Flexographic printers know that choosing the right plate mounting tape can make all the difference on a print run. It’s the difference between efficiency and lost time. Between fast and slow changeovers. Between a passable print job and industry leading quality.
Your mounting tape can even make a difference in employee safety!
Bottom line: We can’t overstate the importance of choosing the right plate mounting tape. Perhaps that’s why we’re “stuck” on the innovation from 3M™. Let’s dig in to why we like it so much.
Plate mounting tape: The basics
Plate mounting tape was developed for high-speed flexographic printing. This tape, sometimes referred to as “stickyback tape,” is used to adhere plates to the flexographic sleeve or cylinder.
To meet printers’ needs, plate mounting tape needs to strike the right balance. It needs to be sticky enough to adhere the plate securely to the cylinder. But at the end of the job, it needs to release easily, without tearing the plate or leaving trace residue behind.
3M offers four adhesive systems. This allows printers to select the optimal adhesion for their job and budget. The company’s newest innovation, its Pro-Series Plate Mounting Tape, provides high performance adhesion while offering unprecedented ease in sleeve-side demounting. (More on that below.)
Plate mounting tape also serves as an essential buffer between the printing plate and the cylinder. Mounting tape comes in a range of foam densities, engineered for compression and recovery. Mounting tape foam is designed to:
- Reduce machine vibrations
- Minimize bounce
- Prevent vibration marks
- Absorb minor irregularities in the print cylinder
- Maintain its shape at fast speed and over long print runs
Different densities provide different print performance, depending on the needs of the print run. For example, solid ink coverage works best with a higher density foam, ensuring ink is distributed evenly and densely. But fine screens work best with a softer plate mounting tape. Lower density foam provides more control over ink transfer for the sharpest possible image.
3M offers the widest range of plate mounting tape on the market. Its Cushion-Mount™ line includes eight foam densities that allow printers to fine tune ink transfer and achieve the highest print quality possible.
More on why we recommend 3M plate mounting tape
3M plate mounting tape uses a proprietary crosshatch design that creates unique microchannels in the adhesive. This helps air bubbles escape between the tape and the plate. That means faster setup in the print room – and cleaner print quality for your customers.
3M’s specially formulated adhesive limits edge lift. You get a more secure run, even on small repeats.
Removing flexographic plates in one undamaged piece lets you reuse rather than remake plates, saving both time and money. 3M Cushion-Mount L-Series and Pro-Series mounting tapes are optimized to prevent edge lift, yet flexo plates are up to 78% easier* to remove, reducing tearing.
Safer for your operators
In addition, Pro-Series tapes require up to 54% less force** for removal from the sleeve. This provides a safer, more ergonomic work environment for your employees.
For example, the following photos were captured at Menasha Packaging. The operator in the first set of images is 5’1”. You can see she’s applying considerable force and body weight to remove 3M L-Series tape from the top cylinder. The second photo shows the same operator removing 3M Pro-Series tape from the same cylinder, with no excessive force required.
In the second set of images, the operator is a 6’4” combat veteran. Again, you can see from the photos the difference in force required to remove 3M’s L-Series tape versus its Pro-Series tape. (Catch the Menasha packaging mini video story on the 3M website.)
The photos above say it all. The engineers at 3M don’t rest on their laurels. They’re continually out in the field, training, troubleshooting, and (most importantly) listening.
They’re always striving to find a better way – and they deliver! We count on them for that ongoing dedication to the industry and innovation.
When you want the latest products that perform the best, save your pressroom money, and save your labor – you want 3M.
Contact Anderson & Vreeland for plate mounting tape
Thanks to our expertise in flexographic printing, Anderson & Vreeland sells more stickyback tape to flexo printers than the next three distributors combined. Our specialists are able to recommend the appropriate tape for any press application.
Anderson & Vreeland’s experts in the field will help you determine which mounting tape is right for your press and print jobs. We can walk you through considerations for:
- Foam density
- Plate 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. Call us today to set up a consultation or a demonstration.