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flexographic printing diagram

Flexo printing is a high-pressure method, used often for packaging and labels, where the printing plate comprises an elastic printing plate (printing block). The thin fluid color is applied by the anilox roll onto the printing block and from there directly printed onto the printing substrate by exerting reduced pressure.

The flexible packaging, label and folding carton segments benefit from the advantages of flexo printing, such as quickly changing the print length by simply changing the format cylinder, optional integration of processing units, printing speeds to 2000 ft./min, and printing widths to 79 inches. Six to ten color flexopress models are becoming common.

Stack Flexo Printing

Flexographic - stack printing

The first type developed for flexography, s a multi-color stack press is where all the color stations are oriented vertically – in a stack. Foil or paper runs through each printing station as it lays down successive colors. 2-sided (duplex) printing is possible with this setup.

Some Flexo stack presses use two parallel stacks, the web of substrate taking a U-shaped path through the press. Each color station possesses its own independent set of ink rollers, plate cylinder, and impression cylinder.

Flexographic - stack - diagram

Compact Design

The level of automation of these high-end machines nearly reaches that of central cylinder flexo printing machines (described below). These machines are very compact and feature a shorter path length that highly improves the printing quality.

Advantages

Frequent use of "on-the-fly roll changers"

Electric positioning through positioning spindles

Example Solution

Automation

Drives


Four printing units (18 synchronous axes)

Positioning of form cylinders, anilox roll
(24 positioning axes)

Winder, infeed, web transport

PLC, HMI, Distributed I/O


Compact design of printing unit drives and positioning drives through double motor modules

Due to the power compensation, the winders are connected to a common dc link

Flexographic - stacked - topology

Products Used

A

B

C

D

E

SIMATIC S7-1500 PLC

SIMATIC HMI

PROFINET Industrial Communication

SIMATIC ET200 Distributed I/O

SIMOTION D445 Drive-Based Motion Controller

SINAMICS S120 Servo Drives

F

 

G

SIMOTION D435 Drive-Based Motion Controller

SINAMICS S120 Servo Drives

SIMOTICS S Servo Motors

Requirements

Solutions

Flexible Production Types

For Reverse Side Printing
• Individual drives simplify the mechanics

Connection of External Systems

For Path Monitoring and Register Control
• Pulse encoder emulation with TM41 also for virtual axes

Many Product Changes

Minimized Startup Waste
• High-speed pre-register through electric synchronization

Many Axes

Same Performance
• 2-axis modules with minimum space requirements

Long Motor Cable

Connected to a Common DC Bus
• Low-cost Basic Line infeed modules (BLM)

Variable Format Cylinders

Variable Moments of Inertia
• High-speed control circuits with DSC
• Mechatronic tools

Register Coupling

Printing and Plate Cylinders
• Positioning method for different formats with absolute encoders


In-Line Flexo Printing

In this configuration, print stations are set horizontally. 2-sided printing is possible, using a turnbar. An in-line press can print on heavier substrates, such as corrugated boards.

Flexographic - inline - diagram

Flexographic - inline

Example Solution

The machine has a modular design. Motion Control and automation are performed centrally in a SIMOTION D445. The printing units and machining stations (imprinting, bleed borders, etc.) are driven by DC Motor Modules and centrally arranged. Due to the power compensation via a common DC link, the modules - e.g. unwinders, winders, pull stations - are centrally arranged. When mechanically replacing the printing unit modules in the machine and removing the relevant motors, you can flexibly respond to this modified machine mechanics by deactivating switching over the relevant data records.

Flexographic - inline - topology

Solutions

A

B

C

D

SIMATIC HMI

PROFINET Industrial Communication

SIMATIC S7-1500 PLC

SIMOTION D Drive-Based Motion Controller

SINAMICS S120 Servo Drives

E

F

SIMOTICS S Servo Motors

Integrated Register Control

Requirements

Solutions

Outstanding Product Quality

Superior Control Quality of Counterpressure and Plate Cylinder
• Virtual master for all axes
• High-speed control circuits with DSC

Connection of External Systems

For Path Monitoring and Register Control
• Pulse encoder emulation with TM41 also for virtual axes

Many Axes

Same Performance
• 2-axis modules with minimum space requirements
• SINAMICS S120 Compact Motor Module

Long Motor Cable

Connected to a Common DC Bus
• Active Interface Module (AIM) with Active Line infeed units (ALM) for clean power supplies
• Low-cost Basic Line (BLM) infeed modules

Variable Format Cylinders

Variable Moments of Inertia
• Mechatronic tools
• High-speed control circuits with DSC

Different Printing Methods

Combined in One Machine
• Single-axis AC motor modules can be combined with DC motor modules
• Deactivation of components in order to replace printing modules


Central Impression Cylinder

Instead of the printing units being independent from the others, here they are all grouped around a common impression cylinder. Substrates do not stretch as they move around the impression cylinder so the common impression cylinder press is a good choice for printing on substrates such as thin plastics that would normally stretch when used on other types of presses.

Flexographic - central impression cylinder - diagram

Flexographic - central impression cylinder

Example Solution

The automation concept is based on three module sets for an 8-color system comprised of four printing unit modules (per module with two printing units), an unwinder module, a winder module and a machine module. All seven modules (controllers) are synchronized via PROFINET, ET200 distributed peripherals are optionally used for inputs / outputs.

Printing Unit Modules

Machine Modules

Winders and Unwinders

A central drum flexo printing machine always shows an even number of printing units (6, 8 or 10)

SIMOTION D435

• CI main drive

• Infeed roller

• Drag roller

SIMOTION D425

A SIMOTION D435 with SINAMICS Integrated and a CU320 control unit

6+6 SINAMICS provide axes for two printing units each

Flexographic - central - topology

Products Used

A

B

C

D

E

SIMATIC S7-1500 PLC

SIMATIC HMI

PROFINET Industrial Communication

SIMATIC ET200 Distributed I/O

SIMOTION D425 Drive-Based Motion Controller

SINAMICS S120 Servo Drives

F

G

SIMOTION D435 Drive-Based Motion Controller

SINAMICS S120 Servo Drives

SIMOTICS S Servo Motors

Requirements

Solutions

Outstanding Product Quality

Superior Control Quality of the Central Cylinder
• Directly driven central cylinder
• Direct-mount high-precision measuring system
• Virtual master for all axes

Connection of External Systems

For Path Monitoring and Register Control
• Pulse encoder emulation with TM41 also for virtual axes

Many Product Changes

Minimized Startup Waste
• High-speed pre-register through electric synchronization

Many Axes

Same Performance
• 2-axis modules with minimum space requirements

Long Sum Cable Length

Connected to a Common DC Bus
• BLM as a non-regenerative infeed unit.
• ALM + AIM as closed-loop regenerative infeed units “without“ line harmonics

Variable Format Cylinders

Variable Moments of Inertia
• High-speed control circuits with DSC
• Mechatronic tools

Cylinder Positioning with Spindles and Absolute Position Feedback

Requires a High Acceleration Torque at Low Speeds and Low Holding Torques
• Real absolute encoder
• 1FK7 servomotor with high overload factor
• Low-speed winding version with reduced power requirements

Explosion Protection for Motors

For Solvent-Containing Colors and Depending on the Installation Position
• Low-cost standard option for zone 2
• 1FS6 EEX-D motors for zone 1


Corrugated Board Printing

Flexographic - corrugated board

Low-cost, light-weight and inherently stable, corrugated board has remained the preferred transport packaging material for many years. It combines effective optimum product protection with reduced use of material, together with particularly low weight and outstanding machining capacities. Depending on the intended use and load requirements, a differentiation is made between single, double and triple corrugated boards.

Corrugated Board Printing Details

  • Material speeds of to 1150 ft./min

  • Material thickness ranging from 0.04 to 0.6 in.

  • Sheet sizes ranging from 18 x 20 to 75 x 217 in.

  • Up to eight printing units per machine

Example Solution

This four-color machine consists of a sheet layer, a sheet feeder, a rotational punch and four printing units. All seven modules are synchronized via PROFINET. The machine is controlled via a SIMATIC S7.

Using a modular design, motion control and automation are performed decentrally. Each module is equipped with a separate controller (SIMOTION D445/D435) actuating the associated drives. Optionally, one or more CX32 control units for further axes may extend the D4x5. This allows commissioning all modules independently from each other.

Flexographic - corrugated board - topology

Solutions

A

B

C

D

E

F

Manufacturing Execution System (MES)

SIMATIC S7-1500 PLC

PROFINET Industrial Communication

SIMATIC ET200 Distributed I/O

SCALANCE X Network Switch

SIMOTION D445 Drive-Based Motion Controller

SINAMICS S120 Servo Drives, CX32

G

 

H

 

I

SIMOTION D435 Drive-Based Motion Controller

SINAMICS S120 Servo Drives

SIMOTION D445/435 Drive-Based Motion Controller

SINAMICS S120 Servo Drives, CX32

SIMOTICS S Servo Motors

Requirements

Solutions

Outstanding Product Quality

Superior control quality

Modular Design Supported

Synchronization via PROFINET to connect the individual units to one machine

Safety Functions

Integrated safety functions of SINAMICS S120 according to IEC 61800-5-2

Compact Design

Modular Setup
• Book Size: Infeed (BLM/ALM) to 120kW
• Chassis Size: Infeed (BLM/ALM) to 900 kW
• Book Size: Single-axis / double-axis motor modules to 107 kW
• Line voltage ranging from 3 AC 380V to 480V

Servomotors

• Synchronous / induction and torque motors in compact design with natural cooling / forced cooling and water cooling ranging from 0.05 to 180kW

• Motors with low intrinsic moment of inertia

Functionality

Specific corrugated board printing functions can be implemented in SIMOTION products used


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