No matter if you mount a few cylinders on your label press or up to 100 wide web sleeves a day. The mounting always has an impact on the print result. When preparing your sleeves and plates for the mounting there are just a few key factors. If you get them right, it will save a lot of trouble later on. Here we will look on the preparation of the sleeve before mounting the tape, so you can have a safe label press run.
Safe press run: Cleaning the sleeves or cylinders
In order to make a plate mounting tape stick to the surface you want to mount it on, the surface has to be clean. Clean means:
- no adhesive residues
- no liquid residues
- no ink residues
- no dust
The cleaning agent you want to use is Alcohol / Isopropanol. Or the same mixed with water 50/50. In case you insist on Ethyl acetate because you are in a hurry, that’s OK. But keep in mind to let it dry out after cleaning for at least 5 min.
Why is that important? – Sleeves usually have many tiny little scratches on their surface. The solvents that are used for cleaning sit in those tiny grooves and need time to evaporate. If a tape is mounted too early before solvents had dried out, the air gets trapped under the tape. Bubbles start to appear after 30-60min and the press operator won’t like that, right?
So here is the step-by-step workflow
Take the sleeve and clean it with solvent (or even better: clean sleeves right after press run and store them)
let solvents dry for 5 min
mount the tape by using a rubber blade or a pressure roller system in your plate mounter
Sleeves are then ready for the next step – Plate mounting. But before we get into that, we’ll take a deep look at the tapes. Their characteristics and how to choose them based on the print parameters. That area is too large to cover in one post so we will approach it systematically be looking at:
- print design
- plates and sleeves
These are some general tips for ensuring a safe label press run.