Four-color Letterpress Printing Machine
Application: Introduce sensitization resin as flexible printing plate, suitable for printing
such packing materials as polyethylene, polypropylene bag, cellophane and roll paper,
etc. It is a kind of ideal printing equipment for producing paper packing bag for food,
supermarket handbag, vest bag and clothes bag, etc.
Letterpress printing machine Performance and Features:
1. Easy operation, flexible starting, accurate color register.
2. The meter counter can set printing quantity according to the requirements. Stop the machine automatically at the quantity or when the material is cut off.
3. Pneumatic printing cylinder lift and lower, it will stir the printing ink automatically after lifting.
4. The printing ink is spread by the anilox cylinder with even ink color.
5. Reliable drying system coordinated with high-speed rotation, it will automatically break circuit when the machine stops.
6.360°continuous and adjustable longitudinal register device.
7. The frequency control of motor speed adapts to different printing speeds.
8. There are Jogging/Stopping buttons on the plate roller base and material rolling rack so as to make it easy operate the machine when the plate is installed.
Letterpress printing machine Main Technical Variables:
Max. Web Width
Max. Effective Printing Width
Range of Repeat Printing Length
Max. Diameter of Roll Material
Plate Thickness(Both side adhesive tape included)
Web, non-woven fabrics, woven cloth, PVC,OPP, BOPP, PE, New York, NY, PET, CPP
Flexography (often abbreviated to flexo) is a form of printing process which utilizes a flexible relief plate. It is essentially a modern version of letterpress which can be used for printing on almost any type of substrate, including plastic, metallic films, cellophane, and paper. It is widely used for printing on the non-porous substrates required for various types of food packaging (it is also well suited for printing large areas of solid color).
The first method of plate development uses light-sensitive polymer. A film negative is placed over the plate,which is exposed to ultra-violet light. The polymer hardens where light passes through the film. The remaining polymer has the consistency of chewed gum. It is washed away in a tank of either water or solvent. Brushes scrub the plate to facilitate the "washout" process. The process can differ depending on whether solid sheets of photopolymer or liquid photopolymer are used, but the principle is still the same. The plate to be washed out is fixed in the orbital washout unit on a sticky base plate. The plate is washed out in a mixture of water and 1% dishwasher soap, at a temperature of approximately 40°C. The unit is equipped with a dual membrane filter. With this the environmental burdening is kept to an absolute minimum. The membrane unit separates photopolymer from the washout water. After addition of absorb gelatine for example, the photopolymer residue can be disposed of as standard solid waste together with household refuse. The recycled water is re-used without adding any detergent.
The second method used a computer-guided laser to etch the image onto the printing plate. Such a direct laser engraving process is called digital platemaking. Companies such as AV Flexologic, Polymount and Screen from The Netherlands are market leaders in manufacturing this type of equipment.
The third method is to go through a molding process. The first step is to create a metal plate out of the negative of our initial image through an exposition process (followed by an acid bath). This metal plate in relief is then used in the second step to create the mold that could be in bakelite board or even glass or plastic, through a first molding process.Once cooled, this master mold will press the rubber or plastic compound (under both controlled temperature and pressure) through a second molding process to create the printing plate.
For every colour to be printed, a plate is made and eventually put on a cylinder which is placed in the printing press. To ensure an accurate picture is made, mounting marks are made on the flexographic plates. These mounting marks can be microdots (down to 0.3 mm) and/or mounting crosses. To make a complete picture, regardless of printing on flexible film or corrugated paper, the image transferred from each plate has to fit exactly in the images transferred from the other colors.Highly accurate and specific machinery is made for mounting these plates on the printing cylinders. One of the latest advances in this field is Fully Automatic Mounting Machine (FAMM), for which AV Flexologic won the FTA Technical Innovation Award in 2007.
A flexographic print is made by creating a positive mirrored master of the required image as a 3D relief in a rubber or polymer material. Flexographic plates can be created with analog and digital platemaking processes. The image areas are raised above the non image areas on the rubber or polymer plate. The ink is transferred from the ink roll which is partially immersed in the ink tank. Then it transfers to the anilox roll (or meter roll) whose texture holds a specific amount of ink since it is covered with thousands of small wells or cups that enable it to meter ink to the printing plate in a uniform thickness evenly and quickly (the number of cells per linear inch can vary according to the type of print job and the quality required).To avoid getting a final product with a smudgy or lumpy look, it must be ensured that the amount of ink on the printing plate is not excessive. This is achieved by using a metal scraper, called a doctor blade. The doctor blade removes excess ink from the anilox roller before inking the printing plate. The substrate is finally sandwiched between the plate and the impression cylinder to transfer the image.The sheet is then fed through a dryer, which allows the inks to dry before moving on.In the case a UV ink is used, the sheet does not have to be dried, but is dried from UV rays.
1. Fountain roller
The fountain roller transfers the ink that is located in the ink pan to the second roller, which is the anilox roller.
2. Anilox roller
This is what makes flexography unique. The anilox roller meters the predetermined ink that is transferred for uniform thickness. It has engraved cells that carry a certain capacity of inks that can only be seen with a microscope.
3. Plate cylinder
The plate cylinder holds the printing plate, which is soft flexible rubber. Sticky 2-way tape is used to mount the plate to the plate cylinder.
4. impression cylinder
The impression cylinder applies pressure to the plate cylinder, where the image is transferred to the substrate.
Flexographic printing inks
The nature and demands of the printing process and the application of the printed product determine the fundamental properties required of flexographic inks. Measuring the physical properties of inks and understanding how these are affected by the choice of ingredients is a large part of ink technology. Formulation of inks requires a detailed knowledge of the physical and chemical properties of the raw materials composing the inks, and how these ingredients affect or react with each other as well as with the environment. Flexographic printing inks are primarily formulated to remain compatible with the wide variety of substrates used in the process. Each formulation component individually fulfills a special function and the proportion and composition will vary according to the substrate.
There are five types of inks that can be used in flexography: solvent-based inks, water-based inks, electron beam (EB) curing inks, ultraviolet (UV) curing inks and two-part chemically-curing inks (usually based on polyurethane isocyanate reactions), although these are uncommon at the moment.Water based flexo inks with particle sizes below 5 µm may cause problems when deinking recycled paper.
The ink is controlled in the flexographic printing process by the inking unit. The inking unit can be either of fountain roll system or doctor blade system. The fountain roll system is a simple old system yet if there is too much or too little ink this system would likely not control in a good way. The doctor blade inside the anilox roller uses cell geometry and distribution. These blades insure that the cells are filled with enough ink.
Flexo has an advantage over lithography in that it can use a wider range of inks, water based rather than oil based inks,and is good at printing on a variety of different materials like plastic, foil, acetate film, brown paper, and other materials used in packaging. Typical products printed using flexography include brown corrugated boxes, flexible packaging including retail and shopping bags, food and hygiene bags and sacks, milk and beverage cartons, flexible plastics, self adhesive labels, disposable cups and containers, envelopes and wallpaper. A number of newspapers now eschew the more common offset lithography process in favour of flexo. Flexographic inks, like those used in gravure and unlike those used in lithography, generally have a low viscosity. This enables faster drying and, as a result, faster production, which results in lower costs.