Having over 40 years’ experience in the production of laser-engraved Anilox rolls, Pamarco is world renowned for anilox cell technologies for flexo printing. Having continually invested in the latest technology YAG lasers, means Pamarco can create all varieties of cell profiles.
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From standard 60 degree ‘ThermaFlo’ cells, through to innovative 75 degree extended ‘EFlo’ and unique “EFlo UV’ – each cell profile has the ability to deliver outstanding ink transfer. However in today’s fast-moving technological age, having the capability to produce unique looking cells is not enough. Global converters expect high quality print and there is greater emphasis on consistent print performance on a variety of substrates, at all press speeds. Pamarco therefore states loudly the importance of having the experience and technical capability to successfully apply these different cell technologies into the major flexo market applications, as even more important than producing the next unique cell shape. The depth of application know-how throughout the sales group enhances our customer’s performance and differentiates Pamarco within the marketplace.
offset printing market

Targets for all flexo printers is to ensure that the anilox give correct print density from print number 1 and stays consistent and clean throughout the whole print run. This relies on receiving good advice about which anilox specification is correct for their application and then receiving an anilox which conforms to target and has a cell profile with excellent ink transfer. Pamarco has conducted extensive banded roll trials and this combined with considerable field knowledge of the application of EFlo has enabled this unique cell technology, to be applied successfully into various printing markets such as corrugated paper, flexible packaging and UV flexo.

For example, in the corrugated paper board markets, this application work has led to the standardisation of anilox cell specifications for different types of paper boards. Irrespective of the graphic demands of the print, in corrugated printing, the absorbency and surface deviations of the substrate, dictate the amount of ink required. In conjunction with their major clients, Pamarco has established EFlo and ThermaFlo anilox specifications for the 4 major categories of paper. This unique approach of establishing a target cell volume for each paper, for example 11cm3/m2 for Kraft paper and 4.5 cm3/m2 for Coated papers, means that printers can still be flexible to select conventional 60deg cells or extended 75deg cells with a range of screen specifications, but still be sure they can achieve excellent board coverage and ensure inks are dry on substrates.

Pamarco treat the application of anilox for flexible packaging markets differently, understanding that with the use of non-absorbent film substrates, anilox cell volume frequently takes a secondary position to the primary goal of accurate control and placement of dots. The high ink transfer from EFlo cells can be particularly useful when trying to print difficult, highly pigment whites or combinations of full and half tone images. However maintaining optimum control of inks by the use of multi-hit high volume fine screen ThermaFlo (60deg) cells has been proven to keep dot gains to a minimum. At the same time, Pamarco has resisted the trend to move towards ultra-fine (in excess of 1200 l/in) screens for HD process printing, recognising that good selection of anilox screen count and cell volume, combined with machine polishing of the cells, provides the best possible solution for precise, long-lasting high graphic flexible packaging printing.

Finally for UV Flexo, the high viscosity inks, which have a tendency for spitting, require the anilox to allow a flow of ink between cells, effectively passing under the doctor blade. Pamarco’s unique UV Flo and EFlo UV, can both give precise and controlled transfer of inks on to high graphic printing plates, whilst maintaining a smooth flow of ink past the doctor blade, eliminating any risk of ink spitting at high press speeds.

Pamarco states that understanding of print performance and application of the different Anilox cell technologies is the most important step they provide for Flexo printers

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By David Parr
David Parr - Technical Sales manager in Pamarco's European facility