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Cleaning Your Kompac On-The-Fly

TimeSaverSealSqueezeVacII.gifWhen cleaning, stopping and starting the press to remove ink and solvent from your Kompac’s nip wastes as much time as cleaning your inking system.

If you make frequent color changes, consider TimeSaver Seals.

TimeSaver Seals allows you to suck-out liquid waste solutions from the Kompac’s nip while press runs!

TimeSaver Seals have tube connectors at their tops connected to suction circuits within seals.

Side-Suction-holes in seals located at Kompac nip allows waste solutions to be sucked-out of Kompac through-the-seals, and, on-the-fly!

If you use an ink clean-up blade to clean your inking system, TimeSaver Seals allows you to clean both press and Kompac at same time without stopping press!

To learn more about cleaning your Kompac on the run, double click on Kompac Vac Category and click on Kompac II KwikVac link.

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Using A MicroScope To Study Print Problems

Study Printing Process with Micro Scope

Regardless of time spent in Printing, detail study of component parts of printing process with Micro Scope explains many mysteries hidden before your eyes.

A handy 30x pocket micro scope costing less than $20.00 is a great investment if you want to see and learn how physical components of the printing process are structured and compliment the chemistry of the printing process.

Blankets; A smooth compressible blanket is less wearing on a pressure sensitive Polyester Laser Plate image than a ground surface, and the lens of a micro scope shows you the difference between blanket surface finishes. You can also see defects and contaminated areas where paper sizing glaze rejects ink.

Rubber Rollers; Have tiny hills and valleys (grind marks) developed by design that provide the grip that holds a uniform ink film, and a close look at a clean roller will determine if the rollers has paper sizing or ink pigment glaze.

A consistent roller surface finish is critical to today’s continuous dampening systems. If a dampener roller is too smooth it runs dry, to course and it runs too wet. With a micro scope you can ‘see’ the surface and determine paper or ink glaze, without guessing.

Paper; comes in varying weights and surface textures. With a micro scope you can see its surface in detail, and when it’s inked, you can see how ‘well’ so as to analyze print quality from the paper up.

Laser Plates; A close look at the imaged surface of a laser plate will give you a better understanding of why an image prints or doesn’t print before you put it on the press. Solids that look good to the eye can still be void of toner and carry too much water and less ink. And, the infamous toner scatter can be readily seen like never before with a microscope.

You can find this handy pocket microscope on this site under Stick-N-Strip Spot Blankets.

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Etching Tray For Polyester Plates

EtchingTrayPolyesterPlates.bmpIf you would like to make plate etching easier, use a shallow tray to hold/lay plate in/on during the etching process.

Use a spray bottle filled with fountain solution to spray plate, then wipe with damp pad.

Squirt a wet film of etch solution on tray bottom to hold plate/stabilize plate while wiping.

Squirt it, wipe it, and hang it.

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Kompac Running Too Wet

If your Kompac runs too wet, it can be due to paper fiber contamination from the stock you are running.

When printing long runs on NCR, Vellum Bristol, or other linty stocks that releases paper fibers to the blanket, you will notice that at 8,000 to 10,000 impressions, the normal ‘rolling’ fountain solution bead in Kompac nip looks milky, uneven, and ‘lumpy’ near seals.

This lumpy condition is due to a build-up of paper particles (paper fiber, clay, coating) from the stock suspended in wetting solution.

If fountain contamination is allowed to build-up too long, the ‘inked surface of your Kompac form roller becomes impregmated with water-absorbing paper-fibers, where it then becomes more like a ‘molleton’ form roll, rejecting ink and carrying too much water.

When you see this lumpy condition in your Kompac, suck-it-out with your syringe at your next plate-change or paper reload.

If you make this practice a routine procedure, you will produce more consistency color and operate at higher production speeds.

Note: Also keep an eye out for paper lint/fiber build-up on the form roller at the ‘center’ (under bottle mount) of Kompac when printing ‘window envelopes, especially on longer runs.

Window envelopes that have been cut by a ‘dull’ window cutting-die leaves loose fibers exposed around window edges.

When this happens, the image gets lighter and lighter regardless of ink feed, and you waste alot of time and envelopes before discovering the real cause.

When this occurs the only solution is to do a quick clean-up of Kompac and refresh solution to begin anew. (Note; This is an excellent application for using a small 2″ X 4″ Stick-N-Strip Spot Blanket Patch. With a small Stick-N-Strip blanket patch that accomodates ‘only’ the image area, there are no blanket surface to contact the window area of envelope which totally eliminates fiber,and toner scatter ink build-up!

Paper bi-products are the primary roller contaminates that sensitize the Kompac form rolls’ surface, and is the primary roller contaminate that makes the use of a good water misible roller wash so important.

DO NOT use a ‘fast dry’, single step blanket wash to clean your Kompac unless its the final step to remove residue from water misiable wash!

Fast dry solvents evaporate way too fast to disolve and remove ink pigments, and fast dry washes ‘do not’ desolve paper contaminates.

Only water misible, water soluable ‘detergents solvents’ do!

Always clean your Kompac with a good water-misible detergent based wash to desolve and remove both ink and paper contaminates from your Kompac form roll!
Note: The use of TimeSaver Seals and our KwikVac will make cleaning/purging your Kompac much more effecient!

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AB Dick Sucker Tube Length Spacers

AB Dick direct feed presses pick sheets further back from the lead edge than do most other presses.

As a result, short-grain, news-print, and other light-weight/grain-less stocks have a tendency to turn under or ‘droop’ down when picked up past sheet levelers/separators causing paper jams.

This is a result of a ‘limp’, or weak/slow flip response to the force of the sheet levelers/separators.

A simple and cost effective way to ‘strengthen’ the lead-edges’ flip strength/response to the separators and improve feeding at high production speeds is to shim ‘down’ every other sucker tube to create a slight ‘undulating’ or wave effect in the sheets’ lead-edge.

You can purchase 5/16″ exterior Truarc Retainers from a hardware, auto parts, or machinists supply store for a few pennies each and install them at the top end (below threads and against shoulder) of every other sucker tube.

These retainers are only .015″ thick (about the thickness of 3 sheets of 20-lb bond) and will cause a slight wave in the lead edge of the sheets so that the will become stiffer/stronger to resist the downward force of the levelers/separators and feed ‘straighter’ into the nip of the forwarding rollers.

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Tone Lines Accross Sheet W/Kompac II

The most prevalent, and miss-diagnosed problem experienced with the Kompac Dampener, is the ‘solution to’ eliminating tone bars from accross the sheet.

I have communicated with printers from many countries regarding this issue, and heard horror stories of costs related to solving it, from completely re-gearing a press to installing a new press with a new Kompac! In several cases a printer had spent many times ( 4 & 5 times) the cost of a Kompac to no avail.

The primary cause of tone bars accross the sheet is a ‘miss-calibrated Kompac’.

A seizing metering roll bearing, a’very glazed’ form roller will cause it, and a very shiney (slick) metering roll will too, but the most common cause is the ‘lack of pressure’ between the metering and form roll!

Remember, the metering roll is powered by friction against the form roll.

If you do not have proper/adequate nip pressure, you will run too wet, which often causes pressmen to reduce ink tack, and the resulting condition is tone bars accross the sheet.

To re-calibrate your Kompacs’ nip pressure, clean it and loosen the excentric rings. Use two 1″ strips of 20-lb bond (or ideally two 1″ wide strips of a compareable gauge, .004″ plastic) to detect metering roll parallel to the form. Once you have achieved an even, snug pull at both sides of the Kompac with your feeler strips, lock the set screws to set roller parallel. Now, loosen set screws that set the indicator rings to the excentrics and move them to ‘O’. Now, move each ring to read ‘2.5’ and you are set at what I call the ‘midpoint’. From this setting (if your form roll durometer and surface finish is within specs) you can now run with the necessary moisture to print dense color with moderate tack inks.

If, you experience a ‘too wet’ condition at the 2.5 setting and you are ‘not’ using a high tack ink, you can reduce moisture by increasing nip pressure by moving indicator rings to a setting of 3.0. If your Kompac runs too dry at 2.5, chances are your form roller is too hard (above 62 Shore) or glazed. If ‘not’ glazed, replace it. If glazed, hand scrub it with a good/strong ink deglazer until its surface develops a dull (not shiney) surface.

As a preventive practice, I recommend re-calibrating your Kompac every year. Re-calibration will assure you that your Kompac is in proper adjustment and insure optimum performance.

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Miss-Feeds and Doubles

ABDickAirRam10.bmpMiss feeds and Doubled Sheets are typically caused by inadequate sheet separation or static electricity.

Late model presses offer static eliminators that discharge the negative ions which dissapates the clinging effect of static build up in sheets and allows sheets to separate properly for high speed production.

If your press does not have a static eliminator you can add an aftermarket device or use spray-on type chemical de-ionizers.

If your press does not have back-air blowers, you can devise your own by tapping into the exhaust/blower hose of the press compressor and directing the air into the back edges of the pile.

If you do not have the necessary expertise to develope your own back-air blowers, PressSavers offers several models which are listed in the products under ‘Kompac upgrades’ by press manufacturers.

Back-air blowers introduce additional air into the back edges of the sheets helping to lift top sheets away from pile on a cushion of air to aid in the feeding of troublesome stocks at high production speeds.

Another unique and helpful feeder tool are ‘telescoping’ Bigfoot Sucker Tubes.

Bigfoot Sucker Tubes are powered by press vacuuum and automatically desend 1/3 of an inch lower/beyond the level of fixed sucker tubes allowing you to operate the feed table at a lower setting.

Operating feed table at lower setting allows air from the front and rear air-blowers to better work and separate top sheets more effectively.

Bigfeet telescoping sucker tubes are especially beneficial when feeding at top speeds as they do not pound-down onto the top of the sheets as do fixed sucker tubes.

With fixed tubes the top sheet is pressed down against the second sheet before lifting, developing suction ‘between’ the backside of top sheet and front side of second sheet causing them to feed as a unit.

Bigfoot telescoping sucker tubes stop desending upon enitial sheet contact, immediately sucking up the top sheet and retracting back to standard tube length before feeding sheets into press.

An ideal feeding upgrade/package for portrait feed presses is a set of Bigfoot telescoping sucker tubes and the back-air blower system.

With this combination you can run with the feed table 50% lower than normal, and the top sheets (especially with coated stocks) float up and away from seconds sheet on cushion of air for high speed production without miss-feeds or doubles.