Understanding the Benefits of Low-Tack Adhesives and Their Impact on a Workflow
Monday, October 30, 2017
Posted by: Alyce Ryan
Origionally Publish On: www.flexography.org
Written By: Noel Ward
The Advantages of Low-Tack Adhesives
Choosing the adhesive characteristics of flexographic mounting tapes should not rely on a "some is good, more is better” strategy. Here’s why: two challenges plate mounters face almost every day are difficulty in removing plates and plates tearing during removal. A leading cause of this is strong, high-tack adhesives being used to attach the plate to the cylinder.
The strength of such adhesives can quickly translate to increased operating costs. First, a plate that is torn or damaged during removal can be a costly replacement, and second, plates that are difficult to remove can result in operators incurring injuries when peeling large plates off the cylinder.
The Pros of Low
Almost counterintuitively, low-tack adhesives can provide a superior solution that offers benefits on the pressroom floor and in operating costs. However, because not all low-tack options are alike, it’s important to revise some common thinking, as well as understand the advantages of low-tack adhesives, so you can make informed decisions about the best ones for your operation.
To start, it’s not a good practice to rely on the time-honored "thumb-tack” test; peeling back a bit of the liner to see how tacky the adhesive is on one’s thumb. The trouble with this is that tackiness and adhesion are different properties of tape. Rather than testing the tackiness on your thumb, pay attention to how well the adhesive bonds to plates. You’ll find low-tack tapes have better adhesion properties specifically designed for printing plates.
Next, think about your operation and how it may be changing. If you are seeing shorter runs and more frequent job changes, it likely means mounting and demounting of plates is a pain point in your operation. These pain points can be mitigated by using tapes that allow plates to be more easily removed from cylinders. Some printers and converters try to work around high-tack adhesives by using shellac, soap, baby powder or other additives to deaden the adhesion. These "Band-Aid” solutions can work, but still require additional time and labor. Not only are these processes not repeatable, they may lead to larger problems, such as bubbles and plate lift, resulting in more downtime when plates need to be removed and remounted.And finally, because some high-tack adhesives have a tendency to lift at the edges, operators may use edge sealing tape or glue that further complicate the mounting process and increase plate changeover times.
And finally, because some high-tack adhesives have a tendency to lift at the edges, operators may use edge sealing tape or glue that further complicate the mounting process and increase plate changeover times.
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