This article is part of the FLEXO FLAW FIXING series

What Is The Feathering Effect?

This is seen as wavy margins surrounding the printed dot. Ink accumulates around the dots and text, increasing the printing surface and dot area. Incorrect printing pressure, too much ink, or dry ink on the plate produce feathering in flexo printing.

While too much pressure is the most common source of this flexo fault, there might be a slew of other difficulties that make your prints seem amateurish.

Flaws of Feathering Effect

Ink accumulates around dots, accidentally increasing the printing surface area. Earlier in the process, you may have applied too much pressure between the print cylinder and the substrate or between the anilox roll and the print cylinder.

Other possible reasons include:

  • An ink that has dried on the picture carrier
  • Debris on the surface
  • The ink dries very rapidly
  • Too much surface tension in the ink

The Appearance Of The Feathering Effect in flexo printing

The ink goes beyond the intended printing area, resulting in uneven edges that resemble the hairlike extensions of a bird’s feather. When ink spreads beyond the intended region, it leaves a jagged or uneven look that resembles the edges of a feather. As a result, the printed image is noticeably less sharp and distinct than the source file, with some finer features gone.

What Are The Causes Of The Feathering Effect in flexo printing?

  1. The print pressure is wrong
  2. The ink on the printing plate dries
  3. Insufficient ink transfer (too much ink)
  4. Insufficient ink viscosity
  5. Adjust the drying time following the printing time
  6. Insufficient solvent mixture
  7. Debris and dust are picked up from the substrate
  8. The static electricity
Solutions To Prevent Feathering Effect In Flexo Printing
If you have feathering issues with flexo printing, you can attempt the following diagnostic solutions:
  1. You should adjust the pressure between the anilox and the printing plate.
  2. Clean the printing plate, raise the printing speed, add a retarding agent to slow down ink drying, and make sure the ink trays are covered.
  3. Adjust the pressure between the anilox roll and the printing plate cylinder.
  4. Maintain the right viscosity and minimize major viscosity increases by using the ink container lids to prevent excessive solvent evaporation.
  5. Find the sweet spot between printing speed and ink drying time.
  6. Adjust the solvent mix’s balance.
  7. Wash the printing plate and anilox roller, decrease the ink viscosity, and clean the web if necessary.
  8. Set up an antistatic device.