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3M delivers 'ultimate' in performance

06 May 2010

High-specification flexographic mounted tapes from 3M are said to be helping deliver optimum quality and safety for one of the UK’s players in the food packaging industry.

From its state of the art facility in Grimsby, Ultimate Packaging produces a range of flexible packaging solutions to customers including Young’s Seafood and Aunt Bessie’s, and is an approved printer to every UK food retailer.

During the printing process, tapes are required to seal the edges of the plates to prevent the ingress of solvents from the ink underneath the plate and eliminate plate edge lift.

While the industry has traditionally used aluminium foil tapes for this task, Ultimate Packaging has chosen to use vinyl tapes from 3M for both performance and safety reasons.

John Fisher of Ultimate Packaging explained: “The use of aluminium foils for plate edge sealing can be the source of a node for static electric charges generated within the flexographic print process to discharge, which may take the form of a spark rather than follow the path of the installed earth on the printing presses. Given that we are working with solvent-based inks, that is not acceptable - as a company committed to best practice, we trialled a number of alternatives but now always use 3M Vinyl Tape 471.

“We find it easier to apply and remove than aluminium foil and there is no risk of a static spark discharging from this product as it contains no metal.”

This product is a vinyl plastic film with a synthetic rubber adhesive, specifically designed for sealing, and is available transparent and a wide choice of colours.

Ultimate Packaging also uses 3M tapes to mount the flexographic photopolymer printing plates to conductive polyurethane printing sleeves.

3M Cushion-Mount Plus Plate Mounting Tape comes in a variety of foam densities to govern the quantity of ink transferred from the print cylinder to the print medium.

Each product is a double-coated medium density polyethylene foam tape with acrylic adhesive on each side of the carrier.

John Fisher continued: “What we require from our mounting materials is a product that is consistently manufactured to the highest standard in a range of densities enabling us to optimise the mounting selection for each separate colour and so delivering the best possible printing results.

“Once again this is an area where we have examined a number of alternatives but the consistency offered by the 3M tapes far outweighs that offered by other products.”

Jason Burnham of 3M’s Industrial Adhesives & Tapes Division added: “Ultimate Packaging is an excellent example of a company which is not prepared to compromise on performance or safety when it comes to plate mounting and sealing. As a result the company continues to win new business from leading food industry players.”


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