EDITORIAL: "Time is apt for seminar on press consumables," says Noel D'cunha

, Consumables

09 Feb 2011 | By Noel D'Cunha

The Indo German Conference on 4 to 5 March with its special focus on consumables and pressroom material is being hosted at the right time.

When margins are tight, print firms view pressroom consumables as an area where money can be saved. Yet, while plate cleaners and blanket roller washes are clearly an expense that can’t be avoided, choosing a product based only on its price is fraught with danger.

We’ve seen how cleaners and washes made from the cheapest raw materials are mixed with aggressive substances (like kerosene). This method of formulation can result in plate damage, shorter plate life, blanket damage and wash-based lithographic problems.

By the time a printer adds up the cost of fixing these problems and waste of paper, the extra rupees that a bonafide product would cost pales into insignificance.

Other than cost, the most important criteria when choosing a product should be compatibility. With blanket washes, poor on-press compatibility can cause an over-hardening or softening of the rubber press components. In extreme cases it will shorten roller life, increase waste and reduce quality.

Plus compatibility is a complex subject. For eg, packaging firms need to control the migrateion from the packaging into the food, beverage, toy or pharma product.

We forget that rollers and blankets are the heart of a press. They exist  to do a job, namely transfer ink and dampening solution to the printing plate, blanket then printed product.

And finally, there is the trend towards low-alcohol and alcohol-free printing. This adds to the importance of getting the right product. Regular maintenance of the pan and dampening form roller is crucial with this type of printing, as the absence of alcohol leaves the printer with a narrower operating tolerance.

Therefore, it is advantageous to have predictable and controllable damp feed.

Noel D’cunha is news editor at PrintWeek India