Poll participants report operating different types of presses in their plants. Narrow web and wide web varieties are most popular, with 44 percent specifying each of those models as being present. Eleven percent point to mid web flexible packaging presses; 9 percent operate corrugated presses and 2 percent, envelope presses. Again, respondents did list multiple answers to this question.
Common press speeds report out as follows:
- 100 to 500 fpm: 46 percent
- 500 to 1,000 fpm: 33 percent
- 1,000 to 1,500 fpm: 15 percent
- 1,500 to 2,000 fpm: 11 percent
- 2,000 to 2,500 fpm: 6 percent
- Greater than 2,500 fpm: 4 percent
The vast majority of those taking the doctor blade flash poll—87 percent—indicate they typically purchase doctor blades precut to length. Twenty-eight percent cut at least some blade materials to length in plant.
What Are the Top Three Factors
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) that dictate blade changes are in place in many plants. Fifty percent go multiple days before changing a doctor blade. Just more than 19 percent say they change a blade after every job. Fifteen percent make the switch after an eight hour shift. And 15 percent wait 24 hours.
When Deciding What Doctor Blades to Buy?
Operator determination is the most frequent reason driving blade changes, according to FLEXO’s research. Eighty-five percent of the sample cite that fact. Thirty-three percent specify streaking; 10 percent, “end of run” and 12 percent “dot gain.”
Presses are rarely stopped mid run to effect blade changes. Almost three quarters (74 percent) of doctor blade flash poll participants say that is the case in their plant. Comparatively, 9 percent are adamant it never happens. Just under 17 percent admit it is a frequent occurrence.
Regularly scheduled operator training on proper installation, setup, maintenance and troubleshooting of doctor blade issues on press happens at 38 percent of plants taking the survey. Little training takes place at 59 percent. No training, relative to doctor blades, is available at 4 percent.
On the question of supplier provided best practices training, the audience was split. Forty-eight percent rely on it; 52 percent do not.