Trelleborg Top Ten Printing Facts

Ideas for the
Long Run
What’s in a blanket?
Top Facts on Printing Blankets
In this document we shall explore the effects of
using different printing blankets on print quality
and efficiency. In particular, we will look at the
importance of using the correct printer blanket
for the correct application and the physical
properties required.
For the purposes of this paper we will look at
3 separate categories of printing.
1. Commercial Web
2. Newspaper
3. Sheetfed
1. Commercial Web
There are 6 areas of concern when
considering printing blankets for heatset
printing applications.
1.1 Feeding and release
1.2 Ink or paper build up
An inappropriate or poor quality printing
blanket will inevitably lead to paper wastage
in the feed and release stage. This is down to
poor contact between paper and blanket and
the paper becoming misaligned.
Printing blankets can suffer from gauge loss
over time and this can lead to ink or paper
build up on the blanket. This leads to the
printing of unusable product and therefore
more unnecessary print cycles and wasted
paper. Another cost implication comes from
the need to purchase cleaning chemicals.
Using an inappropriate blanket can also lead
to double registrations. Obviously, this
wastes paper, ink and time as it produces
an unusable product – so it is best avoided.
Paper breaks can also occur in the feed and
release stage if the wrong blanket is used.
So ultimately, there are a number of ways in
which poor quality or inappropriate printing
blankets can lead to wastage of energy,
resources and time leading to a reduction
in productivity.
Trelleborg develops their own rubber
compounds to fit the required physical
characteristics of all of their printing blankets
and following rigorous testing have also
relocated the compressible layer to cater
for all heatset applications. Relocating this
compressible layer gives the blanket durability
and superior response to compression providing
greater printing quality without paper breakages
or double registration. Via the engineering and
testing process of the top surface compounds
the likelihood of these problems occurring is
further reduced by the blanket offering perfect
grip and release of the printing surface.
The high quality materials and engineering
that go into Trelleborg printing blankets mean
better durability and greater smash resistance
and recovery. This leads to less gauge loss
over time avoiding the problems mentioned
above. The properties of Trelleborg top surface
compounds give perfect ink and water affinity
and this also helps avoid build up.
1.3 Print quality
1.4 Wash cycle
Low quality printing blankets lead to low quality
ink transfer. Poor dot reproduction and dot
gain lead to wasted ink and excessively dark
images. For colour printing this will mean poor
registration of colours.
Wash cycles are inevitable but obviously represent
costly down time whilst still using valuable
energy and paper.
Trelleborg virtually eradicate these problems
by precisely engineering the properties of their
printing blankets. Trelleborg’s approach is to
control the whole process of development,
manufacturing and, crucially, testing their
products to destruction. This has led to a
world leading understanding of the long term
performance of materials in the most demanding
industrial environments.
Trelleborg printing blankets keep wash cycles to
a minimum because they clean up so well during
printing cycles. This is because of attention paid
to the surface chemistry of top layer compounds
in the development process. As previously
mentioned their superior durability means less
gauge loss and therefore less ink and paper
build up.
1.5 Paper breakage
1.6 Vibration and streak
Productivity can be hit hard by paper breakage
with some machines taking an hour to restart.
Vibration and streak can be a problem in older
Trelleborg printing blankets maintain perfect
tension in the paper due to the location of the
compressible layer and the physical properties
of the top layer.
The Trelleborg range includes blankets especially
designed for older machines. These products
have the “reboundability” to minimise vibration
and streak.
2. Newspaper
Here we will highlight 5 areas directly
relevant to the choice of printing blanket
for coldset printing applications.
2.1 Feeding and release
2.2 Print Quality
Feeding and release in coldset printing is a
crucial area for printing blanket performance as
this process carries a high risk of registration
doubling and paper breakage.
Printing blanket quality and print quality are
inextricably linked and coldset printing is
no exception. Problems such as poor dot
reproduction, low quality ink transfer and
poor registration of colours are all directly
associated with printing blanket quality.
Trelleborg printing blankets have been developed
and tested specifically to mitigate these risks.
The physical performance achieved by optimal
positioning of the compressible layer keeps
the paper under just the right tension. The top
surface compounds used offer superior grip
and release.
Trelleborg printing blankets have a unique
carcass structure that retains the integrity and
performance of the product through many millions
of impressions. This and the chemical properties
of the top layer keep printing quality high
throughout the long lifetime of the blanket.
2.3 Paper dust or piling
2.5 Paper breakage
This problem affects print quality as paper dust
builds up on the blanket.
With the productivity implications of paper
breakage it is obviously something to avoid. The
coldset printing process carries a high risk of this
occurring and choosing the right blanket is an
important factor.
Trelleborg printing blankets have the surface
properties to minimise this issue giving better
print quality for longer.
2.4 Make ready wastage
The all round capabilities of Trelleborg printing
blankets gives them the ability to reduce energy
wastage while the machine is warming up.
The relationship between the printing blanket
and the paper is important. Trelleborg blankets
are engineered to maintain optimal tension in
the paper and just the right amount of grip.
3. Sheetfed
UV inks offer a unique set of challenges to
the printer and the printing blanket.
3.1 UV inks
3.2 UV washes
Over time UV inks permeate the blanket and
affect its performance. Dot gain and other
print quality issues are also common.
Washing solvents can also damage the
printing blanket surface over time. High
quality blankets that can tolerate a wide range
of chemicals are a must.
The Trelleborg range includes printing blankets
specially designed for use with UV inks. The
top layer is engineered to resist permeation by
the ink and maintain performance over a long
lifetime. Trelleborg UV printing blankets feature
excellent ink transfer and release.
Trelleborg’s approach to product development
and rigorous testing has produced different top
surfaces with remarkable resistance to polar or
non-polar solvent washes.
This specialist application requires a
specialist printing blanket.
3.3 Printing substrate
This type of printing uses relatively thick and
complex substrates. This places great and
unusual stresses on the printing blanket.
Trelleborg’s dedicated blanket for packaging
combines smash resistance and compressibility
to give an ultra durable product. This blanket
is designed with versatility in mind and can be
used on a wide range of packaging substrates.
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