With increasingly complex print jobs, shrinking lead times, and lingering supply chain issues, printing companies are challenged to get more out of their press room. Thankfully, tapes can be an affordable, straightforward way to optimize press performance.
The 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division applies the science of adhesion to flexographic printing. As specialists in on-press solutions, 3M offers the most advanced tape solutions available in the industry.
In this post, we provide an overview of 3M adhesive science for flexographic printers. You’ll find solutions for mounting, splicing, edge sealing, and corrugated applications.
Not all flexographic tapes are created equal. 3M continues to rollout industry innovation so you can shrink downtime and run your presses faster without sacrificing quality. Plus, innovations in plate mounting tapes have even introduced enhancements to worker safety.
How can a tape do all that? Stick with us and we’ll tell you how….
Presses are running faster, so reliability in your printing adhesives is critical. Whether it’s lifting plate edges or failed splices, press failures can be costly. 3M is passionate about creating adhesives that keep your print jobs running smoothly on nearly any substrate.
Plate Mounting Tapes
We’re bringing sticky-back. One of the make-or-break decisions of flexographic printing is which mounting tape to use. Here’s what the flexographic mounting tapes from 3M have to offer:
- Strong edge hold to prevent lifting
- Unique air-release technology to prevent bubbles
- The industry’s tightest caliper tolerances, so you know the end of the roll is the same thickness as the beginning
- The industry’s widest variety of thickness, density, and adhesion to meet the needs of every print job
All these features are available from the E&H-Series – offering process efficiency for routine print jobs.
Helping you “pull off” a great print job. With its L-Series, 3M introduced advanced adhesive technology that makes it 78% easier to remove the plate from the tape.
Customers loved it and asked 3M to go one step further and make a tape that was easier to remove from the sleeve, too. 3M answered with their Pro-Series – offering faster removal with up to 54% less force.
With significant reductions in both plate and tape removal force, 3M mounting tapes lessen the risk of plate damage, reduce de-mount time, and put far less strain on the operator.
Click through to see the 3M Cushion Mount™ Pro-Series in action at Menasha Packaging:
3M Plate Edge Sealing
Some printers use adhesives to seal flexo plates after they’ve been mounted to a cylinder or sleeve. This can be helpful in challenging print situations such as tight repeats, plates with image area to the edge of the plate, and plates with edge curling due to repeated use.
Tapes and sealants protect against ink and solvent penetration that can cause edge lifting. They also help eliminate any weakening in the bond between plate and mounting tape.
When that extra assurance is required, 3M offers a range of plate edge sealing solutions, including:
- Scotch-Weld™ Hot Melt Bonding System
- Single Coated Tapes
The adhesive tapes, which include aluminum foil, vinyl tape, or polyester film tape, bond on contact to seal plate edges.
Edge Sealing with Hot Melt Glue
3M Splittable Flying Splice Tape
With web breaks on a flexographic press costing $500 to $1,000 each, reducing them can quickly add thousands of dollars each year to a converter’s bottom line. One way to do that is using an innovative splittable flying splicing tape from 3M.
Splicing tape 8387 is a 7 mil double coated film tape that separates into two single sided tapes. This facilitates faster, clean splicing without the need for glue or other tabs.
The tape lays flat for improved handling. Additionally, it utilizes film, which is far more reliable than paper-based splicing tapes. The 3M adhesive technology provides a stronger and more reliable splitting mechanism, especially on low energy substrates.
Fiber-free splice. Little fibers can have a big impact on your bottom line. The breakout mechanism in competitor splicing tapes have exposed tissue fibers. These fibers release debris which can contaminate your printing blankets and your printing process.
Importantly, 3M splicing tape has a fiber-free construction which eliminates the possibility of small pieces of tape or butterfly tabs breaking off or sticking to the rollers or CI drum. 3M tapes release cleanly allowing for fewer defects, less cleanup, and decreased downtime.
3M Corrugated Tapes
3M has developed a broad range of adhesive solutions for the corrugated board market. Corrugated tapes and flexo supplies include double-sized foam and well as single- and double-sided tapes to make printing on corrugated boards faster, easier, and more consistent.
Corrugated solutions include:
- Adhesive transfer tape 465 to bond a variety of substrates, including paper, paint, and many plastics
- Adhesive transfer tape 927 for foam, gasket attachment, and low surface energy plastics like polyethylene and polypropylene
- Thin flexographic mounting tape
- Flexomount™ plate mounting tape
- Double coated paper tape
Of course, as the tape specialist, 3M offers a wide range of light duty tapes for packaging and general shop functions. These multi-purpose tapes provide reliable, consistent performance.
Plus, 3M offers a range of filament and strapping tapes. These tapes are ideal for sealing boxes, stabilizing pallets, and other needs you have for bundling or reinforcing. Tapes are available with easy tear and clean removal solutions.
3M Tape Takeaways for Flexographic Printers
3M is your all-in-one partner covering all of your flexo tape needs. With its large portfolio of industry-leading productivity-enhancing adhesives, 3M ensures every job that comes off your press consistently exceeds your expectations.
Anderson & Vreeland’s experts in the field will help you determine which tape is right for your press and print jobs. We can walk you through considerations for:
- Foam density
- Plate and substrate material
- Tape adhesion
And, as always, our specialists are backed up with support from 3M’s own field experts and engineers.
We can provide a virtual or in-person demonstration to make sure your press materials are working perfectly. Contact us to set up a consultation or a demonstration.