Plate mounting is an important piece of the label printing process, and if done incorrectly can lead to costly issues during your production run. Plate lift and unscheduled downtime can be prevented by simply knowing and applying these best practices for plate mounting.
Dr. Flexo provides the cure for issues with plate lift.
Step One- Properly Clean Plates
The first step to avoiding issues like plate lift and unscheduled stops is properly cleaning your plates and anilox rolls. For best results, Dr. Flexo recommends using isopropyl alcohol kept at room temperature and a clean rag. It is important to use an uncontaminated surface for cleaning. Shop rags are often exposed to oils that can interfere with tape adhesion, therefore Dr. Flexo suggests using isopropyl alcohol with a disposable paper towel as opposed to a shop rag.
Give your plates a few minutes to dry before moving on to step two.
Step Two- Attach Tape
Once your plate roll and plate are both dry, you’ll want to attach the plate mounting tape to the plate roll. Dr. Flexo is a fan of tesa Softprint® Secure mounting tape for the several process benefits the tape offers to flexo printers.
- Helpful hint: be sure to trim the excess tape on the scribe line.
Tesa® suggests using a squeegee to ensure proper adhesion between your plate and mounting tape as opposed to doing so by hand when using Softprint® Secure line of tapes.
Step Three- Mount Plate
Position the plate on the plate roll, leaving a small fringe of tape surrounding the plate. With the assistance of a plate mounter, verify accurate plate alignment and remove liner from mounting tape. Validate that crosshairs are aligned and that the plate is straight.
- Helpful hint: the seam of tape should not be positioned directly underneath joint of plate.
Once the plate is on the plate roll and you verify it is straight, reinforce with a brayer (otherwise known as a rubber roller) for better bond. Run the brayer over the plate using firm and even pressure to ensure proper adhesion of the plate to the mounting tape. Using even pressure will ensure the plate stays down during the production run.
- Helpful hint: focus on edges and seams still using firm, even pressure.
tesa Softprint® Secure stays on tight during the production run and offers ease in demounting of the plate without causing any damage. This is especially helpful because you can reuse your plates for future jobs.
So, does plate lift have you feeling under the weather? For more information surrounding your pressroom needs, check out Dr. Flexo on our YouTube channel.
About the Author
Kourtny Schmelig, Marketing Specialist at Mark Andy, has a passion for brand promotion, event coordination, and all things printing. Kourtny has recently acquired her Master’s Degree from Webster University in New Media Production and is excited to continue building her marketing and media expertise. When not in the office, Kourtny enjoys exploring the St. Louis area with her two dachshunds, Macon and Jello. You can also find Kourtny on LinkedIn.