Flexographic printing sleeves manufactured In-The-Round (ITR) allow for a seamless, continuous print on a variety of substrates.
You need both efficiency and quality. In most industries, those two production results don’t often come in the same combination. However, ITR sleeves, especially those composed of elastomer blends, bring both speed and accuracy needed for perfect, repeatable prints.
We’ve even taken it a step further with the patented Load-N-Lok air sleeve system, which features the following perks seen virtually nowhere else in the flexographic printing sleeve industry:
- Durable elastomer
- Cost savings with very little downtime and waste
- Doesn’t require an air mandrel
- Multiple jobs at once
- Sleeves don’t have to be the same length as your mandrel
The elastomer blend Load-N-Lok and many other flexographic printing products will be on display at the annual Flexographic Technical Association Fall Conference, Oct. 9-11 in St. Louis. We’ll be at booth 217 highlighting printing materials that yield long-lasting quality.
While we’re looking forward to educational sessions on flexo printing processes and networking, take the time to educate yourself on a choice you’ll have to make: elastomer blends vs. photopolymer.
FTA 2017: Elastomer Blends and Photopolymer Flexographic Printing Sleeves
Both have their perks. Here’s a rundown.
Elastomer refers to a variety of polymer composite materials. In general, printing elastomers are tough substances able to be formed into seamless cylinders and imaged by direct laser ablation. Many additional specialized properties are available with different blends. Elastomer's high strength, seamless manufacture, and wide range of properties make it an ideal choice for jobs involving:
- Long runs
- Bright color
- Specialty or adhesive inks
- High accuracy
- Abrasive substrates
- Large format wide web designs
- Varying repeats
- Tight registration
- High temperature
- High solvents
- Foil stamping
Photopolymer is a class of materials that change their solubility properties through exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Printing photopolymers are manufactured as a flat plate and imaged through a UV exposure-washout process. Plates can be adhered to a printing sleeve permanently during manufacture, or can be mounted by use of a sticky back at press. Photopolymer is often a good choice for work involving:
- Faster turnaround
- Many design changes
- Short one time runs
- Light vignettes
FTA 2017: Choosing Your ITR Flexographic Printing Sleeves
Consider the variables in your printing project. Do you have a job requiring shorter runs and frequently changing images (for instance, product labels with special promotions)? Then a photopolymer sleeve may be best. Do you have a job requiring laying an adhesive on a continuous foil substrate? Then an elastomer blend sleeve may work better.
Do your homework. Ask questions. We’ll be at booth 217 at FTA to help.