Your FAQs answered on 3M’s flexo plate mounting tape
What is flexo plate mounting tape?
Flexo plate mounting tape, also known as stickyback tape, is a double-sided foam or vinyl tape that adheres a flexographic printing plate onto printing sleeves or cylinders.
Is stickyback tape and flexo mounting tape the same?
Yes, the two terms are used interchangeably in flexographic printing.
Why is plate mounting tape important?
The type of plate mounting tape used can impact printing quality, press speeds, and plate integrity. If the wrong type of mounting tape is used, it can result in a poor-quality print or a damaged print plate—both of which impact press efficiency.
How do you mount a flexographic printing plate with mounting tape?
Step-by-step instructions for mounting a flexo printing plate:
- Make sure your cylinder and plate are clear of tape residue, grease, and ink.
- Apply the mounting tape directly onto the cylinder with a rubber roller and apply uniform pressure until evenly adhered.
- Remove the tape liner, but do not discard.
- Using two pieces of tape liner, mask off the front and back sections of the tape, leaving a gap of exposed adhesive.
- Position the plate properly, referencing the registration marks, so that the plate covers the exposed tape seam, and use your finger to tack the plate into place.
- Gently lift the plate to remove the remaining tape liner underneath.
- While rotating the cylinder, use a rubber roller to adhere the plate to the mounting tape starting at the middle and applying uniform pressure from edge to edge. Apply firm pressure to the leading and trailing plate edges to ensure they are properly secured.
- Inspect your mounted plate and look for air bubbles or lighter areas where the plate is not properly adhered. Apply pressure to any unadhered areas with the rubber roller.
- Trim the tape edge to your liking (optional), but leave at least ¼” of exposed tape beyond the plate.
How do you demount a flexographic printing plate from mounting tape?
Step-by-step instructions for removing a flexo printing plate from mounting tape:
- Release an edge of the print plate from the tape by using a small flat rigid tool or your fingers. Be careful not to damage the plate or distort the plate with kinks.
- At a slow and steady speed, peel the plate from the tape.
- As you approach the seam, peel the plate diagonally from the tape seam for an even removal of the plate.
How do you get air bubbles out of mounting tape?
To prevent air bubbles in mounting tape, roll out the tape evenly at a consistent speed and apply uniform pressure with a rubber roller when adhering the tape to the cylinder, or the plate to the tape.
To virtually eliminate all air bubbles from mounting, explore 3M’s crosshatched plate mounting tape (available in E-Series, L-Series, and Pro-Series) which allows air to flow through unique micro-channels during application, making air bubbles disappear.
What are the different types of plate mounting tape?
Flexo plate mounting tapes are made of either vinyl or foam and vary in density, thickness, and adhesion strength depending on the printing use.
Mounting tape density can be hard (vinyl), or cushioned (foam). Within the density and thickness spectrum, mounting tapes can range from soft to firm with numerous degrees in between.
How do you choose which flexo mounting tape to use?
Consider the size and type of substrate you’re printing onto, the resolution of the image, the cylinder diameter, and the press speed when choosing which flexo mounting tape to use.
How to Choose Mounting Tape Density
For larger and more porous substrates, use harder mounting tapes like vinyl to create clean lines and saturated colors with speed. For more detail, choose a softer foam mounting tape.
How to Choose Mounting Tape Adhesion Strength
For smaller cylinders, choose a mounting tape with stronger adhesion to keep the edges of the plate from lifting off the cylinder. Stronger plate adhesion is also ideal for faster press speeds.
Which plate mounting tape is best for wide web flexo printing?
Harder plate mounting tapes (like vinyl) are best for wide web flexo printing because of their crisp lines, larger dot gain, and faster press speeds.
Because of the size of wide web flexo printing, efficient printing is most important so that you can print more products in less time. Hard and firm mounting tapes increase the press speed, making them the ideal choice for wide web printing.
Which plate mounting tape is best for medium web flexo printing?
A standard combination mounting tape provides a versatile effect with consistent quality for medium web flexo printing. Depending on the substrate, press speed, and image resolution, the plate mounting tape can be optimized to fit your printing needs.
Which plate mounting tape is best for narrow web flexo printing?
Compressible foam plate mounting tape is best for narrow web flexo printing.
Narrow web printing runs at lower press speeds and is typically used for higher-resolution prints. Softer foam plate mounting tapes allow for smaller dot gain (and more detail) so both the color and print are accurate.
What are the differences between the different types of 3M mounting tapes?
At Anderson & Vreeland, we carry a variety of 3M Plate Mounting Tapes including:
The 3M E-Series Plate Mounting Tapes are an economical choice for quality sticky back tape. It utilizes the crosshatching air-release function to eliminate air bubbles with a higher plate adhesion to resist edge lifting. It is also designed to allow plates to peel off easily—reducing plate damage and optimizing press production.
The 3M L-Series Plate Mounting Tape collection builds on the air-release and plate adhesion features of the E-Series for higher-quality prints and faster, cleaner mounting. With a variety of cushion-mount densities, the L-Series mounting tapes are ideal for printing combinations of solid ink, process, and combination printing.
The 3M Pro-Series Plate Mounting Tape line comes in eight different foam densities with an integrated reinforcement layer for pro-quality printing. With advanced technology to reduce plate waste and optimize printing operations, plate removal is up to78% easier with the Pro-Series tape (when compared to the H-series), and removing the tape from the sleeve is up to 54% easier. Printing with Pro-Series plate mounting tape preserves your plates, increases printing efficiency, and provides consistent high-quality images.
What is the best flexo plate mounting tape?
3M plate mounting tape delivers consistent high-quality print results and offers the largest range of tape densities in the printing industry. Their adhesives are designed to enhance productivity and efficiency in the printing process.
Explore the collection of 3M Plate Mounting Tapes available at Anderson & Vreelend, here.
Don’t see your mounting tape question answered? Reach out to the experts at Anderson & Vreeland for all your flexo printing needs: contact us today.