Using the right flexible foam is critical to quality in flexographic printing. Foam compensates for thickness variations in plate and substrate, allows better control of impression force and absorbs vibration to enable faster press speeds while delivering higher print quality. R/bak® Cushion Mounting Materials from Rogers Corporation are the printing industry leader to achieve the best print results and improve efficiency.
The big quality difference between R/bak Cushion Mounting Materials and other cushions can best be demonstrated by taking a microscopic look inside the foam. R/bak materials’ open-cell urethane recovers repeatedly so that the material provides a consistent level of cushioning no matter how manty times they are compressed. Other closed-cell polyethylene breaks down in use and does not recover, which results in loss of ink density, slower press speeds, more adjustments and added costs. The resilience of R/bak tapes can make the difference between mediocre and stunning print results. Using R/bak materials improves registration, reduces dot gain, decreases plate deformation, improves ink transfer, enables longer print runs and allows the use of finer screens for finer line work.
R/bak materials provide a high degree of surface conformity with minimal increase in plate pressure. This results in lower dot gain, cleaner reverse print, improved registration, fewer dropouts and higher quality impressions at increased press speeds. Utilizing R/bak Cushions behind the printing plate allows the pressure applied to the plate to be absorbed by the cushion rather than the corrugated surface, thus reducing physical dot gain.
The resilience of a cushion mounting system plays an important role in control of gear banding and overall print quality. Banding refers to visible web direction variation in print results, typically in tonal areas that appear to be “chatter” or “gear bands.” Banding in tonal areas is a common problem for many printers, especially in Narrow Web. These bands of alternating high and low ink density can result from many causes, including machine vibration or image layout on the plate. Using a more resilient tape like R/bak mounting tapes can help eliminate this troublesome quality issue, preventing plate bounce and dissipating vibration resulting in noticeably more uniform tonal areas.
R/bak materials reduce pressure and absorb shock for flexographic printing plates, resulting in longer plate and cushion life and higher print quality. They consistently deliver compressibility performance on press in a compressible plate mounting system. With less than 2% compression set, R/bak materials reduce plate wear by continually absorbing impact. Less waste and lower component wear mean more impressions and lower costs for the printer.
The R/bak cushion mounting system provides wide process latitude without damage to the corrugated board, allowing for a finished product that truly stands out.