Flexographic Printing

flexographic and digital printed labels

Midwest Label Supply is both a flexographic printer for large run labels and a digital label printer for shorter runs. Contact us today with your project!

MLS is a flexographic printer and converter with capabilities to print on a wide variety of substrates. Our strength is serving specialty markets. We offer creativity and a focus on emerging technologies.

In case you are looking for some flexographic terminology:

Anilox Roll

Mechanically or laser-engraved roll for transfer of ink to printing plate. Specifications are in lines per inch and cell volume (ex. 800-line anilox will transfer a thinner film of ink than a 300-line anilox).

Bleed

An extra amount of printed image which extends beyond the trim. Typically bleed is 1/16 inch for pressure sensitive die cut labels.

Blocking

Substrate sticking to itself after being printed and rewound. Image often transfers to back-side of other label.

Caliper

The thickness of the substrate usually measured in thousandths of an inch (mils). "Microns" (metric) are specified for some substrates.

Cell Count

The number of cells per inch on an anilox roll.

Cell Volume

The amount of ink an anilox cell can hold specified or measured in billions of cubic microns (bem).

CMYK Color

Model A color model based upon the subtractive primaries cyan, magenta, yellow and black. New colors are formed by combining cmyk in varying reflectance intensities (commonly referred to as 4-color process). Black is used to provide increased darkness.

Coefficient of Friction

(COF) The ratio of frictional force resisting movement of the surface being tested to the force applied normal to that surface. Measured as static (from a dead stop) and kinetic (moving across the surface).

Color Correction

Any method such as masking, dot etching, re-etching and scanning, used to improve color rendition.

Computer toPlate (CPT)

System System designed to image printing plated directly from computer data therefore eliminating the need for film production and the use of contact plates.

Curl

"Upturn" (face) or "downturn" (backside) condition existing when printed matter is held in a vertical position. Curl may be TD (transverse direction) or MD (machine direction).

Density

The degree of darkness (light absorption or opacity) of a photographic or printed image.

Diecutting

A finishing operation whereby some geometric shape is cut from the printed piece by pressing it against a flat, curved or cylindrical surface with cutting and creasing edges (done in-line at ROI).

Digital Proofing

Using a computer output device to create a facsimile image of how the printed piece will appear after printing.

Doctor

Blade Thin, flexible steel, plastic or composite blade that passes over a gravure plate cylinder or flexographic anilox roll wiping off excess ink before ink is transferred to substrate or plate.

Dot Gain

The change in apparent size of printing dot from the film/plate to the substrate. Also referred to as tone value increase.

Dots per Inch (dpi)

A measure of the resolution of a screen image. ROI recommends printing high quality digital images at no less that 300 dpi.

Fine Printing

Flexography is the latest fine printing process. It rivals and can sometimes exceed the quality of lithography.

Flexography

A form of rotary web letterpress using flexible rubber or photopolymer plates and fast-drying solvent, water-based or UV inks. Photopolymer plates with raised surfaces that transfer ink to the substrate are mounted to print cylinders using double faced adhesive (stickyback).

Grain Direction

The alignment of cellulose fibers in a paper or paperboard substrate.

Halftones

A printed image of a continuous-tone original (like a photograph) that is composed of tiny dots to create the illusion of continuous-tone though printed with only single density. Halftones are reproduced in screen values for flexographic printing from 80 line (carton, fiber board and course papers) to 300 line (high gloss, smooth finish papers). The majority of high quality flexographic printing uses 133 to 150 lines screened halftones.

Lithography

(Also Offset) A printing process whereby image transfer is accomplished through the use of plates with a flat surface. Where image areas accept ink, non-image areas accept a water/alcohol solution that repels ink. The ink is then transferred to a rubber blanket and subsequently to the substrate. Nip Line of contact between two rollers.

Overs/Unders

Copies printed varying from the specified quantity. Depending on the quantity ordered, the standard in our industry is usually 10%, unless otherwise specified.

OTR

Term used in pouching material. Odor Transmission Rate. How fast the odor will pass through the substrate.

Plate Gap

The space left when the plates are wrapped around the cylinder. No copy or image can be printed in this area that is usually 1/8" wide.

Plate Cylinder

The cylinder of a press on which the plate is mounted.

Prepress

A general phase of production that includes all operations taking place before presswork (like design, scanning, page layout and platemaking).

Process Color

The use of cyan, magenta, yellow and black halftone images to create full-color printed reproductions.

Proof

A facsimile image of the final printed piece created before presswork begins. Used for evaluation by production staff and customer prior to printing.

Register

The fitting of two or more images on top of each other in exact alignment.

Rewinding

The process of rewinding a roll of substrate to produce a proper size for the customer, to splice the ends together and/or to remove defects.

Rotogravure

The printing process that involves the principal of engraving. An engraved cylinder is immersed in a fluid ink; the ink is wiped or doctored from the surface of the cylinder; and the ink left in the recessed area of the cylinder is transferred to the substrate.

Screen Printing

A printing process that employs stencils adhered to tightly drawn screens in flat or cylindrical configurations. Ink is forced through the openings in the stencil and onto the substrate. This process is well suited for printing materials like glass, wood, thick plastics and textiles; or where heavy coverage of ink is required to create desired opacity.

Slitting

Cutting printed sheets or webs into two or more sections by means of cutting wheels on a press or rewinder.

Solvent

Liquid that dissolves a solid. In ink, the evaporation of solvent leaves the solids behind as an ink film on the substrate.

Stochastic

A halftone screen where the dots are of unequal size and tones created by varying the concentration of dots.

Substrate

Any printing surface (paper, polypropylene, polyester, PVC, PETG, etc.).

Trapping

The creating of slight overlap between background and foreground colors to compensate for technical limitations of the printing process. Lithography (offset) will hold .004" while flexography should have art prepared for a minimum of .010".

Viscosity

The property of an ink defined as the resistance to flow or simply the fluidity or thickness of the ink.

WVTR

Term used in pouching material - Water Vapor Transmission Rate. How fast moisture passes through the substrate.

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