misunderstanding, is the increase of impression engagement from the anilox roller to the respective printing plate. “You need to support the printing plate with the anilox roller” goes the common (incorrect) belief. This, however, wears off the print- ing plate prematurely and, moreover, squeezes the ink very deep in between the printing elements. If the impression engagement from the printing plate toward the substrate is then held more moderate, 84 FLEXO | JUNE 2014 TECHNOLOGY & TECHNIQUES “You need to support the printing plate with the anilox roller” goes the common (incorrect) belief. ” Anilox Roll, Doctor Blade, Ink Selection Guide