Author Archives: Craig Alderson

The Ultimate Flexo Printer Troubleshooter – For flexo print troubleshooting

Please click on the link below to download your PDF copy of The Ultimate Flexo Troubleshooter the ideal companion for the flexo printer. When flexo print troubleshooting is required, this handy quick reference guide can easily viewed on a smart phone or tablet on site.

 

Flexo print troubleshooting for the press room floor

We also have available a printed version on permanent self adhesive vinyl. Perfect for attaching onto to a press room wall or any other vertical surface. The same print but mounted on a hard back PVC Correx 3mm thick board is also a brilliant alternative for hanging on a wall or flat surface.

 

Sized at 80 x 60 cm, it’s easily read and a perfect, inexpensive companion for the press room staff. Orders take approx. 5 working days to fulfil and prices are excluding VAT and delivery*.

 


Self Adhesive Vinyl Print


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Hard Back Print on 3mm thick Correx PVC board


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*Delivery £10.00 per parcel.

 

Download Free Digital Copy

 

 

Label Embossing – Discover the ’emboss with flexo’ secret

The ability to provide label embossing enables the possibility to expand into new markets. Unfortunately expensive metal dies and the special equipment required mean that initial costs can be a prohibitive factor for many printers and their customers.

label embossing using flexo station without metal die

A label embossed with MPH Limited supplied photopolymer label embossing plates

The good news is that there is an effective method of label embossing, without the need for dies and special stations with their associated costs.

Enter photopolymer label embossing plates

Provided as a male and female set, this effective embossing solution offers a realistic and cost effective alternative to expensive metal dies. MPH Limited supplies a specially hardened emboss plate that will locate on any impression roller within your Flexographic printing press. The emboss image then pushes up and into the web, called a ‘male’ plate. A second ‘female’ plate with the emboss image reversed out as a negative of the male plate, is located on a print roller within the Flexo unit. The web then passes through this interlocking set of label emboss plates. Many have found they’ve been able to do this using cutting stations as well as print stations*.

The results are impressive and enable new possibilities for sales drives in this ever increasingly difficult market.

The traditional application for embossed labels isn’t just the beverage market and has now expanded into other areas.

Don’t be left behind, offer your prospects and customers label embossing

A simple trial will determine what photopolymer label embossing can do for your business. MPH Limited will guide you every step of the way, providing with all the information needed to run your own embossed labels.

 

*Press dependent


 

Fast turnaround flexo | DuPont Cyrel® FAST

Just one of our plate making products on offer to our Flexographic print partners is DuPont’s Cyrel Fast system. Fast turnaround flexo work requires fast plate making and Cyrel Fast offers that solution to many of our customers. Cost effective and reliable, this product is a benchmark for quality print in a competitive market.

fast turnaround plate making

Cyrel® FAST thermal plate processing technology uses solvent-free thermal processing to produce a press-ready finished flexo plates

Cyrel® FAST Thermal Workflow – Productivity, Savings and Sustainability

DuPont™ Cyrel® FAST thermal workflow is an innovative, highly productive plate processing technology that uses solvent-free thermal processing to produce a press-ready finished plate in one hour or less.

Cyrel® FAST thermal workflow is a complete plate production system supported by complementary Cyrel® equipment. It’s the ideal workflow solution for a variety of printing applications, enabling very fast processing, cost savings, sustainability and improved press performance.

Fast Turnaround Flexo Processing

Cyrel® FAST thermal workflow is the complete hardware and consumable solution, enabling:

  • improved process control, product quality and consistency
  • up to a 75% reduction in total plate-production time

Cost Savings

Cyrel® FAST thermal workflow saves time, money and materials in operations and maintenance, solvent recycling and press cleaning through:

  • reduced plate consumption by up to 15% compared to conventional platemaking
  • reduced waste treatment and disposal costs due to the use of a solvent-free process

Sustainability

Cyrel® FAST thermal workflow features the smallest environmental footprint available today, resulting in:

  • up to 53% savings in greenhouse gas generation
  • up to 63% reduction in non-renewable energy consumption
  • compliance with the increasing requirements of environmental legislation
  • safer, low-emission work environment compared to solvent platemaking

Improved Press Performance

Cyrel® FAST thermal workflow provides print forms that significantly improves the productivity of flexographic printing presses by enabling:

  • faster press set-up times
  • higher press speed and longer life of the print form due to better plate thickness uniformity
  • superior ink resistance

Source: Flexo Thermal Plate Processing | Cyrel® FAST Thermal Workflow | DuPont United Kingdom

Your FREE high quality flexo plates await…

High quality flexo plates are available. Flenex FW is the next generation flat-top dot water-wash technology.

fujifilm_flenex_fw_are_high_quality_flexo_plates

Become an early adopter to the new technology

Comparable plates from other brands can be significantly more expensive than Fujifilm Flenex. This really is a game changer.

The other noticeable benefit is ink transfer. Press minders have found these plates ink up significantly faster, thus saving you press time and material. They’re also exceptionally durable as they’re uniquely made with rubber, lasting longer on press.

Flenex FW – a game changer

  • Reduced dot gain
  • Better ink transfer for cleaner, brighter print results
  • Faster exposure and washout times – Late cut off for delivery next day
  • Much more durable – each plate is able to perform longer on press than comparitive plates
  • Mild washout with water and dishwasher soap – environmentally better
  • Reduced plate swell –  longer print runs and greater overall profitability

 

High quality flexo plates available

Claim your plates


 

Affordable Flat-top dot technology

Fujifilm Flenex FW, a proven success in the USA

Learn how Flenex FW has already a proven track record throughout North America.

 

By using Flenex FW digital flexo plates, printers have dramatically streamlined their set-up whilst improving print quality.

 

“We’re always looking for ways to improve our productivity and efficiency in order to best serve our customers, and after using the new Flenex FW plates we received a lot of positive feedback from our press operators who were impressed with the durability and ease of clean-up.”
Theresa Narveson, Manufacturing Engineer, Brady Corporation, Industrial Labels Milwaukee, WI

 

“Flenex FW produces a better, rounder dot which holds a 1% dot more consistently. The drape of the plate is better too, with significantly reduced edge lifting.”
Joel Keefauver, Prepress Manager, Graphics Universal Greencastle, PA

 

“Compared to our old solvent plate system, Flenex FW prints higher line screens and finer text and run up to 2.5 times longer.”
Shane Hilmer, President, Southwest Publishing, Envelope Topeka, KS

 

“With Flenex FW’s dot architecture, we are coming closer and closer to offset quality process work while reducing set-up time on press. All these aspects help make us more competitive and allow for faster turn-times, which equate to more business for my firm.”
Phillip Weitzel, President, Universal Products Inc., Consumer Product Labels, Goddard, KS

 


Claim your plates and become…

BECOME AN EARLY ADOPTER

MPH Ltd are looking for flexo print partners to join in with the latest flexo plate technology revolution. For more information on Flenex FW, visit Fujifilm here.

Learn about MPH Limited Prepress services here.

Fujifilm Flenex FW is the next generation flat-top dot technology. Sign up and receive your trial plates.


 


Fast, water-washable flexo hits the UK for the first time

Fast water-washable flexo plate technology landed at MPH Limited UK in October 2016.

flenexfw_mph

The high quality, flat-top dot photopolymer print solution will soon be available to flexographic printers across the country.

fast water-washable flexo

Several months of preparation culminated to this event. Dedicated teams from MPH Limited, Fujifilm UK and Europe combined together to install the Flenex FW S928 semi-automatic processor, the first such machine in the UK.

Arriving on a flat-bed truck, the teams wasted no time at unpacking the heavy crate once in position outside the building.

The team tweeted live during the event

Situated in MPH Limited’s main building, the Flenex FW S928 semi-automatic processor took pride of place at the centre of the plate making department.

Incorporating the efforts of no less than six different UK and European organisations, MPH’s plate technicians got under way with their training as soon as the machine services had been connected and checked.

Fast Water-washable Flexo engineered for high quality print results

With an extensive testing regime scheduled to commence immediately, MPH Limited will soon be able to offer it’s flexographic print partners the next generation of fast water-washable flexo plate.

Flenex FW is a water-washable flexo plate that provides the highest print quality and productivity – out performing thermal, solvent or other water-wash plate technologies.

Benefits include:

  • Total platemaking time under 40 minutes
  • Highest flexo quality (up to 200lpi, 1% process dot)
  • More output per shift for class-leading productivity

 


 

Affordable Flat-top dot technology

Fujifilm Flenex FW, a proven success in the USA

Learn how Flenex FW has already a proven track record throughout North America.

 

By using Flenex FW digital flexo plates, printers have dramatically streamlined their set-up whilst improving print quality.

 

“We’re always looking for ways to improve our productivity and efficiency in order to best serve our customers, and after using the new Flenex FW plates we received a lot of positive feedback from our press operators who were impressed with the durability and ease of clean-up.”
Theresa Narveson, Manufacturing Engineer, Brady Corporation, Industrial Labels Milwaukee, WI

 

“Flenex FW produces a better, rounder dot which holds a 1% dot more consistently. The drape of the plate is better too, with significantly reduced edge lifting.”
Joel Keefauver, Prepress Manager, Graphics Universal Greencastle, PA

 

“Compared to our old solvent plate system, Flenex FW prints higher line screens and finer text and run up to 2.5 times longer.”
Shane Hilmer, President, Southwest Publishing, Envelope Topeka, KS

 

“With Flenex FW’s dot architecture, we are coming closer and closer to offset quality process work while reducing set-up time on press. All these aspects help make us more competitive and allow for faster turn-times, which equate to more business for my firm.”
Phillip Weitzel, President, Universal Products Inc., Consumer Product Labels, Goddard, KS

 


BECOME AN EARLY ADOPTER

MPH Ltd are looking for flexo print partners to join in with the latest flexo plate technology revolution. For more information on Flenex FW, visit Fujifilm here.

Learn about MPH Limited Prepress services here.

Fujifilm Flenex FW is the next generation flat-top dot technology. Sign up and receive your trial plates.


 


Fujifilm partner exclusively with MPH – bringing FLENEX FW plate technology to the UK

Flexographic technology news

Announced in July / August 2016 Flexotech magazine, the deal provides an opportunity for MPH partner’s to become early adopters to the latest flexo plate technology, superior than anything else currently on the market.

latest flexo plate technology

From Flexotech – Flenex FW is a water washable [flat top dot] flexo plate with a total platemaking time of fewer than 40 minutes. The plates deliver longer runs while producing a consistent 200 lpi at 4400 dpi and a 1% process dot structure.

The FW photopolymer plates contain a special rubber-based compound that offers a number of inherent advantages over other elastomeric materials from which most other flexo plates are made. In particular, rubber is not oxygen sensitive, which minimises the effect oxygen in the air has on the dot shape and the complexity of the system to eliminate oxygen from the plate production process. Advantages include reduced dot gain on the prints as well as better ink transfer for cleaner, brighter print results.

Being water washable obviously brings the benefits of being able to be cleaned with just water and dishwasher tablet, but the plate is also more durable and reduces the effects of plate swelling.

Latest flexo plate technology exclusively available for MPH partners

 

MPH director Brian Cawdron –Having seen the plate in action, and the multiple benefits it can bring to the business, we’re confident that Flenex FW will be a great fit for our customers, and we’re excited to be able to add it to our portfolio.’

‘With Flenex FW, Fujifilm has some really innovative technology which allows a flat top dot effect to be achieved very simply. This results in noticeably cleaner and brighter print results which our customers will love.’

‘We’re a fast turnaround business, and our customers know and respect us for this, so we’re always interested in products that are going to help us to continue to deliver what our customers need, when they need it. Also important to us was the reduced environmental impact – even when compared with other water washable plates, as Flenex washes clean in simple dishwashing detergent.’

James Whitehead, product manager at Fujifilm UK – ‘The plates contain a special rubber-based compound that offers a number of significant advantages over materials used in rival flexo plates.’

‘Crucially, as this compound is not oxygen sensitive, the effect of oxygen in the air on the dot shape is kept to an absolute minimum, meaning printers can achieve a 1% flat top dot without costly and complex oxygen elimination processes. This results in lower dot gain, while the superior ink transfer produces results of noticeably higher quality.’

‘After a hugely successful drupa 2016 for Flenex FW, we’re delighted that such a respected name in the UK reprographic market has opted to become the UK trailblazer for this proven technology solution. We look forward to a long a successful partnership, from which MPH’s many customers will be the ultimate beneficiaries’.


HOW TO BECOME AN EARLY ADOPTER

MPH Ltd are looking for flexo print partners to join in with the latest flexo plate technology revolution. For more information on Flenex FW, visit Fujifilm here.

Learn about MPH Limited Prepress services here.

Fujifilm Flenex FW is the next generation flat-top dot technology. Sign up and receive your trial plates.


 

How to better schedule your flexo plate production

Online has transformed everything, and flexo is no exception.

An issue faced by many flexographic printers is that of plate organisation and that’s where the internet can help. Often printers outsource their photopolymer plate production to companies but find it very difficult to synchronise production on the factory floor with their outsource partners. When margins are so tight, everyone has to be slick to save on costs. The faster a job can go through, the better your flexo press will compete with digital.

Flexo plate production scheduler

CLICK TO ENLARGE

MPH offers a free service whereby any authorised person, granted for access, can view online their company’s bespoke production schedule. The admin planners know where a job is along with the sales team and shop floor. There are no excuses!

Flexo production scheduler

 

Contact your MPH representative for information as to how we implement your bespoke scheduler.

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Making it stick: plate mounting tape – FlexoTech Magazine

A fantastic article by Flexotech magazine. Very worthwhile following their publication for information on flexo print.

Deciding which tape is right for each print job is a significant factor in the quest for efficiency and process reliability. Although it may seem that the tape is simply there to stick the plate to the printing cylinder, the increased demands from the flexo printing process, such as higher running speeds, faster changeovers and cost reduction, mean that the importance of this component cannot be overlooked. Neel Madsen gets stuck in.

 

Balancing act

Tapes for flexo printing are precision engineered double-sided adhesive structures consisting of several layers of material, including compressible foam, reinforcement film, release liner as well as the actual adhesive. Balancing the tack level of this tape is crucial as it both needs to hold the plate in place, ensuring there is no movement during printing, and also has to be easy to remove when demounting at the end of the job. The latter should be possible without leaving any residue on the plate or cylinder so that job changes can be done as quickly as possible.

 

The adhesive can be the distinguishing factor between having to clean off residues when the job is stripped, or having the tape removed cleanly with little to no required cleaning, said 3M. The adhesive requirements are simple: bond to the sleeves/cylinders and plates as securely as possible during printing to completely eliminate any possibility of plate edge lifting or bubbling and when the job is done, remove easily.

 

The adhesive foam tape also acts as a substructure under the printing plate, allowing accurate transfer of the plate image to the substrate. It cushions vibrations and further accommodates the varying degrees of hardness of the numerous printing plate variables.

 

Lohmann Technologies UK, a subsidiary of the Lohmann Adhesive Tape Group, explained that it is well aware of these special requirements and what can be achieved. Its DuploFlex range of plate mounting tapes is manufactured with a double-sided flexible PE-reinforcement system which offers superior results in the transfer of the printed image.

 

‘With ever increasing image detail/complexity, finer screens, more lines per inch, finer aniloxes, higher densities, the plate mount tape comes under a lot of pressure (excuse pun) to perform,’ said Bob Drew, national sales manager, graphics products. ‘This construction is proven to support all these variables. Additionally every linear metre of foam mounting tape passes through a thickness measurement unit to ensure it conforms to a stringent thickness tolerance.’

 

Cushioning

The basic DuploFlex 5 range consists of several compressible adhesive tapes that differ in terms of foam hardness and adhesive strength. The compression features and recovery of these products make them suitable for all plate types and images, from short to long runs. One UK customer recently ran a multi-colour line and process job for 1.9 million metres without the need to change tape.

 

The DuploFlex HP 5 product is used for difficult and demanding printing jobs. The high performance polymer foam (HP) employed plays a key role. An even greater distribution of pressure is guaranteed by the smaller uniform cell size structure. Compared with conventional foams, the polymer foam also has a very high degree of stability and regains its original form perfectly. In addition, it effectively counteracts machine vibrations and prevents vibration marks, which distort the printed image. The HP 5 range is available in different foam hardnesses to permit fine process work as well as dense ink coverage.

 

For label printing, the company has the DuploFlex 3 and 4 ranges, ideal for printing jobs in a thickness range of 0.38 mm and 0.44 mm and coping with printed images with fine runs as well as dense ink coverage and clean lettering.

 

 

 

Foam hardness  

With five different levels of hardness, tesa’s Softprintrange is available in hard, medium-hard, medium, soft and x-soft, each tailored to the individual requirements, whether used for short print jobs, with the associated high number of changeovers, or long printing jobs, which require a particularly strong bonding of the plate; for fine screens, which require soft plate mounting tapes, or jobs with high print speeds and complex designs.

 

UK managing director, Steve Plastow, said that when evaluating tapes, it is important to understand how the hardness levels of the foam correlate to specific print designs. For example, for printing solids, a hard foam or even a film should be used to promote proper ink density and distribution, while for printing fine screens with high line screen plates, softer tapes provide the best cushioning effect to act as a shock absorber.

 

This ‘shock absorbing’ effect mitigates dot gain and any bouncing in the cylinders that can show as ‘banding’ or ‘gear marks’ in the print. Using the wrong foam hardness can, however, have a disastrous effect on print quality. As an example, using a soft foam to print a solid area will not allow for sufficient ink density transfer and pin holing will occur. Conversely, using a hard foam to print a screen or process area will lead to a number of print defects such as dot gain, slurring or haloing. A thorough understanding of foam hardness levels and how they affect print quality is essential for producing high quality products every time.

 

 

Compression rates 

Tape carriers may feature polyurethane open cells or polyethylene closed cells foam material. According to Milan-based BiesSse Tape Solutions SpA, the latter is the best choice as it promises no ink absorption, better resilience even during long print runs, and several different compression degrees enabling operators to come closer to the ideal pressure and hence better print quality. Foam density is the feature most often considered when choosing the tape, however, it is the compression rate that should be evaluated rather than the density. Compression depends on the density, but not entirely, and it is important to select a product which has the right compression features, expressed within a range of 5 to 500 kPa (kilopascal).

 

BiesSse offers a wide range of double-sided adhesive tape which includes six products featuring different compression rates that enables the operator to reach a more accurate balance among the various main components of the printing process and at the same time to exert the right pressure.

 

The company’s tapes have a sophisticated double lamination structure, which provides high compactness to the tape and facilitates easy removal from the sleeve/cylinder without lacerations at the end of the printing operation. Each tape is manufactured in a different colour for easy identification.

 

The range of products offers a selection of different adhesion levels and construction types, especially designed to cope with all the most common interactions of the printing components. The most advanced range features a Pattern liner, designed to eliminate the problem of air bubbles forming.

 

Its ongoing investments in research and development is now culminating in BiesSse launching its new Titanium range, a fifth generation of cushion adhesive tapes suitable for the most demanding customers requirements and challenging applications.

 

Bubble issues

Working closely with its customers, 3M has developed its products to ensure they meet the demands of the industry and add value to the flexo printing process. The company offers eight foam densities to choose from in its Cushion-Mount range enabling ‘fine tuning’ of the level of ink transfer on the press, particularly when combining both line/solid and process print on the same plate.

 

For the challenges of fast modern presses, the company has developed the Cushion-Mount products for improving ink transfer and minimise bounce. The calliper control maintained in the manufacturing process allows the printer to ‘mix and match’ products on press to achieve the highest print quality.

 

For the demands of short print runs and quick job changeovers, 3M tapes have a well balanced adhesive system which allows for quick and easy repositioning of the plate during mounting, excellent on-press durability (complemented by the E liner technology) and easy removal of the plateafter the print run, with the tape designed to remain on the sleeve/cylinder whilst the plate is removed.

 

Another perennial issue is air entrapment during mounting. Air trapped under the plate and/or tape can lead to high spots in the print and can be the cause of plate ‘edge lift’ issues during the print run.

 

3M has developed its technology to address this issue of bubbles forming. Its E Liner has a cross-hatched pattern that creates a continuous and permanent network of micro channels in the adhesive, allowing air to flow on both sides of the tape. The micro channel liner refers to three dimensional microstructures sometimes only a few thousands of a millimetre in size. The fine uniform pattern is generated in the manufacturing process of the adhesive tape with the help of micro structured films. They ensure that air trapped between tape and sleeve or between the tape and the photopolymer plate during the assembly process and also later in production can easily escape.

 

The provision of this liner allows air to escape via the channels between sleeve and cylinder as well as tape and plate, allowing for easier mounting. In addition, print quantity and consistency can be maximised with the reduction of air entrapment, reducing the occurrence of air bubbles and the resulting blemishes in screen and process jobs.

 

 

 

Best practice for tape application*

 

For optimum results, cylinders, sleeves (if used) and plates should be clean and dry.

Grease, oil or ink should be removed using a mild solvent.

All surfaces should then be cleaned with a 50:50 mixture of Isopropanol and water.

Do not use ink thinners or mixed solvents for cleaning purposes.

Surface uniformity is important for consistent adhesion. Scratches, nicks and dents can cause variations in adhesion, leading to removability problems, or flagging.

The photopolymer plate should ideally be applied with a roller, paying particular attention to the plate edges, to help ensure the correct contact between tape and printing plate.

Where small diameter cylinders are used and there is time between plate mounting and use, then wrapping the plate with polyethylene after mounting will enable the bond to build to full strength and prevent plate lift at the edge.

Occasionally, edge sealants may be required to prevent ink or solvents from causing plate lift, particularly on long runs, where plates are cleaned during the print run.

*Courtesy of 3M

Making it stick: plate mounting tape – FlexoTech Magazine.

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Digital Proofs tailored to you……..

GMG OpenColor arrives at MPH Limited


GMGColor is now available, no more surprises on press and at an affordable cost to you. The very latest technology is ready to give you the edge in our ultra competitive market.

GMG opencolor

We monitor your press every time you run a job, ensuring our proofs match your print.

The importance of knowing what your press will produce before putting ink on paper has never been more important. The trouble has always been the lengthy process of producing a profile; you start with a special job that contains hundreds of patches of colour that has to be specially run to replicate normal printing 06e54d52-5e4e-4070-a208-dee21c319245conditions, that are taken away and analysed. A contract proof can be made from the data produced from the profiling job. All you have to do is consistently print as you did for the special profiling job.

What if the profiling software needed so few patches it could be run on the edge of a normal job, in normal operating conditions? You could turn any job into a profiling exercise. Special colours are not a problem, and incorporating them into the process set is easy.

The purposes of this kind of proofing can be described as providing ‘no surprises on press.’ If your process will struggle to represent a colour in the way a client would want, it’s far better to know before everyone is standing by the machine for a pass on press.

What it will not do is dramatically improve what you can print. If you struggle with density, highlights or some specific area of the colour gamut (there is no prefect system to represent colour), this will not fix it but, it will predict it giving an opportunity to rectify things early on.

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#silkscreen | Properly Preventing Pinholes – Rotary Stencil making

Some interesting suggestions from Wim Zoomer of Stork in Holland for solutions when producing rotary Stork RotoMesh® stencils.

Several printers have not faced the challenge that ink was slowly seeping through the stencil and leaving unwanted spots on top of the freshly printed substrate?

More time is required in the screen making room to remake the screen and to minimize the loss of profitability. Although it is relatively simple to avoid the pinhole problem, frustration is commonly the result.

Stencil pinholes are predominantly created in the screen making room. The attentive screen maker perceives the pinhole as a problem and remakes the screen. When the screen concerned is on press the pinhole may cause a serious problem resulting in leaving unwanted dots of ink on the substrate to premature stencil breakdown on press.

A pinhole looks like a tiny transparent imperfection. Actually it is a tiny hole appearing in stencils after development, which possibly causes an unwanted printed dot of ink.

Pinholes are roughly caused by the presence of small air bubbles, contamination, or underexposure. The individual causes will be discussed in succession of the screen making process.

READ MORE Properly Preventing Pinholes | wim zoomer | LinkedIn.

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