Why Choose Luminite for Flexographic Printing?
Luminite: Your Flexographic Print Sleeve Provider
Product packaging needs to be created quickly and visually appealing. A flexographic printing company needs reliable sleeves to be able to recreate the same packaging numerous times with the same quality.
A flexographic image carrier is the one to rely on both for the creation of those sleeves and the answers when defects occur. Because so much is riding on your sleeve quality, it is not the most effective process to create a partnership with the first company you find.
Luminite offers a continuous print solution using materials made in the USA and manufactured in the USA as well. Avoid snags with customs and shipping delays in the overseas pipeline by working with a manufacturer that keeps sourcing and production close to home.
Flexographic printing companies use elastomer and photopolymer sleeves for effective printing on various substrates. With different inks and substrates used on different products, flexo-printing defects can occur. Testing by the image carrier can be an effective way to avoid downtime and improve print quality.
We here at Luminite are the best choice to supply your flexo printing sleeves, as we offer over 90 years of experience, as well as guidance to help you address defects as they arise in your print runs.
The Flexography Process: A Look at Luminite Production
- Receiving / Incoming Inspection
- Base Preparation
- Rubber Wrap
- Autoclave / Vulcanization
- Rough Grind
- Finish Grind
- Laser Engraving
- Print Proof
- Final Clean-up
- Final Inspection
STEP 1: RECEIVING / INCOMING INSPECTION
Anything found out of tolerance is presented to the customer for repair or replacement options.
Luminite’s internal engineering staff is well-equipped to provide a solution to any out-of-tolerance condition.
STEP 2: BASE PREPARATION
STEP 3: RUBBER WRAP
Specified dry times between coats and before elastomer application are carefully monitored to ensure bonding integrity.
The elastomer is applied to the unit using specialized elastomer strip-building equipment. Rubber strips are fed into a machine where the rubber is heated and extruded through multiple strainer screens to ensure no contaminants are in the final product.
STEP 4: AUTOCLAVE / VULCANIZATION
At Luminite, we opt for dry heat to protect moisture from degrading the cylinders. Most rubbers are cured for a 24-hour period before the next steps can begin.
STEP 5: ROUGH GRIND
The hardness of the rubber is initially verified to be in the specification at this point in the process.
STEP 6: TRIM
Additionally, the product is staged for finish grinding.
STEP 7: FINISH GRIND
During the finish grinding process, special attention is given to temperature control to ensure dimensional stability. We use a variety of precision tooling and specialized hardware to precisely grind off the same journal, bearing, or bore that the rollers run off of on press.
This helps to keep the most concentric rubber surface to impression roller contact possible.
STEP 8: POLISH
QC department monitors RA recording off the polisher on all jobs to ensure the rubber surface finishes are consistent time after time.
STEP 9: LASER ENGRAVING
This gives Luminite the full spectrum of ITR engraving possibilities.
STEP 10: PRINT PROOF
This step verifies the concentricity of the ground surface, that the roller is free of any low spots or surface defects, all engraved elements are printed and provide sharp transfer.
STEP 11: FINAL CLEAN-UP
STEP 12: FINAL INSPECTION
STEP 13: FINAL CLEAN-UP
- protective wraps
- end shock protection
- corrugated tubes
- wooden and steel crates
Print Industry Standards
Care and Maintenance to Luminite Standards
Speed is KeyAlthough it might be tempting to take a break after a long printing session, waiting even a little while to begin cleaning may cause damage to your print sleeves and cylinders. You must clean the sleeves and cylinders immediately after they’re removed from the press before the ink dries and hardens. Flexographic printing depends on the durability and longevity of the elastomer sleeves, which are compromised by extended exposure to ink while not in the midst of the printing process.
The Right Cleaning SolutionGive your flexo sleeves and plates a good wash. Not so fast, though. It’s not a matter of just splashing on some ink-dissolving chemicals.
Different cleaning solutions work best with different types of inks. (And some don’t require volatile chemicals at all.)
Proper StorageWait at least 4 hours before storing cleaned sleeves and plates to ensure complete evaporation of solvents and other liquids. Wrap them in a black-backed paper or film which will block ozone and UV lights that could change their physical properties.
Storage temperature and conditions are critical:
Luminite’s Technical Support for Success
After years of experience with these issues, the Luminite support staff have a real eye for defects. They know the best approach to finding a resolution as well. Here are 10 of the most common causes of defects:
- Press mechanics
- Cell volume
- Ink transfer
- Ink viscosity
- Ink pH level
- Plate swelling
- Drying speed