Flexographic Printing Blog

Flexo 101: 4 Approaches to Combat Misregistration in Printing

Posted by Luminite on Jan 4, 2022 8:39:56 PM
Luminite

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Even the most sophisticated and advanced print shops sometimes experience defects in their prints. And misregistration in printing can affect even the most skilled press shops.  

Every press operator aims to get the best possible prints. To do so relies on precise and accurate alignment between your ink combinations and substrate. Misregistration by even the smallest fraction of an inch can impact everything from color patterns to design accuracy. 

Finding solutions to misregistered prints can be challenging so we asked our image carrier experts their tips on resolving misregistered prints and they came up with these solutions:

4 Solutions For Misregistration In Printing 

As we discussed in 10 Common Causes of Print Misregistration in Flexographic Printing, the 10 most common causes of print misregistration are: 

  1. Inaccurate plate mounting/centering 
  2. Impression cylinder concentricity
  3. Cylinder/ plate/ sleeve condition
  4. Gear condition
  5. Idle rollers drag or rotate irregularly
  6. Malfunctioning web guide
  7. Web growth or fanning out
  8. Wandering web
  9. Substrate surface tension
  10. Incorrect tolerances

However, remedying these issues can get complicated and frustrating for even the most skilled operators. It’s important to identify what isn’t registering and why. Generally, our experts look to three main places to identify the misregistered component: across the web, around the web, and mounting cameras:

Across The Web Misregistration

to Combat Misregistration in Printing

Oftentimes misregistration occurs across the web. When this occurs it’s possible that the plates could be lining up but not the sleeves.

Start by checking to ensure that your sleeve is mounted to the mandrel properly, if everything looks good, it could be a malfunctioning web guide, where the internal sensor has gone bad and is falsely signaling errors.

Generally, these errors occur with your sleeve, meaning all of your plates will line up; however, you’ll still experience misregistration around the web (discussed below) with your image carrier. 

Around the Web Misregistration

When experiencing around the web misregistration, ensuring that your gearing is correct is paramount.

Attempting to run a sleeve with incorrect gear diameters can substantially throw off the alignment of your prints. Additionally, it’s important to check the condition and wear on your gears as even one misaligned, broken, or bent gear can cause serious defects to your prints. 

If your gears are warped, broken, or otherwise compromised, the quality of your prints will decrease exponentially over time. 

Misregistration by Mounting Cameras

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Flexo press operators are no stranger to the importance of mounting cameras. And while you may think your cameras will never get touched, bumped, or moved, mistakes are inevitable and it’s important to always check their alignment and ensure they haven’t become misaligned.

Identifying the cause of your misregistration is only the start of the battle, fixing the issue, on the other hand, can be overwhelming due to the plethora of press locations where misregistration can occur. Consulting your image carrier expert will ensure that you’re preserving your plates and sleeves while minimizing press downtime. 

Misregistration in Printing: Don’t Face It Alone

Identifying the cause of your misregistration is only the start of the battle, fixing the issue, on the other hand, can be overwhelming due to the plethora of press locations where misregistration can occur. Consulting your image carrier expert will ensure that you’re preserving your plates and sleeves while minimizing press downtime. 

When it comes to printing defects, consulting the experts is of paramount importance to reducing costly shutdowns, press damage, or operator injury. Luminite’s team of experts has been providing high-quality printing solutions since 1926 and has proven experience dealing with printing defects. 

For help identifying other printing defects download the guide below, or contact us here with any flexo printing questions:

Tags: printing defects, flexo printing defects, Flexo Troubleshooting, Flexo 101

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