Flexology, or the more common term of flexo relates to a type of printing that is required to store pictures and other materials in an upright position. It usually involves having a system of flexible sleeves and storage racks that can be manually operated or automated. The process itself is actually called flexography and it can be used for a variety of commercial printing involving substrate.
That might include plastic, metallic films, cellophane, and paper. It works by using a flexible relief plate and has become popular medium for printing on the substrates needed for various types of food packaging. This type of printing has been around for a long time, well over a hundred years, and it is suitable when there is a need for printing large areas of solid colour.
1. Specific requirements for flexographic printing
This form of printing also has some specific requirements when it comes to the materials used. This means some advantages and some limitations when it comes to various types of proofs, template and die cut specifications. There are also sometimes issues with knockouts, drop shadows, fonts, tints, ink colors, image resolution and image formats. All of that means that the design and file preparation can greatly affect the quality of printing you get from flexography. It also means that you must pay close attention and master its specific requirements which differ from the more familiar offset printing.
There are minimum font sizes used for both positive and reversed serif types are based on the type of web press and whether you are printing to specific substrates like corrugated coated paper or polyester film. There are also different types of fonts that must be used in this form of printing. The minimum font range is 4 point to 10 point type, and reversed types can be difficult to use in some flexographic printing.
2. Flexible sleeves
After the flexographic printing process is completed the panels that are produced need to be hung in special containers which are called sleeves. These flexible sleeves need to be kept safe and dry so that they be brought out when a new batch of materials needs to be developed. Over the years there have been many different flexible sleeve systems developed.
Automation and mechanization have helped to modern the process from the early days when workers hung the products one by one. Today the modern style of sleeve storage systems components that can be matched to any client’s needs and preferences. They are quite easy to assembly and even easier to maintain. The new systems offer open access to all the sleeves, as well as safe storage that can prevent damage to the materials and extend the life of the sleeves.
3. Storage options
There are two main types of flexible sleeve storage systems that include both the old-style manually operated system and the new automated sleeve storage system. The older sleeve storage system does allow for the easy access, retrieval and the storage of sleeves when you need them, but they are slower to use and require more effort and manpower. The automatic sleeve storage systems work by utilizing a motorized horizontal movement of the racks through electric motors.
This type of system allows the user to input a number on the touchscreen interface, and the system will direct the racks to automatically open to the specific rack where the chosen sleeves are stored. Both systems are quite effective. The only real difference is that the automated sleeve system will cost more to purchase. But there may also be savings from human resources from the automated system as well.
4. Advantages of flexible storage systems
Both styles of storage systems can be custom designed to meet any customer’s requirements. These sleeve storage systems are e made from tubular steel that makes them sturdy and safe to operate. Their modular design also gives them more flexibility. Flexible sleeve storage systems are an effective and efficient use of valuable storage space. They allow for the trouble-free movement of racks from side to side to create an access aisle exactly where you might need it.
This helps the sleeves to be well organized and protected from damage. Automatic sleeve storage systems are faster, but all of these systems are all modular which allows for the ability to be expanded on any time the need arises for more flexible sleeve storage in the future.