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Apex - GTT

Genetic Transfer Technology, revolutionary roll surface for natura link management. Bye bye anilox?!

Background


The variety in anilox rolls is enormous and still growing. Rulings are getting finer and many rulings are available in a number of ink volumes. Every roll has its advantages for certain applications, but the margins for ‘better printing’ are getting smaller. Moreover, finer screen rulings have their own limitations, such as poorer cleaning properties. A critical flexo printer tries to choose his anilox rolls carefully, often a different one for each job and each colour. However, the wide choice in anilox rolls is confusing and is not beneficial to the urgently needed standardization of the flexo printing process.

‘The development of the traditional anilox roll has virtually exhausted its potential for optimisation’, observes Martien Hendriks, Technical Sales Director of Apex. ‘We felt that a new concept was needed. After two years of extensive research and development we are now ready to offer a complete new type of roll to the market. We no longer call it an anilox roll but a metering roll, because the roll is manufactured by means of the Genetic Transfer Technology and one of it’s characteristics is that the roll has no cells.’

The metering roll has a layer made of a mixture of chromium and titanium oxide with a number of fixed particle sizes. The surface profile has an open structure, which means that there are no screen rulings, cell depths or opening ratios to specify the roll. To engrave the new surface structure, Apex developed a special low energy laser.

What makes the metering roll so special is its ability to give each element of the printing plate the amount of ink that is needed for good printing. Solids, which require much ink, are heavily inked, while less ink is transferred to fine lines and halftones. It is no longer necessary to use separate plates and anilox rolls for the printing of solids and halftones. Moreover, the printing range of the metering roll is wider than the range of a conventional anilox roll. With the same roll, halftones of 40 l/cm and 60 l/cm can be printed.

Stressed inks


What is the secret of this characteristic? The wiping of an anilox roll with the doctor blade makes the ink move or stir in the cells. The ink has stres. With the open and smooth structure of our new metering rolls, the ink film remains still after wiping and does not really move. The ink is stressless. As the solids are usually a bit higher on the plate, the pressure of the ink film on the roll is higher and so more ink is transferred to the solid. Other more open printing elements take less ink. Apex has been inspired by the water management of the traditional Dutch flat lands. Here the water flows and is kept by an ingenious system of ditches and canals. The structure of our metering roll is comparable with that system.

The metering roll is rather shallow, there are no deep cells. Therefore, the roll is less apt to filthening by dried ink remnants as happens in the cells of an anilox roll. Also the cleaning of the roll is much easier. The lifetime of the roll is probably longer than that of an anilox roll. Long-term practice has to prove this. It has already been proven that the doctor blades hold longer.