Some of the most important pieces of equipment package printers and converters use also happen to be some of the most fragile. Yet, when it comes to the care and maintenance of dies, anvils and cylinders, many print shops fall short of keeping these crucial pieces of equipment at their peak performance.
Among the key things to avoid are dings, dents, and dulling.
Wade Fouts, vice president of sales for Wilson Manufacturing frequently sees dies being run using too much pressure. Whether it’s a flexible die mounted on a magnetic cylinder or a solid rotary die, it should be run using the least amount of pressure possible, while still maintaining a quality cut and impression, says Fouts.
“One thing I often see is press operators putting the die on and just turning up the pressure, regardless of the material they’re cutting and the configuration of the die,” Fouts explains. “Every die requires a different amount of pressure.”
Once an operator has determined the lightest level of pressure that will keep the die working well, there will eventually come a time when that pressure needs to be turned up. Dies wear down over time, so when this occurs, increasing the pressure slightly to a “level 2” amount is expected.
Still, Fouts says, as the die is in motion and puts pressure on its bearers, heat is generated, which causes the steel to expand. This thermal expansion, Fouts says, also increases the pressure on the die.
“If that pressure that was initially set at 1,000 pounds, it might be up to 1,100 or 1,200 pounds, strictly due to thermal expansion,” he explains. “It’s not because they increased the force of the screws, but because of growth of the steel. When that happens—in a perfect world—the operator would back the screws off and take it back to the original 1,000 pounds and continue to run it.”