SPECIALTY Careful monitoring of the market, the experience and creativity of their R&D department, a number of well-conducted tests on hi-tech machines are the "ingredients" of Lohmann’s DuploFLEX® Maxx: double-sided mounting tape for flexo plates, which combines great adhesive strength, delicateness and speed of application. For maximum print quality even under stressful conditions.
Those that print packaging on flexographic machines, hence on wide web machines that operate at high speeds, now normally manage frequent, limited runs and increasingly use small diameter cylinders. It was following a careful study of the needs expressed in this applicative field that Lohmann (adhesives, mounting tapes, Italian subsidiary in Villorba, TV) developed a new flexo plate mounting tape. This is the latest in the DuploFLEX® line, named DuploFLEX® Maxx, and is formed by a compressible foam, reinforced on both sides with a particularly flexible PE film, and provides a highly accurate dot definition. Compared to other DuploFLEX products, the new tape has a greater adhesive strength, in order to ensure the optimum yield of the press even at high speeds, but at the same time does not damage the plate, enabling the easy mounting and dismounting of the same.
Lohmann presented the new product at the last Converflex, in a striking stand with corporate graphics, arousing attention and interest. «We are very pleased» general manager of Lohmann Italy Francesco Paolo Festa stated on this count. «The users understood the value and novelty of DuploFLEX® Maxx, appreciating both its functional performance and its implications in terms of savings in time and cost». The fair was an opportunity to illustrate the same, also in the light of the tests carried out on large manufacturers’ machines, which now reach a cruising speed of 600 m/min and are already aiming at the goal of 1000 m/min.
«The great challenge of this project – explains company Application Engineer Graphics head Florian Von Heesen – was to attain an adhesive that was "highly" but not “too” powerful , being at the same time odorless and compatible with the need for easy dismounting even after long runs. After having tested it under extreme conditions in terms of speed, operating time and length of work procedures, not the slightest shifting nor or any kind of degeneration (typically edge lifting or dot gain) nor the presence of residues after use were registered. All power to the ability of our researchers, because to obtain a product that does not "collapse" at the end of the three work shifts is neither easy nor indeed a foregone conclusion».
«Despite the great adhesive strength – Mr. Festa underlines – DuploFLEX® Maxx detaches and attaches smoothly, regardless of the type of cylinder and the way it is handled. It is thus particularly suitable for managing small print runs that force the printer to change jobs and plates several times a day.
This offers advantages that obviously favourably affect economising and processing times, seen in their full extent in the more vibrant market segments of flexible packaging, paper packaging, wide web printing and printing on board. Where indeed Lohmann does not offer itself as supplier of commodities, but of specialties and services, ready to seek and test out the best solution for and with each customer. Which might also mean developing a special adhesive».
A Technical Center for flexo Up and running from the second half of the year at the Lohmann headquarters in Neuwied, the laboratory dedicated to flexo printing is equipped to carry out tests on different types of plates, adhesives and equipment. The project, for which 400 thousand euros has been allocated, is the expression of a highly interactive approach to the market, where collaboration with the customer on the one hand and with the machine and components manufacturers on the other becomes the heart of an R&D able to anticipate market demands.
The DuploFLEX® 5 series HP
The double-sided DuploFLEX® HP 5 (High Performance) tapes are highly specialized products for mounting plates and compressible bases. They feature the same double-sided flexible PE film layer that perfectly cushions the forces acting on the compressible foam; thus uncontrolled dot gain is prevented and excellent printed images and colors are achieved, even at low dot densities and at very high speeds.The polymer foam used has a small and uniform cell structure that enhances its stability and resilience, enabling it to counteract the machine vibrations and making it particularly suited for long and demanding print jobs.