What is TruPoint Green?
TruPoint Green is a next generation polymer doctor blade for corrugated printers producing mid-level graphics.
Why was TruPoint Green created?
UHMW has always been the “standard” doctor blade used in corrugated applications. However, as graphics requirements grow, many printers are finding that UHMW can’t meter their mid-level line screen anilox rolls effectively. There is a “gap” between where UHMW is effective and steel is required, on anilox line screens roughly between 300 and 500 LPI (or 120 and 200 l/cm). Corrugated printers are reluctantly turning to steel in these applications even though steel blades don’t last as long and can easily cut press operators.
TruPoint Green is a blade that can handle these metering requirements while delivering the added benefits that polymers are known for. In other words, TruPoint Green is ideal to fill this “gap” while providing longer blade life and a safer alternative to steel.
Why won’t UHMW work in these applications?
UHMW is fine for basic graphics, but it lacks the precision for the higher graphic requirements today’s brand owners expect. Why? Because of the contact area between the blade and the anilox roll. A general rule of thumb is the smaller the contact area, the better the metering. (Or, the larger the contact area, the lower the metering quality.)
When it’s received from the manufacturer, a new UHMW blade touches the roll with a nice small contact area. But as the blade wears, the contact area gets very large, growing to as much as twice the blade’s thickness.
The large contact area is made worse by the poor mechanical creep characteristic of UHMW. “Creep,” or “spring memory,” is the ability of a material to maintain its shape under force. For doctor blades, it represents how well a blade is able to maintain its original shape after being flexed. (View the Doctor Blade Mechanical Creep infographic to learn more)
UHMW has poor creep; it relaxes under a constant load and doesn’t spring back very well. In fact, it loses 70% of its reaction force in the first 30 minutes of being used and 78% of its force over a 14-hour period. To maintain blade contact with the anilox roll, press operators have to increase pressure as the blade loses its elasticity. This increased pressure further increases the contact area and restarts the creep cycle (while accelerating blade wear). Ink film thickness grows and printers end up with dirty print and ink waste.
Who created TruPoint Green?
TruPoint Green was created by and is exclusive to Flexo Concepts. Being a doctor blade innovator, the company set out to fulfill the market’s need for a corrugated “in between” blade. The company began a two-year journey to develop a product that could function as a drop-in replacement for UHMW with the right amount of creep to maintain contact area in these mid-level graphics applications.
How was TruPoint Green created?
Flexo Concepts started by developing a material that was stiffer than UHMW but with enough flexibility to achieve a good contact area with the roll, better mechanical creep and superior wear properties. After two years of testing and refining, the company found the solution it was looking for: a custom compounded material that combines two different polymers. In lab tests, our engineers were happy to find that the material demonstrated better stiffness and only half the creep of UHMW and a much lower wear rate than that of steel! As a result, press operators see better print quality and don’t have to stop their presses as often for blade adjustments and changes.
Where was TruPoint Green created?
The proprietary material was developed and extensively tested in Flexo Concepts’ state-of-the-art Doctor Blade Innovation Lab in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Our customers spent over a year conducting additional trials of TruPoint Green in their plants to help us refine the material.
Is TruPoint Green “green”?
In addition to filling the line screen gap, Green also helps printers reduce their carbon footprint! The main polymer used to make Green is created from recaptured carbon monoxide from a steel mill. If this vapor were released into the atmosphere, it would break down into carbon dioxide, a well-known greenhouse gas.
To sum it up, TruPoint Green offers a blade option for corrugated printers challenged by the “gap.” With better stiffness, creep resistance and blade life, Green is the best alternative to UHMW and steel in mid-level line screen applications.
So… When will TruPoint Green be available?
It’s available NOW! Visit www.flexoconcepts.com/TruPoint/Green and try it for yourself.