.045" vs .067" Media

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.045" vs .067" Media

Postby mattg1 » Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:28 pm

We are getting ready to install a new flexo press late this year and the question has come up whether to go with .045" or .067" thick plate media. We print on a variety of substrates including coated and uncoated paper as well as BOPP. What are the benefits and drawbacks of each assuming the cost is the same?
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Re: .045" vs .067" Media

Postby NDP » Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:39 am

Hi Mattg1,

In the past we changed from 0.67 to 0.45 because a new Arsoma was bought.
I do not know wich L/ inch you are printing but we use 133L/inch with 320L/cm (800L/inch) anilox and with volumes of C 3,5 - M 3,8 - Y 4 - and K 4,5 for process colours.
We expierienced that the use of 0,45 resulted in less "Cloudy print" as the dots are more stable due to less relief.
I must say it was with waterwashable plates (30 shore D) and Uv ink. The combination works verry good for us.
We still use film, but after back exposure, exposure and washing/drying you have the plate ready in 12 to 15 minutes.
If I could turn back time I would invest in anilox of 960/1000 L/inch with litle less volume. The pigmentation of Uv ink is now optimized to achieve good results. This way you can print 150L/inch or 175 L/inch with beautifull results. I'm not saying this is not possible today but without changing the anilox you can never get the best result.
Also my expirience is that thinner plates cost less.

Best of luck

Kind Regards
NDP - Europe
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Re: .045" vs .067" Media

Postby exflexo » Tue Jul 14, 2009 12:44 am

If you are in the U.S., stick with .067. Its an accepted standard and .045 never really caught on... if you use it, you will be in a minority.
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Re: .045" vs .067" Media

Postby Frank Burgos » Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:59 am

I agree with exflexo.

I was involved in a transition from 0.067" to 0.045" (because we had liquid photopolymer and could play around with thickness on site) and it was very painful. Many in management didn't appreciate how the difference translated to the workflow and the performance of the plate. Then we went to 0.035" (because it was more "economical"). It was a horror.

More importantly, and to exflexo's point, you will introduce a variable that will isolate you from a lot of existing knowledge and technology in the US.

Unless you're printing on a lot of wove or kraft paper, as in the envelope industry, I vote for 0.067". It's an easy choice, for me.

Regards,
Frank
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Re: .045" vs .067" Media

Postby mattg1 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:33 pm

I appreciate your help with this. I realize that .045 material is very uncommon, we've been running it here for about 5 years now and yes we're pretty isolated in that regard. What I'm really asking is from a technical standpoint what are the benefits of each.

Let's assume that the percent of usage between .067 and .045 is more like 50%-50% instead of 95%-5% in the US. What are the benefits and drawbacks of each? More latitude for setting impression?, better ink transfer because we can achieve more relief on the .067?, longer plate life?, better overall print quality?
Are there known benefits between one or the other?
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Re: .045" vs .067" Media

Postby Frank Burgos » Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:22 am

Hi mattg1,

Off-hand, thinner plates usually have less resiliance and result in harder impact and bounce, even when the durometer is the same. They probably gain less, but I haven't studied that and I'd wonder how much of that is washed out by the harder impacts.

Depending on the substrates you orint on, press condition, and other factors, success with thinner plates will likely vary. NDP Europe seems to have a combination of factors that are conducive to success. However, folks out there contemplating this only based on cost, please take care against confusing price per square inch with cost.

You may need to clean the floors of the plates more often if you have excessive ink misting.


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Re: .045" vs .067" Media

Postby exflexo » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:52 am

What Frank says is spot on.

.045 is much less forgiving than .067, so the companies that I worked with that used .045 ended up going with a low durometer plate and softer sticky back. Basically they were trying to make it act like .067. From my recollection, there was no cost savings by using .045... except maybe a bit shorter processing times. None of the experiences I had with .045 were positive.... the few companies that toyed with it went right back to using .067 after the reality of .045 was made clear: Its not a better plate.
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