Success and safety for the label printer

Operating manual

Standardization UV Flexographic Manual
Operating instructions 162746 / AI – / 25-August-1998

1

Contents
Introduction 5 Order form 15

Standardization Meaning of standardization ............................... 5 Standardization specifications ........................... 5 General ................................................................. 5

Standardization ink Ink order ............................................................. 15 Order .................................................................. 15

Goods reception control Amount of ink transferred 6
Standardization ink 4-color printing on quality substrates with closed surface ............................................. 6 Solid area printing ............................................... 6 Lines and types ................................................... 7

16

Engraved roller standardization Visual inspection ............................................... 16 Quality test certificate ....................................... 16 Control proof print ............................................ 16 Sample of an engraved roller data sheet ........ 17

Cell diameter on engraved roller Solid area densities 8
Engraved roller standardization Standardization ink Standard densities .............................................. 8 Means of measurement ...................................... 8 Measured value density solid area .................... 8 What can be checked .......................................... 8 Standard densities recommended by Gretag, supplemented for label printing ........................ 9

18 19 20

Dot diameter on printing plate
Engraved roller standardization

The strip engraved roller

Engraved roller standardization Sample of a density table ................................. 21

Ink viscosity

10

Standardization ink Means of measurement .................................... 10 Inks for high quality 4-color printing ............... 10

Dialogue with the ink supplier
Engraved roller standardization

22

Increase of tonal value

11

Samples for engraved roller inventory list / reference list
Engraved roller standardization

23 24 25

Standardization ink Formula .............................................................. 11 Means of measurement .................................... 11 The following parameters influence the increase in tonal value ............................... 11 Printing characteristic curve ............................. 12 Preparation of a printing characteristic ........... 13

Storage of engraved rollers
Engraved roller standardization

Order form

Speed test
Standardization ink

14

Engraved roller standardization Ordering engraved rollers ................................ 25 Order .................................................................. 25 Doctor order ...................................................... 26 Order .................................................................. 26

2

Contents
Control circuit for printing form production Main exposure 27 55

Standardization film production Repro specifications for UV flexographic ........ 29 Screen dot form ................................................. 29 Distortion of printing plates in general ........... 32 Distortion of printing plates on Arsoma flexographic machines ...................................... 32 Calculation of cylinder periphery, incl. attached printing plate .............................. 34 Calculation of printing plate distortion ............ 35 Distortion factors ............................................... 36

Standardization printing plate manufacture Test for main exposure ..................................... 55

Drying
Standardization printing plate manufacture

58 59 60 60

Secondary exposure with UVA light
Standardization printing plate manufacture

Secondary exposure with UVC light
Standardization printing plate manufacture

Printing cylinder table

42

Chemical after-treatment
Standardization printing plate manufacture

Standardization printing plate manufacture Checklist for checking the printing plate copy 48

Goods reception check

49

Standardization printing plate manufacture Optical check ...................................................... 49 Measuring checks .............................................. 49 Copying check .................................................... 49

Delivery and storage of copied printing plates

61

Storage of raw printing plates

50

Standardization printing plate manufacture Storage ............................................................... 50

Handling printing plates

50

Standardization printing plate manufacture Delivery .............................................................. 61 Storage ............................................................... 61 Standardization test form Test printing and demonstration forms .......... 61 Outline of composition of a test printing form 61 Image evaluation ............................................... 62 Technical printing parameters .......................... 63 Test forms .......................................................... 64

Standardization printing plate manufacture Handling ............................................................. 50

Solid area density

66

Testing the wash-out time

51

Standardization printing plate manufacture Definition ........................................................... 51 Wash-out test ..................................................... 51 Wash-out temperatures .................................... 52

Standardization test form Standard densities ............................................ 66 Means of measurement .................................... 66 Measured value density solid area .................. 66 What can be checked ........................................ 66 Standard densities recommended by Gretag, supplemented for label printing ...................... 67

Reverse side exposure

53

Standardization printing plate manufacture Reverse side pre-exposure test ........................ 53 Washing out the test ......................................... 53

3

Contents
Increase of tonal value 68

Standardization test form Formula .............................................................. 68 Means of measurement .................................... 68 The following parameters influence the increase in tonal value ............................... 68 Printing characteristic curve ............................. 69 Preparation of a printing characteristic ........... 70

Determination of suitable printing plates /adhesive combination

71

Standardization Working sequence for selection of most suitable materials ................................ 71

Determination of suitable printing ink

72

Standardization Working sequence for selection of most suitable materials ................................ 72

Plate adhesive foil

73

Standardization Foil summary ..................................................... 73

4

Introduction Standardization
Meaning of standardization
In the section on standardization we have endeavoured to provide instructions and help for standardization in UV flexographic printing. Of course, it always only represents a general standard for Gallus/Arsoma machines, which require a further fine adaptation depending on customer requirements or applications. The findings described here were prepared within the scope of a UV flexographic project, in close collaboration with market partners. Since these results have been prepared closely related to practice, Gallus is able to offer all UV flexographic printers competent starting assistance. The user can also check and/or improve his method of working with these instructions.

Standardization specifications
Since there are still no standardization specifications for UV flexographic printing, we have used the offset standard as a basis. The offset specifications are certainly no poor criteria, since UV flexographic results are often and favourably compared with offset results. Users will therefore look for an approxima-tion to the offset result with UV flexographic printing. In order to achieve a result comparable to offset, the following points for example are important, which summarise our basic idea: • same standard densities • same ink quantity on substrate • reproduction of same ink space • similar increases in tonal values The optimum must be obtained from all the materials available to achieve the ambitious objectives. The results should not be laboratory values, but values which can be reliably reproduced in daily practice.

General
As already described in the introduction, we also firmly base the standardization of the inks on the offset data. Reasons: • Offset is the best standardized printing process. • UV flexographic printers want to achieve a printing result comparable with offset. • UV flexographic is often compared with offset. • UV flexographic machines are superseding offset machines. • Substantial improvements in UV flexographic materials in the past few years.

5

Amount of ink transferred Standardization ink
4-color printing on quality substrates with closed surface
Since it is desired to achieve results by the UV flexographic process which are similar to the offset process (as mentioned above), it is also important to take over specific ink parameters, e.g., ink volume. It is endeavoured to obtain an ink volume of 0.9–1.2 g/m2 on the substrate (with closed surface). The ink layer thickness is then also approx. 0.9–1.2 µ With this ink volume the standard values of density should also be achieved with the scale colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) (see solid area densities). Only then can it be ensured that the same color space is also printed in UV flexographic printing. This also means that the inks must be adapted for quality printing by UV flexographic. This adaptation leads to highly-pigmented inks of somewhat higher viscosity. The ink volume transferred to the substrate is approx. 25–30% of the theoretical scoop volume of an engraved roller. The disadvantage of these highly pigmented inks is that: • They must be brightened with alumina white for solid area printing, since otherwise the ink no longer dries if high scoop volumes are used for printing. The scoop volumes for the engraved rollers for quality UV flexographic printing are approx.3.0–4.0 cm3/m2 with 60° screen angle

Solid area printing
As already suggested in Part 4, Color Printing, printing is performed with higher scoop volumes for solid area printing. Reasons: • Better ink coverage • More uniform ink dispensing • More intensive coloring effect • Less contamination or cleaning Lower-viscosity, less-pigmented inks are therefore usually also used in solid area printing to satisfy the points mentioned above. With these inks, the cells of the engraved rollers can also be drained better. A standard engraved roller for solid area printing on substrate with closed surface is: 140–160 l/cm 7.5 cm3/m2 scoop volume 60° engraved screen angle For rough writing papers engraved rollers should be used with over 100–140 l/cm 9.0 cm3/m2 scoop volume 60° engraved screen angle

6

Amount of ink transferred Standardization ink
Lines and types
The same engraved rollers can be used as for screen printing for fine types, printed on material with closed surface. For extremely bold types on closed substrate surfaces and fine types on rough surfaces engraved rollers are necessary with 200–240 l/cm 4.5–5.5 cm3/m2 scoop volume 60° engraved screen angle

7

Solid area densities Standardization ink
Standard densities
Offset values Cyan Magenta Yellow Black = DSP 1.40–1.50 = DSP 1.35–1.45 = DSP 1.30–1.40 = DSP 1.70–1.90 Flexo values = DSP 1.45–1.60 = DSP 1.40–1.50 = DSP 1.35–1.45 = DSP 1.60–1.80

Measured value density solid area
The measured value of a solid area surface is called the solid area density (abbreviated to DV). It is determined with the measuring elements or tapes also printed. Measurements can also be performed during printing in cyan, magenta, yellow or black surfaces. It is recommended also to print measuring elements in all printing forms in all colors. 5 x 5 mm elements in grid, bridge or at the edge can be printed at the same time.

Values measured on high-gloss substrate (the values are some 0.1–0.2 lower on PE with the same plateink-adhesive-substrate combination, since the surface tension of the substrate is different).

What can be checked
• Uniform ink transfer/ink volume over the entire printing form. • Ink volume check of engraved rollers, comparison with reference printing of engraved rollers, provision of an engraved roller catalogue, determination of soiling and wear of engraved rollers. • Ink transfer of various printing plates, inks, plate bases. • Ink transfer to various substrates.

Means of measurement
The solid area density is measured with a densitometer in the colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Measurement setting: density Secondary colors should not be measured with a densitometer, since this only has filters for the above-mentioned, standard colors. If measurement is nevertheless performed, the results are not valid and can at best be used as points of reference. For secondary colors the filter should be selected for the densitometer which indicates the highest measured value.

8

Solid area densities Standardization ink
Standard densities recommended by Gretag, supplemented for label printing
Substrate Highgloss material Art paper Chromo Color Cyan Magenta Yellow Black Mat coated paper PE Semi-gloss paper Cyan Magenta Yellow Black Uncoated paper Vellum Thermo-paper Cyan Magenta Yellow Black The densities in yellow are measured with the 47 B filter. This table is provided to supplement and as an overall review of the foregoing table. Reference density 1,45 1,40 1,40 1,85 1,35 1,30 1,30 1,75 1,20 1,15 1,20 1,55 Density tolerance +/–0,10 +/–0,10 +/-0,10 +/–0,15 +/–0,10 +/–0,10 +/–0,10 +/–0,15 +/–0,10 +/–0,10 +/–0,10 +/–0,15

9

Ink viscosity Standardization ink
The viscosity of the inks must be considered extremely important. The following points can be influenced by the viscosity: In the ink tank: • Circulation of the ink in the tank • Ink transfer to the fountain roller On the engraved roller: • Ink transfer from fountain to engraved roller • Filling and emptying of the cells • Ink volume transferred When wiping: • Accumulation of ink behind the doctor blade • Splashing of the ink • Doctor angle On the printing plate: • Filling of fine screen tones with ink During printing: • Increase of tonal value Machine: • Printing speed

Means of measurement
The viscosity of the UV inks cannot be measured with a measuring cup, since the ink is highly viscous. A rotary viscosimeter is required for the purpose. Unit: dPas

Inks for high quality 4-color printing
The aim is to print all colors for 4-color printing within a narrow range of the engraved roller specifications. The entire ink set should therefore have the same or similar viscosity (pigment-dependent). This also largely ensures that the same ink volume can be transferred for all inks with the same engraved roller specification. All color tones therefore also have the same or similar printing characteristic.

10

Increase of tonal value Standardization ink
Formula
TWZ (%) = FD-FF TWZ FD FF = tonal value increase = surface coverage in impression = surface coverage in film • Pigments • Ink volume used for printing • Color density Engraved roller: • The screen dots dip in the cells of the engraved roller in the ratio of number of lines of engraved roller to number of lines in the film. Film:

Means of measurement
The increase in tonal value can be measured with a densitometer. Measurement setting: increase or surface coverage. The increase in tonal value TWZ is found from the difference between the measured screen tonal value in the impression FD and the screen tonal value in the film FF. The screen tonal value in the film must be known, however, or be measured with a transmitted light densitometer in the reproduction. Only the colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black can be measured. The measured value for secondary colors is not valid.

• Film exposure (also film density) • Dot form • Screen width Printing plate: • Hardness of printing plate • Construction of printing plate • Plate copy • Resolution of printing plate • Swelling behaviour with respect to UV ink • Printing adjustment to engraved roller and substrate • Ink transfer of printing plate (plate surface) Printing plate base:

The following parameters influence the increase in tonal value
Machine: • Printing stability • True running • Printing adjustment • Printing process Ink: • Viscosity

• Hardness • Thickness • Reset behaviour • Combination with printing plate Substrate: • Surface (closed, rough) • Absorbency • Ink receptivity (also surface tension)

11

Printing characteristic curve
100 90

Increase of tonal value
50 45 40

% surface coverage in impression FD

80

% tonal value increase in impression
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

35 30 25 20 15 10 05 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 % surface coverage in film FF 90 100

% surface coverage in film FF

Increase of tonal value Standardization ink
Printing characteristic curve
The graphical representation of increase in tonal value is called the printing characteristic curve. It is one of the basic tools for standardization and provides the specialist with information concerning: • How the machine is currently printing. • How materials, i.e., ink, adhesive, printing plate or substrate, are used in an optimum way. Materials can therefore be compared. • How the repro-specialist must correct the films for this machine. The printing characteristic should be prepared for every machine in operation with the materials most used. This single additional expense pays for itself during the following production by lower reproduction costs. It is also a great advantage to know about the machine and materials. New materials can then always be evaluated without prejudice and used in an optimum way. Various printing characteristics for different material combinations and machines have already been produced by Gallus and can be obtained by Gallus customers. The Gallus printing department also offers support and workshops for the preparation of the printing characteristic for customers, including at their own site.

12

Printing characteristic curve
100 90

Increase of tonal value
50 45 40

% surface coverage in impression FD

80

% tonal value increase in impression
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

35 30 25 20 15 10 05 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 % surface coverage in film FF 90 100

% surface coverage in film FF

Increase of tonal value Standardization ink
Preparation of a printing characteristic
A corresponding printing form is also required for the preparation of a printing characteristic. It is best to produce a test printing form with the corresponding measuring elements. These are above all rows with screen fields in the tonal values 1–100%. The measuring fields should be selected as large as possible to permit several parallel measurements on the same field. Measuring wedges in various screen widths are also an advantage. Important! The tonal values of the measuring fields must be measured and known in the film, so that the exact increase in tonal value can be calculated.

13

Speed test Standardization ink
A speed test must always be performed if new inks are being tested. This is best also done with the test form to permit the following printing parameters of the ink to be tested as a function of speed: • Solid area density • Tonal value increase • Behaviour of ink in printing unit and ink tank The ink series from the various ink manufacturers differ considerably in UV flexographic printing. It is almost impossible to achieve the same printing result with inks from two suppliers. Printers have so far depended on using inks from only one supplier. Many printers, however, like to keep a stock of inks from two suppliers. Gallus endeavours to adapt and specify standard inks for Gallus/Arsoma machines from the most important ink suppliers. It is also important for the printer to specify the standard inks to the ink factory, so that he always obtains the same ink from his supplier at all times and can therefore better ensure a reproducible printing result. The following reference material is important for this purpose: • Ink type • Ink number • Ink series • 1st delivery number • Color proof print from ink factory with 1 g/m2 • Ink viscosity – viscosity in pot – viscosity when printing • Color density with 1 g/m2 ink application • Chromatic aberration of color tone in dE from DIN standard measured with spectrophotometer • Color position in CIELAB color zone • Table with ratio of density to ink volume • Security data sheet • Declaration of safety The reference material for inks standardized at Gallus for Gallus/Arsoma machines can be obtained by Gallus customers from the Gallus printing department.

14

Order form Standardization ink
Ink order
Proposal for an ink order form The following points must be taken into account when ordering ink:

Order
Ink series: Ink type: Ink no.: Drying process: Pantone no.: Application: Resistance/fastness required:

PMS – – – – – kg Date: Number of lines: Scoop volume: Supplier: Supplier: Substrate type: Pre-treated: Enclosed: Enclosed:

Ink volume: Container: Deadline: Engraved roller:

l/cm or l/inch cm3/m2

Substrate:

Printing specimen: The following reference material must be supplied with the ink:

yes/no yes/no yes/no affixed overleaf

Security data sheet Proof print

15

Goods reception control Engraved roller standardization
Visual inspection
The following points should be checked: • Condition of packing • Condition of roller spigots • Condition of engraved roller surface – scratching – mechanical damage – surface structure • Condition of roller edges – blows, detached ceramic • Are the roller specifications marked on the roller

Control proof print
A control proof should be made from an engraved roller before using for production. This should be performed with materials and parameters deter-mined by you and which are always the same. E.g., always with the same • • • • • • • • ink ink tint (e.g., cyan) printing plate plate adhesive tape printing form machine speed printing cylinder machine

Quality test certificate
Always request a quality and test certificate with the following data from the engraved roller manufacturer: • Order number • Roller number • Photograph of roller surface • Measured roller specifications, including: – lines per cm/inch – scoop volume – cell depth – bridge/cell ratio – engraving angle – true running of roller Check whether these data comply with the toleranc-es you have specified • Test date • Signature of tester

This test proof is used as a reference impression and is therefore like the fingerprint of a roller. This impression should be measured by densitometer and preserved. An engraved roller data sheet should be opened based on the data measured, on which later modifications, measurements, cleaning and maintenance operations on the engraved roller can be recorded. The engraved roller is therefore always under control. It is then easier to resolve uncertainties and problems while printing, e.g., it can very quickly be decided whether the roller is worn out or only very soiled. The reference impression can be reproduced at any time. The roller can also be continually assigned to another application when worn. An example of an engraved roller data sheet is shown on the next page.

16

Goods reception control Engraved roller standardization
Sample of an engraved roller data sheet
Roller number: Supplier: Roller specifications: KA 7003 Zecher lines/cm: scoop volume: cell depth: bridge/cell ratio: engraving angle: Printing plate: Printing plate adhesive: Printing ink: Solid area density: Cyrel DPH-114 Rogers R/bak 0.97 Akzo-Nobel, Flexocure, cyan left 1.55 Date 1.5.97 6.7.97 6.7.97 Work Bearing replaced Cleaning with ultrasonics Test proof etc. Density centre 1.58 Signature Huber Meier Müller right 1.52 280 3.5 7 1:13 60°

1.50

17

Cell diameter on engraved roller Engraved roller standardization
Engraved Roller L/cm Bridge Cell 1:10 µm 60 80 100 110 120 140 160 170 180 195 200 220 225 255 285 300 315 345 365 385 400 151.52 113.64 90.91 82.65 72.75 64.94 56.81 53.47 50.50 46.61 45.45 41.31 40.40 35.65 31.89 30.29 28.86 26.35 24.90 23.61 22.72 Bridge Cell 1:11 µm 152.78 114.58 91.66 83.33 76.38 65.48 57.29 5392 50.93 47.00 45.83 41.65 40.74 35.95 32.16 30.54 59.09 26.56 25.12 23.80 22.92 Bridge Cell 1:12 µm 153.85 115.38 92.30 83.91 76.91 65.94 57.68 54.29 51.29 47.34 46.15 41.95 41.02 36.20 32.38 30.77 29.30 26.76 25.29 23.96 23.07 Bridge Cell 1:13 µm 154.77 116.07 92.86 84.41 77.37 66.33 57.86 54.81 51.59 47.61 46.43 42.20 41.27 36.41 32.58 30.95 29.47 26.92 25.44 24.11 23.20 Bridge Bridge Bridge Cell Cell Cell 1:14 µm 155.56 116.67 93.33 84.84 77.77 66.66 58.33 54.90 51.86 47.86 46.66 42.41 41.47 36.61 32.75 31.11 29.62 27.05 25.56 24.23 23.32 1:15 µm 156.25 117.18 93.75 85.23 78.12 66.97 58.59 55.13 52.09 48.06 46.86 42.61 41.65 36.77 32.90 31.25 29.77 27.18 25.69 24.35 23.44 1:16 µm 156.87 117.65 94.12 85.55 78.43 67.23 58.81 55.36 52.29 48.25 47.06 42.77 41.83 36.90 33.02 31.37 29.87 27.28 25.96 24.44 23.53 Bridge Cell 1:17 µm 157.41 118.06 94.44 85.86 78.69 67.45 59.02 55.54 52.47 48.43 47.22 42.91 41.97 37.04 33.13 31.47 29.98 27.37 25.87 24.53 23.61 Bridge Cell 1:18 µm 157.80 118.42 94.73 86.12 78.94 67.66 59.20 55.72 52.63 48.58 47.36 43.06 42.09 37.15 33.24 31.57 30.07 27.45 25.95 24.60 23.68 Bridge Cell 1:19 µm 158.34 118.75 95.00 86.36 79.16 67.86 59.36 55.88 52.77 48.72 47.50 43.18 42.22 37.25 33.34 31.65 30.15 27.54 26.03 24.67 23.75 Bridge Bridge Cell Cell 1:20 µm 158.78 119.05 95.41 86.58 79.36 68.02 59.52 56.02 52.90 48.84 47.61 43.29 42.31 37.34 33.41 31.73 30.23 27.61 26.10 24.72 23.80 1:21 µm 159.09 119.32 95.44 86.77 79.54 68.18 59.65 56.15 53.02 48.95 47.72 43.38 42.41 37.43 33.50 31.80 30.30 27.67 26.14 24.79 23.86

The cell diameter of the engraved roller should be smaller for half-tone printing than the smallest screen dot fixable on the printing plate.

18

Dot diameter on printing plate Engraved roller standardization
Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot Dot Surface Dot DiaDiaDiaDiaDiaDiaDiaDiaDiacoverage Diameter meter meter meter in posimeter meter meter meter meter meter tive film 32 L/cm 34 L/cm 36 L/cm 40 L/cm 42 L/cm 44 L/cm 48 L/cm 52 L/cm 54 L/cm 60 L/cm % 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 µm 35.25 49.86 61.08 70.51 78.84 86.37 93.29 99.73 105.79 111.51 µm 33.18 46.93 57.47 66.37 74.20 81.29 87.80 93.87 99.55 104.95 µm 31.34 44.31 54.29 62.68 70.08 76.77 82.93 88.65 94.02 99.12 µm 28.20 39.88 48.86 56.41 63.08 69.09 74.63 79.79 84.62 89.20 µm 26.87 37.99 46.52 53.72 60.06 65.80 71.08 75.98 80.59 84.95 µm 25.64 36.27 44.41 51.29 57.34 62.81 67.84 72.50 76.94 81.09 µm 23.51 33.25 40.72 47.02 52.56 57.58 62.20 66.48 70.25 74.33 µm 21.70 30.69 37.58 43.40 48.52 53.15 57.40 61.38 65.09 68.62 µm 20.89 29.54 36.18 41.79 46.72 51.18 55.29 59.09 62.68 66.08 µm 18.80 26.60 32.56 37.61 42.04 46.06 49.66 53.18 56.41 59.47

In this table only the 1–10% screen tonal values have been taken, since these have the smallest diameter and are more difficult to fix on the plate. E.g., it is already very difficult with the 60s screen to fix a 1–3% screen dot, depending on the type of printing plate. The table also shows well that if the engraved roller is to support a 2% screen dot in the 60s screen, an engraved roller with min. 360–380 lines per centimetre is necessary (see table of cell diameter on engraved roller).

19

The strip engraved roller Engraved roller standardization
A strip engraved roller is an engraved roller provided with various engravings. Purpose of a strip engraved roller for the printer With a roller of this kind it is possible to print a color with various engravings in one printing operation. In other words, various scoop volumes and color densities can also be printed. With rollers of this kind, for example, the optimum engraved roller can be quickly determined for a desired color density. Density tables for: • various ink series • various ink tints • various substrates • various printing plate types, etc. can be prepared from proof prints with strip engraved rollers. The interplay of the different materials can very quickly be determined with rollers of this kind, in order to obtain a rapid general survey in flexographic printing. Application of strip engraved rollers by ink manufacturers Some ink manufacturers also have flexographic proof printing machines in their color laboratory. The application of strip engraved rollers by the ink manufacturer enables extremely accurate proof prints to be made of ink tints. This would be particularly useful with secondary colors. What strip engraved rollers would be required Since engraved roller technology is currently undergoing continuous improvement, a discussion with the engraved roller manufacturer is always necessary before production or ordering. We at Gallus can certainly also give a good recommendation. In principle, however, 2–3 strip engraved rollers with a total of 12–15 engravings are always necessary. The number of rollers always depends on the printing width of the printing machine and the strip width. In general, engravings are necessary for • half-tone printing • character/line printing • printing of solid areas

20

The strip engraved roller Engraved roller standardization
Sample of a density table
Machine: Printing speed: Printing plate: Screen width: Ink: Plate adhesive tape: Substrate: Engraved rollers: Arsoma EM-410 40 m/min. Du-Pont Cyrel UVB-114 54 l/cm Zeller-Gmelin Y Rogers R/bak 0.97 mm Jac, Brillant, HGW, SK Praxair, Lightlox * Roller no. 1 L/cm 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 260 260 280 300 320 240 240 240 260 260 260 280 280 280 320 320 320 µm 45 35 30 21 17 14 11 10 10 9 7 5 5 9 12 5 9 11 4 5 7 5 5 6 cm3/m2 Angle 14,0 12,0 9,0 7,5 6,0 4,5 3,8 3,3 3,2 3,0 2,5 2,0 2,0 3,3 4,1 2,0 2,5 3,4 2,0 2,6 3,0 2,1 2,1 2,7 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 Cyan 1,99 1,99 1,98 1,92 1,74 1,40 1,67 1,37 1,34 1,30 1,25 0,95 1,02 1,48 1,65 1,12 1,19 1,47 1,05 1,35 1,47 1,17 1,12 1,29 Solid area densities Mag. Yellow Black 1,93 1,92 1,89 1,78 1,69 1,49 1,47 1,23 1,21 1,14 1,13 0,98 0,97 1,29 1,48 0,93 1,11 1,29 0,96 1,18 1,28 1,07 0,99 1,15 1,88 1,90 1,90 1,82 1,76 1,54 1,59 1,33 1,38 1,20 1,22 0,98 0,94 1,44 1,65 1,02 1,11 1,46 0,91 1,19 1,37 1,22 1,08 1,24 2,16 2,14 2,14 2,13 2,11 1,93 1,99 1,77 1,70 1,65 1,66 1,31 1,11 1,79 2,03 1,26 1,27 1,73 1,29 1,60 1,85 1,33 1,33 1,58 The practical standardization in UV flexographic printing started with proof printing of these strip engraved rollers with various printing plates, plate adhesive tapes, sleeve cylinders and inks. It was therefore well possible to test the differences in ink transfer and color densities of the various materials and hence prepare and specify the initial fittings for engraved rollers.

2

3

4

21

Dialogue with the ink supplier Engraved roller standardization
It is also very important to work in close collaboration with the ink supplier in a standardization process. Only a good collaboration makes the following possible: • constant ink specifications • exact mixing of inks which are also reproducible with your engraved rollers in • ink volume • color density • ink tint What the ink supplier requires from the printer Provide your ink supplier with a list of your engraved rollers. Inform the ink supplier how you use your engraved rollers: • Half-tone printing • Type/line work • Solid area printing • Varnishing • Substrates

22

Samples for engraved roller inventory list / reference list Engraved roller standardization
L/cm 320 320 320 320 300 300 280 280 240 240 160 160 140 100 100 µm m3/m2 URMI 2.7 3 3 3 3.5 3.5 4 4 5.5 5.5 7.5 7.5 9 12 14 ° 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 60 Roller no. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Paese/ Cell Supplier Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Praxair Lightlox Application Screen Screen Screen Screen Screen Screen Screen Screen Type/surface Type/surface Surface Surface Surface/varnish Surface/varnish Surface/varnish

This list can also be used as a reference list for an 8color UV flexographic machine. The specifications generally correspond to the state-of-the-art in 1998. The data can vary somewhat from one engraved roller manufacturer to the next, since the measuring systems of the manufacturers differ in their evaluation. It is recommended to consult a specialist of the engraved roller manufacturer before ordering. It is also recommended to work with the same manufacturer later, so that the same specifications can always be ordered again and the rollers are therefore mutually adapted in application. At present, many engraved roller manufacturers are introducing a new laser technology which permits the production of even finer engraved rollers with very high scoop volumes (e.g., 500 l/cm with approx. 4.0 cm3/m2).

23

Storage of engraved rollers Engraved roller standardization
The engraved rollers should be stored in a clean and dust-free place. The rollers must not be in mutual contact. They should lie on the roller spigots. The rollers should be covered with a soft cloth or fabric. The storage place should be accessible. No dirty rollers should be placed in store. Engraved rollers not in use should not interfere with work on the machine or its surroundings. This also prevents damage to the rollers outside the machine. Every roller should be given an internal number and always be stored in the same place. The number must correspond to the inventory list of rollers.

24

Order form Engraved roller standardization
Ordering engraved rollers
Suggested form for ordering engraved rollers The following points must be specified in an order:

Order
Machine manufacturer: Machine type: Drawing no.: Number of rollers: Deadline: Roller quality: Roller coating: Roller spigots: Roller specifications: hardened/unhardened Number of lines engraved per cm: Engraving depth: Engraving angle: Scoop volume: Bridge/cell ratio: Field of application of roller: Tolerances: True-running: Scoop volume max. The following data must be supplied with the roller: Quality record with: 0.05 mm +5% photo of engraving measured roller specifications date/signature l/cm or l/inch µ ° cm3/m2 1: Pcs.: Date:

25

Order form Engraved roller standardization
Doctor order
Suggestion for a doctor order form The following points must be observed when ordering:

Order
Machine: Number of doctors: Deadline: Doctor blade length: Doctor blade width: Lamella thickness: Lamella grinding angle: Pcs.: Date: mm mm µ 60°

60° Width Lamella Length Doctor quality: Steel hardened/unhardened plastic Doctor blank: exactly to size specified Piece goods

26

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
4. Checking of own production for observance of standardized production procedures 1. Collection and preparation of figures for copying, printing technology and densitometer

3. Checking of film and proof print receipts for observance of reproduction specifications and if not observed early detection of expected shortcomings

2. Preparation of unmistakable copying and printing technology specifications from the production sector

27

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
Various points should be known before starting reproduction work: This is a rough checklist. It can be supplemented or modified at will for all requirements. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Printing process Screen width Screen dot form Screen positions / screen angle Image processing / UCR / limiting clearance Technical screen Film quality / film type Register cross-line with standard data and number Marks for register control: inks / dies

10. Overlappings 11. Printing characteristic: tonal value increase

12. Number of colors 13. Color sequence 14. Repeat length 15. Repeat area 16. Number of repeats: longitudinal and lateral repeat 17. Bridge widths: longitudinal/lateral

18. Substrate: width, quality, material 19. Proof / proof print / sample / clean drawing 20. Correct data format 21. Printing plate distortion: flat or circular exposure 22. Copying cylinder diameter 23. Printing machines type etc.

28

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
Repro specifications for UV flexographic
Film material Mat film, read-right negative film Screen angle Standard flexo angle Cyan: Magenta: Yellow: Black: 7.5° 67.5° 82.5° 37.5° 3rd sequence 1. Yellow 2. Magenta 3. Cyan 4. Black This is the standard color sequence in conventional flexographic printing. The advantage of this sequence is that the yellow is printed first, which is the most covering color in the 4-color set. The disadvantage is that the yellow in the first printing unit is not a good reference color for the register.

Screen dot form
A round dot is generally printed in 4-color flexographic printing. A chain dot screen with various dot layouts can also be tried occasionally for a vignetted screen. 1. Dot application with approx. 60% tonal value 2. Dot application with approx. 80% tonal value This prevents a considerable increase in tonal value when the dot application is made simultaneously on all sides. New dot forms will certainly also be used for digitally composed printing plates, e.g., round dot combined with FM screen and finer screen resolutions. This trend is also supported by the multi-lined engraved rollers of the future. Screen width High gloss substrate Closed substrate surfaces Eggshell finish substrates Writing material (vellum) Labels Labels on foil Folding cartons Computer labels Computer-Etiketten

But no film angle must be at 60°. These are: Cyan: Magenta: Yellow: Black: 75° 45° 90° 105°

Color sequences 1st sequence 1. Cyan 2. Magenta 3. Yellow 4. Black Ink receptivity problems can sometimes arise when printing magenta and cyan on yellow. Trapping problems can be excluded with this sequence. The black printed at the end provides a good image contrast. A dark color in the 1st printing unit is always good as reference color for the register. 2nd sequence 1. Magenta 2. Yellow 3. Cyan 4. Black The advantage of this sequence is the somewhat warmer pictorial effect and a good image contrast by the black printed last.

60 l/cm 60 l/cm 54 l/cm 44 l/cm 54–60 l/cm 54–60 l/cm 54 l/cm 48 l/cm 48 L/cm

29

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
Tonal value transfer of flexographic plates High-quality flexographic plates always still have minor differences in tonal value transfer between plate types. Differences can still be seen above all in the light area (1–5% tonal value) and in the shadows (90–100% tonal value). When plates are assessed, the whole plate must always be evaluated. There are plates, for example, which are worse in the light area (1–3%) than other plates, but have a far smaller increase in tonal value in the middle tones and vice-versa. In general it can be stated: High-gloss materials Eggshell finish materials Writing materials 2–95% 5–90% 7–85% Film density DV 3.5 in full density, since flexographic plates are exposed very long and the films are therefore subject to the light for a long time. The negatives must be as transparent as possible at the unexposed points, max. density log. 0.06. Grey or yellow halos produce errors in printing plate exposure. Halos are caused by: • darkroom lighting too bright • developing time too long • used developer • developing temperature too high • exposure time too long • inadequate fixing and washing (refer to conversion table on next page). Film/plate distortion Fully described later in this section. Additional characters Various additional characters are required depending on company, type of machine, register control and plate processing. • • • • Punching marks Register marks Supporting strips Plate labelling:

This also applies to vignetted screens. Standard densities Refer to test form section Printing characteristic Refer to test form section Overlappings 0.1 mm should be observed for overlappings on good, register-stable substrates. More should be allowed for difficult materials. UCR (Under-Color Reduction) UCR is increasingly used for 4-color flexographic work. It is also ensured that no more than 270% color is superimposed in multi-color printing. Images of this kind can also be obtained with less color variation, since black is used intensively as a contrast color.

order ink distortion factor plate type plate thickness manufacturer operation, etc.

30

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
The screen tonal values can be measured with a transparent densitometer. For units with logarithmic display, conversion can be made with the table below. This shows the densities and screen tonal value (in %) in the negative film. Density (Blackness) 0,00 0,01 0,02 0,03 0,04 0,05 0,06 0,07 0,08 0,09 0,10 0,11 0,12 0,13 0,14 0,15 0,16 0,17 0,18 0,19 0,20 0,22 0,24 0,26 0,28 0,30 0,32 0,34 Tonal value % 100 98 95 93 91 89 87 85 83 81 79 78 76 74 72 71 69 68 66 65 63 60 58 55 52 50 48 46 Density (Blackness) 0,36 0,38 0,40 0,42 0,44 0,46 0,48 0,50 0,54 0,58 0,62 0,66 0,70 0,74 0,78 0,82 0,86 0,90 0,95 1,00 1,10 1,20 1,30 1,40 1,50 1,70 2,00 Tonal value % 44 42 40 38 36 35 33 32 29 26 24 22 20 18 17 15 14 13 11 10 8 6 5 4 3 2 1

31

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
Distortion of printing plates in general
If flexographic printing plates are fixed to a printing cylinder of a rotary printing machine, the plates become longer due to bending. The printing plate dimension is unchanged in printing width parallel to the axis of the printing cylinder when fixed to the printing cylinder. It must therefore only be distorted in the printing direction Since the flexographic printing plates are usually exposed flat (0.76 mm printing plates can also be rotary exposed), the film length must be shortened for printing plate exposure. The film must be distorted over the entire repeat or printing length, so that the image has the right size again when printed. Example: If a circular label is not distorted in the film, it will be oval later in the image, since the surface of the printing plate is longer on the printing cylinder. This shortening is called the distortion factor. The distortion factor can be requested from the printing plate manufacturer. The following data are usually given: 1.70 mm printing plates = 9.9 mm distortion 1.14 mm printing plates = 6.2 mm distortion 0.76 mm printing plates = 4.3 mm distortion 1.70 mm multi-coated plates = 3.59 mm distortion The films can be shortened by the same factor for all repeat lengths to be printed. Methods for shortening the film • on the DTP system (computer) • on the exposure unit • distortion camera • corrected repeat setting of distorted and undistorted repeat films • optically-mechanically (distortion unit) • compensation of distortion factor between printed labels These units must work very accurately.

Distortion of printing plates on Arsoma flexographic machines
Special attention should be paid to the distortion factor on Arsoma printing machines for the following reasons: • The printing cylinder diameter, incl. printing plate and plate adhesive tape, do not correspond with the pitch of the driving gearwheels (impression and printing cylinders). • +0.05 mm compression (pressure adjustment, compression of plate structure) is included for the printing cylinder. • The periphery of the printing cylinder (with printed plate attached) is longer than the repeat length to be printed. The surface speed of the printing plate is higher than that of the substrate. • The thickness of the foamed plate adhesive tapes is usually thicker than for the given application.

32

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
Example: TESA softprint 52380 0.38 mm application thickness 0.46 mm adhesive tape thickness • Printing of process combinations with screen printing, hot foil embossing and exact punching. An exact combined printing of the various printing processes is indispensable for applications of this kind and the distortion of the printing plate is therefore extremely important. • Exact knowledge of the materials used, viz.: – plate thickness – absolute adhesive tape thickness – printing cylinder diameter For the reasons stated above, other distortion factors are also used with Arsoma machines. These are listed below in special distortion tables.

33

Printing plate

Printing cylinder

Printing cylinder diameter, incl. printing plate and plate adhesive tape

Plate adhesive plate

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
Calculation of cylinder periphery, incl. attached printing plate
Printing cylinder construction Printing cylinder diameter + 2 x printing plate thickness + 2 x plate adhesive tape thickness = printing cylinder diameter complete Example: + + 117,216 mm (Z-120) 3,400 mm (2 x 1,70 mm) 0,760 mm (2 x 0,38 mm)

= 121,367 mm

Calculation of printing cylinder periphery Printing cylinder diameter x π = cylinder periphery Example: 121,367 mm x π (3,1415927 mm) = 381,314 mm

34

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
Calculation of printing plate distortion
Compression on segment of printing and impression cylinder. Distortion factor from manufacturer's data Repeat length – distortion factor = corrected film length Example: 381.000 mm (Z-120) – 9.9 mm (plate 1.70 mm) = 371.100 mm or distorted film in %: 371.100 mm x 100 : 381.000 mm = 97.402% This calculation is generally performed on flexographic machines of all makes. It is also used by printing plate producers. When printing on Arsoma machines, it can only be used subject to reservation for non-high-quality register work. Printing with Arsoma machines 0.38 mm plate adhesive tape and 0.05 mm compression were included in the calculation. The distortion factor was determined from printing tests. Repeat length – distortion factor = corrected film length Example: 381.000 mm (Z-120) – 9.4 mm (plate 1.70 mm) = 371.600 mm or distorted film in %: 371.600 mm x 100 : 381.000 mm = 97.533% This calculation is recommended by Gallus for register-accurate flexographic printing. There can still be minor register differences, however, between flexographic and other printing processes. Printing with Arsoma machines 0.46 mm TESA softprint 52380 plate adhesive tape and 0.05 mm compression were included in the calculation.

Repeat length – distortion factor = corrected film length Example: 381.000 mm (Z-120) – 9.08 mm (plate 1.70 mm) = 371.920 mm or distorted film in %: 371.920 mm x 100 : 381.000 mm = 97.617% This calculation theoretically includes practically all the factors which can influence the distortion of the printing plates. The effects of printing plates with printing parts of different size have not been considered. Nor can these be calculated during film and plate production.

35

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
Distortion factors
Cyrel or BASF / 1.70 mm plates / distortion factor 9.9 mm according to manufacturer data Printing on segment of printing and impression cylinder. Z 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 Repeat length mm 184.150 187.325 190.500 193.675 196.850 200.025 203.200 206.375 209.550 212.725 215.900 219.075 222.350 225.425 228.600 231.775 234.950 238.125 241.300 244.475 247.650 250.825 254.000 257.175 260.350 263.525 266.700 269.875 273.050 276.225 279.400 282.575 285.750 288.925 Distortion in % 94.624 94.715 94.803 94.888 94.971 95.050 95.128 95.203 95.275 95.346 95.414 95.481 94.545 95.608 95.670 95.728 95.786 95.843 95.897 95.951 96.002 96.053 96.102 96.150 96.197 96.243 96.288 96.332 96.347 96.416 96.456 96.496 96.535 96.573 Z 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 Repeat length mm 292.100 295.275 298.450 301.625 304.800 307.975 311.150 314.325 317.500 320.675 323.850 327.025 330.200 333.375 336.550 339.725 342.900 346.075 349.250 352.425 355.600 358.775 361.950 365.125 368.300 371.475 374.650 377.825 381.000 384.175 387.350 390.525 393.700 396.875 Distortion in % 96.611 96.647 96.683 96.718 96.752 96.785 96.818 96.850 96.882 96.913 96.943 96.973 97.002 97.030 97.058 97.086 97.113 97.139 97.165 97.191 97.216 97.341 97.265 97.288 97.312 97.335 97.358 97.380 97.402 97.423 97.444 97.465 97.485 97.505

36

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
Distortion factors
Cyrel or BASF / 1.70 mm plates / distortion factor 9.9 mm according to manufacturer data Printing on segment of printing and impression cylinder. Z 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 Repeat length mm 400.050 403.225 406.400 409.575 412.750 415.925 419.100 422.275 425.450 428.625 431.800 434.975 438.150 441.325 444.500 447.675 450.850 454.025 457.200 460.375 463.550 466.725 469.900 473.075 476.250 479.425 482.600 485.775 488.950 492.125 495.300 498.475 501.650 504.825 Distortion in % 97.525 97.544 97.564 97.583 97.601 97.620 97.638 97.655 97.673 97.690 97.707 97.724 97.740 97.756 97.773 97.789 97.804 97.820 97.835 97.850 97.864 97.879 97.893 97.907 97.921 97.935 97.949 97.962 97.975 97.988 98.001 98.014 98.026 98,039 Z 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 Repeat length mm 508.000 511.175 514.350 517.525 520.700 523.875 527.050 530.225 533.400 536.575 539.750 542.925 546.100 549.275 552.450 555.625 558.800 561.975 565.150 568.325 571.500 574.675 577.850 581.025 584.200 587.375 590.550 593.725 596.900 600.075 603.250 606.425 609.600 Distortion in % 98.051 98.063 98.075 98.087 98.099 98.110 98.122 98.133 98.144 98.155 98.166 98.176 98.187 98.197 98.208 98.218 98.228 98.238 98.248 98.258 98.168 98.277 98.287 98.296 98.305 98.315 98.323 98.333 98.341 98.350 98.359 98.367 98.376

37

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
Distortion factors
Cyrel and BASF / 1.70 mm plates / distortion factor 9.4 mm for Arsoma flexographic machines 0.38 mm plate adhesive tape and 0.05 mm compression were included in the calculation. Z Repeat length Distortion Repeat length Distortion Z mm in % mm in % 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 184.150 187.325 190.500 193.675 196.850 200.025 203.200 206.375 209.550 212.725 215.900 219.075 222.350 225.425 228.600 231.775 234.950 238.125 241.300 244.475 247.650 250.825 254.000 257.175 260.350 263.525 266.700 269.875 273.050 276.225 279.400 282.575 285.750 288.925 94.895 94.982 95.065 95.146 95.225 95.300 95.374 95.445 95.514 95.581 95.646 95.709 95.771 95.830 95.888 95.944 95.999 96.052 96.104 96.155 96.204 96.252 96.299 96.345 96.389 96.433 96.475 96.517 96.557 96.597 96.636 96.673 96.710 96.746 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 292.100 295.275 298.450 301.625 304.800 307.975 311.150 314.325 317.500 320.675 323.850 327.025 330.200 333.375 336.550 339.725 342.900 346.075 349.250 352.425 355.600 358.775 361.950 365.125 368.300 371.475 374.650 377.825 381.000 384.175 387.350 390.525 393.700 396.875 96.782 96.816 96.850 96.884 96.916 96.948 96.979 97.009 97.039 97.068 97.097 97.125 97.153 97.180 97.207 97.233 97.258 97.284 97.308 97.333 97.356 97.380 97.403 97.425 97.447 97.469 97.491 97.512 97.533 97.553 97.573 97.593 97.612 97.631

38

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
Distortion factors
Cyrel and BASF / 1.70 mm plates / distortion factor 9.4 mm for Arsoma flexographic machines 0.38 mm plate adhesive tape and 0.05 mm compression were included in the calculation. Z 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 Repeat length mm 400.050 403.225 406.400 409.575 412.750 415.925 419.100 422.275 425.450 428.625 431.800 434.975 438.150 441.325 444.500 447.675 450.850 454.025 457.200 460.375 463.550 466.725 469.900 473.075 476.250 479.425 482.600 485.775 488.950 492.125 495.300 498.475 501.650 504.825 Distortion in % 97.650 97.669 97.687 97.705 97.722 97.740 97.757 97.774 97.791 97.807 97.823 97.839 97.854 97.870 97.885 97.900 97.915 97.929 97.944 97.958 97.972 97.986 97.999 99.013 98.026 98.039 98.052 98.065 98.078 98.090 98.102 98.114 98.126 98.138 Z 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 Repeat length mm 508.000 511.175 514.350 517.525 520.700 523.875 527.050 530.225 533.400 536.575 539.750 542.925 546.100 549.275 552.450 555.625 558.800 561.975 565.150 568.325 571.500 574.675 577.850 581.025 584.200 587.375 590.550 593.725 596.900 600.075 603.250 606.425 609.600 Distortion in % 98.149 98.161 98.172 98.184 98.195 98.205 98.216 98.227 98.237 98.248 98.258 98.268 98.279 98.288 98.298 98.308 98.318 98.327 98.336 98.346 98.355 98.364 98.373 98.382 98.391 98.399 98.408 98.417 98.425 98.433 98.442 98.450 98.458

39

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
Distortion factors
Cyrel and BASF / 1.14 mm plates / distortion factor 5.7 mm for Arsoma machines 0.38 mm plate adhesive tape and 0.05 mm compression were included in the calculation. Z 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 Repeat length mm 184.150 187.325 190.500 193.675 196.850 200.025 203.200 206.375 209.550 212.725 215.900 219.075 222.350 225.425 228.600 231.775 234.950 238.125 241.300 244.475 247.650 250.825 254.000 257.175 260.350 263.525 266.700 269.875 273.050 276.225 279.400 282.575 285.750 288.925 Distortion in % 96.905 96.957 97.007 97.057 97.104 97.150 97.195 97.238 97.280 97.320 97.360 97.398 97.435 97.471 97.506 97.541 97.574 97.606 97.637 97.668 97.698 97.727 97.756 97.784 97.811 97.837 97.863 97.888 97.912 97.936 97.960 97.983 98.005 98.027 Z 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 Repeat length mm 292.100 295.275 298.450 301.625 304.800 307.975 311.150 314.325 317.500 320.675 323.850 327.025 330.200 333.375 336.550 339.725 342.900 346.075 349.250 352.425 355.600 358.775 361.950 365.125 368.300 371.475 374.650 377.825 381.000 384.175 387.350 390.525 393.700 396.875 Distortion in % 98.048 98.070 98.090 98.110 98.130 98.149 98.168 98.186 98.205 98.222 98.240 98.257 98.274 98.290 98.306 98.322 98.338 98.353 98.368 98.383 98.397 98.411 98.425 98.439 98.452 98.465 98.478 98.491 98.504 98.516 98.528 98.540 98.552 98.564

40

Control circuit for printing form production Standardization film production
Distortion factors
Cyrel and BASF / 1.14 mm plates / distortion factor 5.7 mm for Arsoma machines 0.38 mm plate adhesive tape and 0.05 mm compression were included in the calculation. Z 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 Repeat length mm 400.050 403.225 406.400 409.575 412.750 415.925 419.100 422.275 425.450 428.625 431.800 434.975 438.150 441.325 444.500 447.675 450.850 454.025 457.200 460.375 463.550 466.725 469.900 473.075 476.250 479.425 482.600 485.775 488.950 492.125 495.300 498.475 501.650 504.825 Distortion in % 98.575 98.586 98.597 98.608 98.619 98.630 98.640 98.650 98.660 98.670 98.680 98.690 98.699 98.708 98.717 98.727 98.736 98.745 98.753 98.762 98.770 98.779 98.787 98.795 98.803 98.811 98.819 98.826 98.834 98.842 98.949 98.856 98.864 98.871 Z 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 Repeat length mm 508.000 511.175 514.350 517.525 520.700 523.875 527.050 530.225 533.400 536.575 539.750 542.925 546.100 549.275 552.450 555.625 558.800 561.975 565.150 568.325 571.500 574.675 577.850 581.025 584.200 587.375 590.550 593.725 596.900 600.075 603.250 606.425 609.600 Distortion in % 98.878 98.885 98.892 98.899 98.905 98.912 98.919 98.925 98.931 98.938 98.944 98.950 98.956 98.962 98.968 98.974 98.980 98.986 98.991 98.997 99.003 99.008 99.014 99.019 99.024 99.030 99.035 99.040 99.045 99.050 99.055 99.060 99.065

41

Printing cylinder table Standardization printing plate manufacture
Plate thickness: Adhesive foil thickness: Number of teeth 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 Repeat length 139,700 142,875 146,050 149,225 152,400 155,575 158,750 161,925 165,100 168,275 171,450 174,625 177,800 180,975 184,150 187,325 190,500 193,675 196,850 200,025 203,200 206,375 209,550 212,725 215,900 219,075 222,250 225,425 228,600 231,775 234,950 238,125 241,300 244.475 1.70 0.38 mm Diameter Compression: all data in mm Number of teeth 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 Repeat length 247,650 250,825 254,000 257,175 260,350 263,525 266,700 269,875 273,050 276,225 279,400 282,575 285,750 288,925 292,100 295,275 298,450 301,625 304,800 307,975 311,150 314,325 317,500 320,675 323,850 327,025 330,200 333,375 336,550 339,725 342,900 346,075 349,250 352,425 Diameter 74,770 75,780 76,791 77,801 78,812 79,823 80,833 81,844 82,855 83,865 84,876 85,886 86,897 87,908 88,918 89,929 90,940 91,950 92,961 93,972 94,982 95,993 97,003 98,014 99,025 100,035 101,046 102,057 103,067 104,078 105,089 106,099 107,110 108,120 0.05 mm

68,706 69,716 70,727 71,738 72,748 73,579

42

Printing cylinder table Standardization printing plate manufacture
Plate thickness: Adhesive foil thickness: Number of teeth 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 Repeat length 355,600 358,775 361,950 365,125 368,300 371,475 374,650 377,825 381,000 384,175 387,350 390,525 393,700 396,875 400,050 403,225 406,400 409,575 412,750 415,925 419,100 422,275 425,450 428,625 431,800 434,975 438,150 441,325 444,500 447,675 450,850 454,025 457,200 460,375 1.70 0.38 mm Diameter 109.131 110,142 111,152 112,163 113,174 114,184 115,195 116,206 117,216 118,227 119,237 120,284 121,259 122,269 123,280 124,291 125,301 126,312 127,323 128,333 129,344 130,354 131,365 132,376 133,386 134,397 135,408 136,418 137,429 138,439 139,450 140,461 141,471 142,482 Compression: all data in mm Number of teeth 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 Repeat length 463,550 466,725 469,800 473,075 476,250 479,425 482,600 485,775 488,950 492,125 495,300 498,475 501,650 504,825 508,000 511,175 514,350 517,525 520,700 523,875 527,050 530,225 533,400 536,575 539,750 542,925 546,100 549,275 552,450 555,625 558,800 561,975 656,150 568,325 Diameter 143,493 144,503 145,514 146,525 147,535 148,546 149,556 150,567 151,578 152,588 153,599 154,610 155,620 156,631 157,642 158,652 159,663 160,673 161,684 162,695 163,705 164,716 165,727 166,737 167,748 168,759 169,769 170,780 171,790 172,801 173,812 174,822 175,833 176,844 0.05 mm

43

Printing cylinder table Standardization printing plate manufacture
Plate thickness: Adhesive foil thickness: Number of teeth 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 Repeat length 571,500 574,675 577,850 581,025 584,200 587,375 590,550 593,725 596,900 600,075 603,250 606,425 609,600 1.70 0.38 mm Diameter 177,854 178,865 179,876 180,886 181,897 182,907 183,918 184,929 185,939 186,950 187,961 188,971 189,982 Compression: all data in mm 0.05 mm

1

3,175

44

Printing cylinder table Standardization printing plate manufacture
Plate thickness: Adhesive foil thickness: Number of teeth 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 Repeat length 139,700 142,875 146,050 149,225 152,400 155,575 158,750 161,925 165,100 168,275 171,450 174,625 177,800 180,975 184,150 187,325 190,500 193,675 196,850 200,025 203,200 206,375 209,550 212,725 215,900 219,075 222,250 225,425 228,600 231,775 234,950 238,125 241,300 244.475 1.70 0.50 mm Diameter Compression: all data in mm Number of teeth 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 Repeat length 247,650 250,825 254,000 257,175 260,350 263,525 266,700 269,875 273,050 276,225 279,400 282,575 285,750 288,925 292,100 295,275 298,450 301,625 304,800 307,975 311,150 314,325 317,500 320,675 323,850 327,025 330,200 333,375 336,550 339,725 342,900 346,075 349,250 352,425 Diameter 74,770 75,780 76,791 77,801 78,812 79,823 80,833 81,844 82,855 83,865 84,876 85,886 86,897 87,908 88,918 89,929 90,940 91,950 92,961 93,972 94,982 95,993 97,003 98,014 99,025 100,035 101,046 102,057 103,067 104,078 105,089 106,099 107,110 108,120 0.05 mm

68,706 69,716 70,727 71,738 72,748 73,579

45

Printing cylinder table Standardization printing plate manufacture
Plate thickness: Adhesive foil thickness: Number of teeth 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 Repeat length 355,600 358,775 361,950 365,125 368,300 371,475 374,650 377,825 381,000 384,175 387,350 390,525 393,700 396,875 400,050 403,225 406,400 409,575 412,750 415,925 419,100 422,275 425,450 428,625 431,800 434,975 438,150 441,325 444,500 447,675 450,850 454,025 457,200 460,375 1.70 0.50 mm Diameter 108,791 109,802 110,812 111,823 112,834 113,844 114,855 115,866 116,876 117,887 118,897 119,908 120,919 121,929 122,940 123,951 124,961 125,972 126,983 127,993 129,004 130,014 131,025 132,036 133,046 134,057 135,068 136,078 137,089 138,099 139,110 140,121 141,131 142,142 Compression: all data in mm Number of teeth 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 Repeat length 463,550 466,725 469,800 473,075 476,250 479,425 482,600 485,775 488,950 492,125 495,300 498,475 501,650 504,825 508,000 511,175 514,350 517,525 520,700 523,875 527,050 530,225 533,400 536,575 539,750 542,925 546,100 549,275 552,450 555,625 558,800 561,975 656,150 568,325 Diameter 143,153 144,163 145,174 146,185 147,195 148,206 149,216 150,227 151,238 152,248 153,259 154,270 155,280 156,291 157,302 158,312 159,323 160,333 161,344 162,355 163,365 164,376 165,387 166,397 167,408 168,419 169,429 170,440 171,450 172,461 173,472 174,482 175,493 176,504 0.05 mm

46

Printing cylinder table Standardization printing plate manufacture
Plate thickness: Adhesive foil thickness: Number of teeth 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 Repeat length 571,500 574,675 577,850 581,025 584,200 587,375 590,550 593,725 596,900 600,075 603,250 606,425 609,600 1.70 0.50 mm Diameter 177,514 178,525 179,536 180,546 181,557 182,567 183,578 184,589 185,599 186,610 187,621 188,631 189,642 Compression: all data in mm 0.05 mm

1

3,175

47

Printing cylinder table Standardization printing plate manufacture
Checklist for checking the printing plate copy
List of points which can be checked in the printing plate copy 1. 2. Cleanliness and freedom from dust: Goods reception control: Plate material Solvent Films / data Storage of printing plates: Plate exposer: Condition of vacuum foil Type of exposure lamps Age of lamps and their starter Plate exposure: Front or reverse side exposure time Main exposure time Plate wash-out: Condition of wash-out brushes Brush adjustments Condition of wash-out liquid Washing-out plates: Wash-out time Wash-out temperature Relief depth Plate dryer: Drying temperature Uniformity of temperature in complete dryer Drying plates: Drying time Supplementary exposure device: Condition and age of exposure tubes Supplementary exposure of plates: Supplementary exposure time After-treatment: Condition and age of exposure tubes Condition of bromine bath Plates allowed to rest: Time Plate thickness: Measure with measuring unit Proof-printing of plate: Proof-print plate if possible Plate check: Optical final check Plate delivery: Correct packing Necessary care Disposal: Correct disposal and recycling of waste and solvent

3. 4.

5. 6.

7.

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

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Checking printing plate thickness with measuring unit

Goods reception check Standardization printing plate manufacture
Optical check
Check order against delivery note Check label on packing Check condition of packing • Damage • Tightly sealed

Copying check
Every new plate batch should be retested. The first quick check is preferable performed with a line job, in which little can normally go wrong and the printing plate can be used without difficulty following the test. The printing plate is copied under the same conditions as for the old batch. A test wedge (e.g., Stouffer wedge) is copied at the same time. The relief height is checked.

Measuring checks
This includes checking the thickness of the raw plates supplied with a thickness measuring unit. The differences must not exceed ± 0.02 mm within the raw plate format.

If nothing has changed compared with the last plate batch, the plate copy is in order. If major changes are found, the printing plates should be retested. In extreme cases the plate manufacturer should be contacted.

49

Storage of raw printing plates Standardization printing plate manufacture
Storage
The unexposed plate material is preferably stored flat in a cool, dry room. Permissible storage temperature: 4–28 °C (Cyrel data) Ideal storage temperature: 15–20 °C (BASF data) A check of humidity is also necessary 40–60% Sufficient conditioning of the plates to room temperature is necessary before use. The printing plates are supplied in airtight, black foil bags impervious to moisture and light. This plate package in turn is in a stable outer packaging. The raw plates should also be stored in this packing, since they are highly sensitive to pressure. This also applies to opened packs. Plastic foam intermediate layers should be placed between the raw plates to protect the sensitive surfaces of the plates. Cleanliness must be ensured when placing raw plates on top of one another. The raw plates must also not hang over the edges of tables and frames; they must lie flat. Residual pieces or plate sections must not be placed between larger plates. They are best kept in a drawer.

Handling printing plates Standardization printing plate manufacture
Handling
Room light The raw material (unexposed printing plates) should only be processed in UV-free light, never in daylight. The light sources must be screened from UV light. It is necessary to cover the windows with suitable, tested UV protective foil. These clear foils are commercially available, e.g., from 3M. Cleanliness The working rooms must be kept free from dust and clean. Additional freedom from dust can be achieved in the exposure zone with ionizing systems.

50

Testing the wash-out time Standardization printing plate manufacture
Definition
The required relief depth for flexographic printing plates results from the shortest possible wash-out time and the pre-exposure time determined. e.g. 1st piece 2nd piece 3rd piece 4th piece

3 mins. 6 mins. 9 mins. 12 mins.

Finer gradations of passage times can also be used for a 2nd fine setting. 4. The plate pieces are dried for approx. 15 mins. (this drying time only applies to the test). 5. After drying, the thickness is measured at the places washed out. The wash-out depth is obtained from the difference from the reference thickness.

Wash-out test
1. Cut out four plate pieces not exposed on the reverse side, approx. 15 x 20 cm. 2. A small cover plate is placed on each piece of raw plate and the whole area exposed for 10 mins. in the exposure unit. (Image on top) 3. The plate pieces are then washed out with different processing times in the continuous flow washout unit.

Example: Reference thickness washed-out position wash-out depth determined 1700 µ – 1000 µ 700 µ

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Testing the wash-out time
The optimum wash-out time is correct if the required relief depth is exceeded by 0.2 mm.

Example: for required relief depth: correct wash-out depth: 0.7 mm 0.9 mm

Wash-out temperatures
All manufacturers of printing plates supply wash-out agents. They can be used in part for various types of plate from different plate manufacturers. PER/n butanol Nylosolv II Optisol Flexosol 30 °C 30 °C 28–30 °C 28–30 °C

52

Profile of test plate for various pre-exposure times

Reverse side exposure Standardization printing plate manufacture
Reverse side pre-exposure test
1. Cut out single-coated flexographic plate to format 20 x 50 cm. Place plate on vacuum table of exposer with relief layer down. The relief coating is where the covering foil is removed. The protective foil must remain on the plate, however, for reverse side exposure. If the vacuum plate of the exposer is not free from reflection, a non-reflecting base should be provided for front and reverse side exposure (black board or red foil). 2. The printing plate cut out is covered with opaque plate or pieces of film. The points where the plates lie are the measuring fields. The first field always remains covered, the stage exposure starts at the 2nd field. 3. The second stage is exposed (e.g., with 5 secs. for plates 1.14 mm thick). The 2nd cover plate is then removed and a further 5 secs exposure performed. The 3rd cover plate is then removed until all fields are uncovered (except the 1st field). Normally approx. 8 stages/fields are exposed, according to the adjoining exposure diagram.

Washing out the test
The exposed test printing plate is then washed out according to the time determined in the wash-out test depending on the relief depth required. It is necessary to dry the plates for approx. 15 mins. to measure the different stages. The relationship between • the pre-exposure time • the wash-out time • the relief depth can then be seen.

53

1st exposure

3rd exposure

2nd exposure

4th exposure (etc.)

Reverse side exposure
Criteria for the choice of relief depth: Long pre-exposure + short wash-out time = flat relief Short pre-exposure + long wash-out time = deep relief • Screen or line work • Substrate conditions • Machine circumstances A fine screen and/or vignette should be produced with a relief depth of 0.7 mm since with a deeper relief the fine 2–5% screen dots are no longer anchored. This is called dot loss. Rough, dusty substrates require a deeper relief.

The times for reverse side exposure and wash-out must always be mutually adapted, so that wash-out takes place down to the polymerized base. The reason for the recommended additional time for 0.2 mm extra relief depth is as follows: A transition phase in which the material is partly polymerized takes place between the lower part of the coating polymerized by reverse side pre-exposure and the non-polymerized upper part. This partially polymerized material should be largely washed out, so that the relief platform and base are in a fully polymerized zone. Since this material is detached more slowly, however, it is necessary to prolong the wash-out time.

54

Stouffer test wedge

Main exposure Standardization printing plate manufacture
Test for main exposure
There are various methods for testing the main exposure. Stouffer wedge Many companies copying printing plates use the 21step Stouffer test wedge. This small test film strip can also copy during normal plate production without producing waste plates. The Stouffer wedge is a half-tone test element. Steps 16–17 should still be on the plate for screen printing, steps 18–21 should be washed out. In steps 20 and 21 the relief flanks should stand firmly. For solid area printing it is sufficient if steps 15–16 stand on the plate. Test films from manufacturers of printing plates The printing plate manufacturers also supply test films for testing the main exposure. These are usually films with various uses of the same test elements. Main exposure test 1. A plate for the size of the test negative is cut out for the main exposure test. New plate material should be used and not remnants. 2. The raw plate is pre-exposed from the reverse side and without film over the entire surface for the time determined for the reverse side exposure. 3. The raw plate is turned over so that the relief layer is on top and the protective foil removed. The test film is placed with the coated side (mat film side) on the printing plate. The film is covered laterally with profiled foil covering strips to ensure a good vacuum. This also avoids gluing the vacuum foil to the cut edges of the plate.

55

Main exposure
1st exposure +2 mins. plate plate test film covering board

2nd exposure +2 mins.

After switching on the vacuum pump, the vacuum foil is rolled evenly over the printing plate. The vacuum foil is rubbed on with a roller or an antistatic cloth to prevent the formation of air pockets. This also makes unevenness visible, owing to dust or dirt which must be removed without fail to prevent copying errors. 4. The main exposure time is then determined with a multi-stage test like the reverse side exposure (diagram on following page).

3rd exposure +2 mins. Example: Expose 8 labels for 2 mins. Expose the 1st label, cover the other 7. Expose the 2nd label, cover the other 6. Expose the 3rd label, cover the other 5, 4th exposure +2 mins. etc. When all 8 labels have been exposed, the • 1st label is exposed 16 minutes and the • 8th label 2 mins. The times stated here are only rough guides. When the approximate main exposure time has been determined after washing-out the plate, a 2nd test can be exposed with a finer gradation. etc. 5. The exposed printing plate is washed out and dried. It should then be evaluated. The correct exposure time can be recognised from the varied formation of the relief.

56

Main exposure
The following factors can influence the exposure time: • Power of fluorescent tubes • Number of fluorescent tubes • Transparency of vacuum cloth Caution: Only original films should be used for the exposure test! The times near the upper exposure limit should always be selected for plate production. This ensures that the plate is fully polymerized to obtain the following advantages: • Optimum plate hardness • Good elasticity • Resistance to solvent • Resistance to cracking

Types of fluorescent tubes
The following tubes can be used: • Philips TL 10 R • Sylvania BL 366

57

Drying Standardization printing plate manufacture
After washing out, the printing plate is dried in a drying cabinet, on drawers and with a hot air blower. It is important for the entire drying cabinet to be at the same temperature, since otherwise the printing plates dry unevenly and the wash-out agent evaporates unevenly in the printing plate. Uneven drying can also cause differences in thickness of the printing plate, which can lead to displacements of tonal values in the printed image. The drying times specified by the plate manufacturers are always minimum values, but the drying temperatures are always maximum values. If lower temperatures are used, the drying time must be increased. Checks during drying Drying of the plate should be checked after approx. 15 mins. Residues or smears are rubbed off with a fluff-free cloth or chamois leather soaked in fresh wash-out agent. Very important: After drying, the plate should be left to rest for 12–15 hours (e.g., overnight). This rest period is often not included or forgotten in the plate production time. The printing plate should then be measured again. The difference in thickness within a dried plate should not exceed 10–15 µm. The plate should in general have the thickness of the raw plate again.

58

Secondary exposure with UVA light Standardization printing plate manufacture
Secondary exposure is performed with UVC light before after-treatment. The plate is placed in the exposer unit with the relief layer on top. No vacuum foil or vacuum is required. The same time is used for secondary exposure as for the main exposure. Secondary exposure ensures that the plate • is properly hardened/fully polymerized • obtains optimum elasticity and resistance to solvent and cracking.

59

Secondary exposure with UVC light Standardization printing plate manufacture
Irradiation of the printing plate with UVC light eliminates the stickiness of the plate surface. The after-treatment is not evident optically or visually. The stickiness can be felt by pressing with the ball of the hand. The after-treatment time is determined in stages: stages of 3–5 minutes The optimum after-treatment time should not be exceeded, since otherwise cracks can form above all at the relief edges (flanks). The plate should not be after-treated directly in the heat after drying. It must first cool down. The drying time and rest period of the plate should be observed before after-treatment, since otherwise swellings left in the plate are fixed, which again causes tonal value variations when printing. Cracking can also occur in the plate surface if aftertreatment is performed simultaneously with UVA and UVC light. This also applies if the temperature is too high in the secondary exposure unit. Caution: Ozone is produced during after-treatment with light which must be removed. UVC light is extremely dangerous to the human eye. Only a few seconds eye contact can cause very serious injury to the eyes.

Chemical after-treatment Standardization printing plate manufacture
Chemical after-treatment is performed as an alternative to after-treatment with light. The plate is immersed in a 4% bromine solution for 5 mins. The surface of the plate becomes mat and all stickiness is removed. The temperature of the bath should be 18–22 °C. A warm bath can accelerate the reaction. Following the bromine bath the plate is immersed in a neutralizing bath for approx. 10 secs. and then washed with water. Caution: After-treatment solutions must only be used in units designed for the purpose, e.g. • vessels with exhaust hoods

60

Delivery and storage of copied printing plates Standardization printing plate manufacture
Delivery
The printing plates should be supplied as follows: • Always laid flat • In a cardboard box larger than the plates • The soft, white, foamed protective foil of the original packing should be placed between the plates • Clean • Cut ready to size

Standardization test form
Test printing and demonstration forms
Why use test printing forms? This is a highly controversial subject. No test form should actually be required for printing evaluation. Anybody can see that an impression is different from the original, assuming they are not absolutely colorblind. When it is a matter of stating the cause of the discrepancy, however, even experts can disagree. And they are probably all right. Deviations from the reference are not usually due to a single difference, but are generally of complex composition. In order to tackle this variety of problem sources, control elements are assembled and tested in test printing forms, from which standards are derived. These standards then in turn serve to classify new test impressions for quality. The same parameters can also be used for process comparisons or quality evaluations in machines.

Storage
The copied printing plates should be stored like raw plates. The plates should be cleaned and dried before putting into store. The relief layers of the plates should not lie together, but backing foil to backing foil. A soft protective foil should be placed between the relief layers. Caution: Following storage for over 3 months the plate thickness decreases by approx. 10–15 µm. Old and newly copied printing plates should not therefore be used together for a printing job with difficult registers.

Outline of composition of a test printing form
A sufficiently instructive test form must consist of two main parts: 1. One part for visual evaluation Deviations from the reference can be determined here visually and without auxiliary aids. Images are usually selected, which are subject to various evaluation criteria. One of the images should show the interaction of the 3 Euro-colors with black (depth). The second image shows grey tones consisting of the 3 Euro-colors. Black is subsidiary here.

61

Delivery and storage of copied printing plates Standardization test form
2. The second part is used for technical evaluation of measurements Parts: – Solid area fields – Half-tone fields – Combined screen fields – Balance fields – Line fields – Cross-lines and vernier measuring elements – Screen vignettes – Surfaces – Ghosting and displacement fields We shall return later to their individual significance and interaction. Suitable measuring equipment is naturally also required. Technical printing quality gradations This concerns printing quality. This is derived from the function of the printed product. Quality criteria: – Uniformity of optical density in half-tone and solid areas – Tonal value reproduction – Color and detail reproduction – Uniformity of lines and screen – Gloss – Screen frequency – Ink layer thickness – Stencilling – Registers

Image evaluation
Before starting with the technical measuring parameters, the image evaluation must first be considered. We are less concerned with the purpose of use or gradation for reproduction, but more with recognition of technical printing degrees of difficulty. The fine, colored images make the biggest impression. These are also gladly shown very often by most machine manufacturers. Not only because they are beautiful, but mainly because they scarcely show coloring differences. The agreement of original and impression is or would be the measure of quality. The eye is unfortunately not very fair when comparing performance. Every picture consists of more than one hue. If the eye looks at more than one hue simultaneously, it is automatically influenced by their differences. These differences are called contrast. There are combinations of contrasts in every picture: – light-dark contrast – color contrast – formal contrast The more complementary colors meet, the greater the contrast. Since the eye adjusts to existing contrasts, it is not objective with respect to color differences. The stronger the contrast, the less are color variations detected. But despite all this, we are more sensitive to color balance changes than to the picture gradation or contrast magnitudes.

62

Delivery and storage of copied printing plates Standardization test form
What picture qualities can be distinguished? Brunner has defined picture contrast classes from 0 to 3. The class in which change of color balance is best perceived is defined as 0. Printing characteristic The printing characteristic shows the deviation in size of the printed dot from the dot on the film. For more accurate statements it would have to be determined between the printed dot and the dot on the plate. It is only valid in each case for one machine, one substrate, one plate, one ink type and one blanket. This means that the printing characteristic must be determined again if a parameter is changed. It is determined with the aid of a screen grey scale and calculated with the Murray-Davis formula. The less the dot increase, the greater the detail sharpness. Resolution Repro-films and printing plates; reproducibility of finest lines per mm, which represent a light sensitive layer. Standardization Preparation of a reference to which instrumental measurements are related. By standardization, achievement of the expected quality at the first attempt and reproduction of an already produced quality. Register There is not yet any generally recognised definition in the technical literature. Various terms are used. The coincident position of successively printed elements on the same substrate side is termed the register.

Class 0 Homogenous, three-color areas. Can scarcely be printed without aberration. Class 1 Pictures with minimum contrasts, mainly compris-ing grey and brown hues. These also include large area skin images. Class 2 Pictures with normal contrasts. These are the majority of pictures. Class 3 Pictures with strong color contrasts.

We should now be able to evaluate pictures or printing samples for their expressive power.

Technical printing parameters
Dot increase or screen dot widening The deviation between screen tonal values in the film and in the impression is generally termed dot increase. The dot growth in production of the printing form is usually forgotten. The consequence of this is that dot increase is specified without any exact points of reference. If errors were made in the preliminary printing stage, these are continued as far as the printing machine and thereby lead to an inexact statement. For every plate behaves slightly differently in this respect.

63

Delivery and storage of copied printing plates Standardization test form
Test forms
These consist of measuring and control elements, which were already listed on page 1. 1. Solid area fields These serve for densitometric control of densities and in superimposed printing of ink receptivity. This forms the basis for evaluation of other parameters. The screen tonal value, printing contrast and dot widening can be determined in conjunction with the half-tone field. 2. Half-tone fields These differ in the degrees of surface coverage = Ffilm. Ffilm always refers to the film, i.e., an Ffilm = 40% indicates this in the film. On the printing form this shows a difference by the copying process. The half-tone fields can be graded in various ways. They start with light, signifying a low Ffilm and extend to very high shadows. The increase in tonal value and printing contrast can be determined in conjunction with the density. The dot widening, and therefore the printing characteristic, can be determined from the increase in tonal value. 3. Combined screen fields These are used as reference and comparative fields. These are a combination of fine and coarse screens. The tonal values of both fields are equal in optimum conditions. As soon as increases in tonal value occur outside tolerance, the fine screen fields are darker than the coarse screen fields. 4. Balance fields Half-tone fields for three-color superimposed printing are also called color balance or grey balance fields. They are used for visual check of the three primary colors. Slight changes in the ink layer thickness are shown very clearly. 5. Line fields These are mainly used for a visual check of the plate copy, whereby the thickness and mutual spacing must be sensibly graded. The resolution of the printing form can also be determined here. 6. Cross-lines and vernier measuring elements These serve for the determination of register difference. Only one linen tester is necessary for reading the measured values. Register differences always result in color change. They are not usually detected in this way, however, in production. It is endeavoured to correct them by changing the color density. 7. Screen vignettes The screen vignettes visually reveal disturbances in the printed image, such as streaking, tonal value breakdowns and screen dot deformations. 8. Surfaces The ink behaviour on the substrate, ink receptivity and drying are assessed with the aid of the solid area printing. The speckle behaviour is graded visually by specifying the cloudiness and surface coverage.

64

Delivery and storage of copied printing plates Standardization test form
9. Ghosting and displacement fields These include screen or line images, which are displayed several times and slightly displaced. They each have different causes. With good test fields it is visible what is concerned. The causes of ghosting can be the substrate, the blanket or machine. Displacement is always a development problem, i.e., the screen dot is deformed during the printing process by relative motion between blanket and printing plate. Color variations and chromatic aberration Chromatic aberration between original and impression can occur if cleanliness and accuracy are not observed during reproduction until the plate copy. The reason in the machine can be that the inks, rubber blanket, printing plate or substrate do not comply with the standard. If the problem lies in the reproduction, the printer no longer has any remedial possibility. The causes for color variations within a series are difficult to detect: – the printer is unsuccessful in keeping the color density constant – the climate in the machine room is not constant – too large register differences – change in viscosity of ink – change in pigment concentration – machine problems – soiling of engraved rollers Our demo forms Customers increasingly ask for test forms for our machine demonstrations. Some want us to print the customer test form. This may be due to lack of confidence on the part of the customer. The suspicion that work is performed here with modified values could lead to such a lack of confidence. We can vouch for our newly developed test form. For the BASF form unfortunately only with reservation. In general, however, only the printing quality is demonstrated with these forms. The further working steps, such as hot foil embossing, blind embossing and punching, are not included. For these applications we have our demo forms, which have mainly been on show at trade fairs. In future an increasing number of machine demonstrations will be performed, so that a demo form is printed first and then a test form.

65

Solid area density Standardization test form
Standard densities
Offset values Cyan Magenta Yellow Black = DSP 1.40–1.50 = DSP 1.35–1.45 = DSP 1.30–1.40 = DSP 1.70–1.90 Flexographic values = DSP 1.45–1.60 = DSP 1.40–1.50 = DSP 1.35–1.45 = DSP 1.60–1.80

Measured value density solid area
The measured value of a solid surface is called the solid density (abbreviated to DV). It is determined from the measuring elements or tapes printed at the same time. Measurements can also be performed during printing in cyan, magenta, yellow or black surfaces. It is recommended also to print measuring elements in all printing forms in all colors. 5 x 5 mm elements in grid, bridge or at the edge can be printed at the same time.

Values measured on high-gloss substrate (the values on PE are approx. 0.1–0.2 lower with the same combination of plate, ink, adhesive and substrate. Reason: different surface tension of substrate).

What can be checked
• Uniform ink transfer/ink volume over entire printing form. • Ink volume check of engraved rollers, comparison with reference printing of engraved rollers, provision of an engraved roller catalogue, determination of soiling and wear of engraved rollers. • Ink transfer of various printing plates, inks, plate bases. • Ink transfer to various substrates.

Means of measurement
The solid area density is measured with a densitometer in the colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Measurement setting: density Secondary colors should not be measured with a densitometer, since this only has filters for the standard colors listed above. If measurement is nevertheless made, the results are not valid and can at best be used as points of reference. For secondary colors the filter should be selected for the densitometer which indicates the highest measured value.

66

Solid area density Standardization test form
Standard densities recommended by Gretag, supplemented for label printing
Substrate High-gloss material Art paper Chromo Mat-coated paper PE Semi-gloss paper Uncoated paper Vellum Thermo-paper Color Cyan Magenta Yellow Black Cyan Magenta Yellow Black Cyan Magenta Yellow Black Reference density 1.45 1.40 1.40 1.85 1.35 1.30 1.30 1.75 1.20 1.15 1.20 1.55 Density tolerance +/–0.10 +/–0.10 +/–0.10 +/–0.15 +/–0.10 +/–0.10 +/–0.10 +/–0.15 +/–0.10 +/–0.10 +/–0.10 +/–0.15

The densities in yellow are measured with the 47 B filter. This table is provided as a supplement to and as an overall review of the foregoing table.

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Increase of tonal value Standardization test form
Formula
TWZ (%) TWZ FD FF = FD-FF = tonal value increase = surface coverage in impression = surface coverage in film • Pigments • Ink volume used for printing • Ink density Engraved roller: • The screen dots dip in the cells of the engraved roller in the ratio of number of lines of engraved roller to number of lines in the film. Film: • Film exposure (also film density) • Dot form • Screen width Printing plate: • Hardness of printing plate • Construction of printing plate • Plate copy • Resolution of printing plate • Swelling behaviour with respect to UV ink • Printing adjustment to engraved roller and substrate • Ink transfer of printing plate (plate surface) Printing plate base:

Means of measurement
The increase in tonal value can be measured with a densitometer. Measurement setting: increase or surface coverage The increase in tonal value TWZ is found from the difference between the measured half-tone value in the impression FD and the half-tone value in the film FF. The half-tone value in the film must be known, however, or measured with a transmitted light densitometer in the reproduction. Only the colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black can be measured. The measured value for secondary colors is not valid.

The following parameters influence the increase in tonal value
Machine: • Printing stability • True running • Printing adjustment • Printing process Ink: • Viscosity

• Hardness • Thickness • Reset behaviour • Combination with printing plate Substrate: • Surface (closed, rough) • Absorbency • Ink receptivity (also surface tension)

68

Printing characteristic curve
100 90

Increase of tonal value
50 45 40

% surface coverage in impression FD

80

% tonal value increase in impression
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

35 30 25 20 15 10 05 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 % surface coverage in film FF 90 100

% surface coverage in film FF

Increase of tonal value Standardization test form
Printing characteristic curve
The graphical representation of increase in tonal value is called the printing characteristic curve. It is one of the basic tools for standardization and provides the specialist with information concerning: • How the machine is currently printing. • How materials, i.e., ink, adhesive, printing plate or substrate, are used in an optimum way. Materials can therefore be compared. • How the repro-specialist must correct the films for this machine. The printing characteristic should be prepared for every machine in operation with the materials most used. This single additional expense pays for itself during the following production by lower reproduction costs. It is also a great advantage to know about the machine and materials. New materials can then always be evaluated without prejudice and used in an optimum way. Various printing characteristics for different material combinations and machines have already been produced by Gallus and can be obtained by Gallus customers. The Gallus printing department also offers support and workshops for the preparation of the printing characteristic.

69

Printing characteristic curve
100 90

Increase of tonal value
50 45 40

% surface coverage in impression FD

80

% tonal value increase in impression
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

35 30 25 20 15 10 05 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 % surface coverage in film FF 90 100

% surface coverage in film FF

Increase of tonal value Standardization test form
Preparation of a printing characteristic
A corresponding printing form is also required for the preparation of a printing characteristic. It is best to produce a test printing form with the corresponding measuring elements. These are above all rows with screen fields in the tonal values 1–100%. The measuring fields should be selected as large as possible to permit several parallel measurements on the same field. Measuring wedges in various screen widths are also always an advantage. Important! The tonal values of the measuring fields must be measured and known in the film, so that the exact increase in tonal value can be calculated.

70

Determination of suitable printing plates/adhesive combination Standardization
Working sequence for selection of most suitable materials
Gallus test form or another suitable, measured test form

Inks determined from best recommendation or from test

Printing plates + adhesive foils from various manufacturers

Substrates most used in operation

Machine

Proof printing with specific solid area densities

Solid area densities flexographic printing Cyan AVT 1,45–1,60 Magenta AVT 1,40–1,50 Yellow AVT 1,35–1,45 Black AVT 1,60–1,80

Visual evaluation by eye

Determine printing characteristic with densitometer

Compare and evaluate printing results

Pass on data to repro and printing form production

71

Determination of suitable printing ink Standardization
Working sequence for selection of most suitable materials
Gallus test form or another suitable, measured test form

Printing plates + adhesive foils determined from best recommendation or from test

Inks from various manufacturers of various ink series

Substrates most used in operation

Machine

Proof printing with specific solid area densities

Solid area densities flexographic printing Cyan AVT 1,45–1,60 Magenta AVT 1,40–1,50 Yellow AVT 1,35–1,45 Black AVT 1,60–1,80

Visual evaluation by eye

Determine printing characteristic with densitometer

Compare and evaluate printing results

Pass on data to repro and printing form production

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Plate adhesive foil Standardization
Foil summary
Make Foil type Nr. Foil Printing Applications thickness plate thickness mm mm 0,38 1,70 1,14 TESA Softprint 52382 0,38 1,70 Labels Folding cartons Labels Advantages Disadventages

TESA

Softprint

52380

Half-tone printing Half-tone printing All-round foil Can be used several times mixed printing forms Surface printing Used with multi-coated printing plates Mounting of printing Plates on sleeve cylinder Half-tone printing Half-tone printing Half-tone printing Half-tone printing All-round foil Foil printing Can be used several times mixed printing forms All-round foil Can be used several times mixed printing forms Half-tone printing Can be used several times Half-tone printing All-round foil Can be used several times mixed printing forms

Printout in surface printing, usable 1 x Shows unevenness of substrate in image More tonal value increase

TESA

Tesaprint

52338

0,38

1,70

Foil printing

No half-tone printing with normal flexo plates possible

TESA

Tesaprint

52916

0,1

1,70 1,14 0,76 1,70 1,14

Labels Foil printing Labels Foil printing Labels Foil printing Labels

3M

1115

0,38

Printout in surface printing, usable 1 x Shows unevenness of substrate in image Printout in surface printing, usable 1 x Shows unevenness of substrate in image Greater increase in tonal value

3M

1120

0,50

1,70 1,14

3M

1015

0,38

1,70

3M

1020

0,50

1,70

Folding cartons

Greater increase in tonal value Printout in surface printing, Shows unevenness of substrate in image Not suitable for all 1.14 mm plates

Harley

green

0,38

1,70 1,14

Labels Foil printing Labels

Rogers

R/back

0,95

1,14

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