Although flexography is generally a more forgiving printing process, print service providers (PSPs) need to print faster, produce higher quality work, change jobs more frequently, ensure reduced downtime and costs to remain competitive and meet brand owners’ demands.
Correct anilox selection remains fundamental to PSPs’ success because the anilox roller/sleeve is responsible for consistently transferring a film of ink onto a flexo printing plate and then to a given substrate. If it transfers too much ink, it can create printing defects such as dot gain, dot bridging and dirty print. Similarly, if the anilox transfers too little ink, it can result in low print density, pinholing and poor coverage.
PSPs need to understand the relationship between two key cell geometries when selecting anilox rollers/sleeves screen and volumetric specifications. Firstly, they should consider the job-specific graphic requirements as these will determine the screen count requirements. Secondly, they must calculate the volume coverage requirements because these determine the volume and transfer efficiency of the anilox roller/sleeve cells required.
The desire to achieve the best screen/reproduction characteristics and specifications possible to produce high-quality graphic reproduction on the press, while ensuring the perfect transfer and coverage requirements to substrate, has motivated CAE to develop and introduce the eCell cell geometry. It is the only cell technology that provides wider graphic reproduction and volumetric coverage, which ultimately means PSPs can do more with the same anilox rollers/sleeves. The benefits are reduced inventories, improved standardisation and on-press flexibility. Additionally, the fluid transfer efficiencies (the way the ink exits the cell) result in less cell turbulence, which ensures smoother coverage and high-density print results.
Simply put, the ability to produce eCell anilox transfer technology at higher screen counts improves graphic reproduction quality without limiting ink volume transfer and offers ink savings of as much as 20% to 30% compared to other anilox cell geometry technologies. The eCell’s impressive tonal ranges also enable PSPs to reduce their anilox inventory by approximately 50% in most plants, allowing for better standardisation, spares and improved cleaning programmes.
This technology ticks all the boxes for all users, and its revolutionary benefits have earned international recognition and certification from the likes of Esko and MacDermid Graphics Solutions, and expanded gamut solutions such as Opaltone.
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