Board Converting News, April 4, 2022

Cleaning, IR Drying (CONT’D FROM PAGE 44)

IR Drying Infrared (IR) drying is a critical factor in all high-quality printing processes. Not only does it facilitate a dramatic improvement in image sharpness and quality, by reducing absorption into corrugated board, it dramatically enhanc- es color vibrancy and opacity. IR dryers also boost produc- tivity in corrugated printing processes, and the shortwave modular lamphead concept pioneered by Baldwin, is still the most popular dryer configuration for corrugated print- ers today. Automated drying systems strive to reduce human in- tervention while maximizing system performance and effi- ciency. For example, smart infrared sensors measure the temperature differential before and after the dryer, auto- matically adjusting the power level to ensure the minimum amount of energy is used for any given speed, with the maximum drying effect achieved. Prior to this type of system, operators would often have the dryer set for a given job and would not always reduce the power setting for slower run speeds or lower ink densi- ty work. This resulted in wasted energy, and in most cases, far too much IR energy to the substrate which can cause print unit overheating issues, printing plate drying issues or, in worst cases, a safety risk. Easing Operators’ Burdens Another consideration to explore in order to fully lever- age the advantage of IR drying is whether the segments

game changer in the offset world and became an essential requirement and a standard part of the print process with Baldwin equipping thousands of presses worldwide. With flexo printing, the same trend towards automation is happening because so much time is being lost through the task of manually cleaning printing plates. The require- ment for the print quality to be maintained and for the ma- chine to keep producing is essential, more so now than ever due to the demand of printed packaging. Cleaning has a significant and direct impact on produc- tion and waste costs and becomes expensive for compa- nies that are trying to compete without understanding and accounting for how much time they are losing and waste they are producing. Along with the direct labor costs, time spent manu- al cleaning restricts output which ultimately means less square meters of board produced from the machine. Automated systems can eliminate all this wasted time in a very efficient way and help maintain the print qual- ity. Story after story from printers using the technology demonstrate how attractive the return on investment is by reinvesting on other machines once they see the huge savings in time and increased efficiency with an initial in- stallation. Plate cleaning can also free up much needed capacity to produce extra print jobs or added maintenance time that is sometimes difficult to schedule.


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April 4, 2022

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