Today’s modern flexographic printing processes require meticulous attention to a wide range of variables. There are some simple steps you can take to improve the efficiency and accuracy of your flexographic printing. Continue reading to learn more!
At The Englewood Company, we help businesses throughout America improve their production processes by helping them analyze their usage of tape and recommending the most appropriate pressure sensitive tape for each part in their production applications. One of the industries we have extensive experience in is flexographic printing, which involves substrates such as corrugated cardboard, plastic, metallic film, and label stock.
In today’s blog, we’d like to share with you a few simple tips and things to consider about your flexographic printing that will make it more efficient and reduce waste.
For guidance on your business’s specific situation, connect with one of our industrial tape experts today to start the conversation! Until then, let’s dive into a few best practices for high-quality, cost-effective flexographic printing.
Simple Is Better
When it comes to selecting plate mounting or sticky back tapes, it’s normally best to stick to the simplest solution. There are many options when it comes to selecting plate mounting or sticky back tapes. Today’s flexographic printing technology is rapidly advancing, and with that comes a wide array of variables to account for on a press machine. Plate mounting tapes do not have to be one of them. Instead of spending hours evaluating the specifications of various brands of tape, we suggest that you simplify the process by focusing on the proper foam density of the mounting tape with the goal of establishing a consistent, dependable foundation for your printing plate.
For instance, we often recommend Scapa products that perform well over a broader range of printing variables than other brands. This means fewer tape variables to meet all your printing requirements.
Exafit HP® is the reliable option, offering excellent printing definition and dependable resilience to absorb machine vibration and tolerance. It’s PP embossed surface of the liner also helps reduce air bubbles and aids in the removal and repositioning of mounting plates. It’s offered in 3 densities (soft, medium and hard) of foam for 15 mil plate mounting tape, 5 densities for 20 mil tape and 2 levels of adhesive to best suit your specific print process needs.
Keep Surfaces Clean
Another issue that is often overlooked in the flexographic printing process is the proper routine cleaning of printing plates and cylinders. We’ve found that despite new advances in print plate making technology the cleaning of Anilox rollers, sleeves, and plates remains an issue. Many of our clients overlook this basic housekeeping task — and it can have a significant effect on the quality of your prints and the efficiency of your operation.
Fingerprints are a sign that your company has room to grow in terms of improving your flexographic printing process. We’re not talking about fingerprinting in the proofing process. We’re referring to actual fingerprints on the edges of plates and cylinders that can affect print quality, and the ability of your tape to hold a precise seal without air bubbles or other issues. Proper cleaning is essential to keeping your flexographic printing operation running smoothly, and yet when we look at photos of plate mounting tape tests, it becomes clear that this basic task is unfortunately not always taken seriously.
When cleaning your plates and cylinders, we recommend using IPA as your solvent. You can use ethanol but, only on the front of the plates. When ethanol is used to clean the backs of a plate, it can increase its adhesive properties and make removing and repositioning the plate more difficult.
We hope this brief discussion can help you improve the flexographic printing process. If you have specific questions or would like more suggestions for increasing the efficiency of your operation, reach out to the industrial tape experts at Englewood Company today!