How to find your print consistency
When it comes to finding that sweet spot in print, nothing matters more than predictable ink release. It is the number one thing that will make or break your print consistency. Once ink release stability is obtained, an anilox moving uniform ink film to the printing plate will be able to keep a proper transfer level over time and be easier to keep clean. Sound too simple to be true? Well, it is a little more complicated than that, but not by much. The key is to first determine the correct specification of the anilox to match your print requirements.
In order to find your perfect anilox engraving designation, it is necessary to understand the absorption level of the substrate and the graphics to be produced. Pamarco has published an engraving specification guide “Engraving Recommendations” that begins by identifying the BCM needed to produce various graphic elements on many different substrates. Following this guide will get you well on your way to print consistency, so it seems helpful to divulge a few details about the guide itself.
Utilizing Delta E color measurement (solid ink density) and print performance that have been gathered from a variety of clients over the years, the Pamarco engraving guide was assembled as a reference or starting point to establish personalized press specifications. While the guide will point you in the right direction, the ultimate path to print consistency is a banded roll test that will fully analyze your specific requirements and really hone in on your process. Without this foundational information, you’ll be trying to a solve a puzzle without all of the pieces or the knowledge of where you’re starting from.
To ensure consistency once your specifications have been established, Pamarco has invested heavily in the last few years in the latest laser technology to give you the best engravings possible. The most advanced fiber optic laser machinery available is operating in our Batavia and La Palma facilities. Each of these is backed by a high-performance precision coating process that is a key building block of top-notch ceramic anilox. This growth, coupled with the latest and greatest in software and electronics, means that our capabilities have improved across our entire product line.
When it comes to the details of anilox rolls, one of the most important topics we cover in our educational program (available to you!) is preventative maintenance and general care recommendations. Without a preventative program in place, it is nearly impossible to document, monitor, and control your anilox inventory in a way that makes your company capable of consistently delivering high quality print. Upkeep and attention to anilox roll handling increase the value of your anilox roll and maximize your investment, so it’s always a worthwhile venture.
This combination of developments allows for a full range of screen counts: 35 to 1800 LPI. More importantly, cell structures, cell shape, cell bottoms, and cell walls have advanced to the point that they drastically improve both our consistency and yours.
The result of that reliability is less stops during production. If you’re anything like me, that sounds too good to be true. But it really isn’t. The reason can be seen in the smoothness of the engraving (improved ink release), flat cell bottoms (reduced tendency to plug), and well-defined cell walls that are post-engraving polished (precise metering and rapid doctor blade break-in). It’s as good as it sounds.
These advancements in procedures and technology have also benefitted both our 60° hex engraving, ThermaFlo, and our 75° extended cell engraving, EFlo. The benefits have reached an apex of growth, so we decided to rename the newest versions to reflect their differences: ThermaFlo 2.0 and EFlo 2.0.
EFlo 2.0 provides you with the ability to meet targeted ink densities while maintaining open, clean print on combination work. The unique elongated cell structure allows the expansion of horizontal screen count for increased plate screen work, but still maintains the volume necessary for solid ink density. This combination improves press capabilities while reducing the issues associated with dirty print. The photomicrographs above show two engravings with the same cell volume but roughly a 50% increase in the cell count across the cylinder for EFlo 2.0, all while maintaining the circumferential LPI.
The engraving selection guide provides both ThermaFlo and EFlo suggestions, but a conversation with your Pamarco professional can really help your decision-making process flow more smoothly
Seventy years of continuous development and improvement are how we’ve kept our industry-leading technology and capabilities. But advancement never ends, so we’ve already begun to focus on additional areas where we can add value and progress to the printing process. Working internally and with industry partners, we will continue to deliver products surrounding the printing nip that will enhance your productivity and performance, as well as increase your bottom line.
Author :John Rastetter
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If you’d like to find out more about Pamarco, how to properly maintain and extend the life of your anilox roll, or to learn more about any of the topics covered here, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.