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Research Papers

Modeling Print Registration in Roll-to-Roll Printing Presses

[+] Author and Article Information
Prabhakar R. Pagilla

Professor
e-mail: pagilla@okstate.edu
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering,
Oklahoma State University,
Stillwater, OK 74078

Jamie E. Lynch

Engineering Manager
Armstrong World Industries,
Stillwater, OK 74075

The print cylinder can be engaged and disengaged as per the printing requirements by using a clutch mechanism.

It is noted that the modifications were made during production runs; hence, only small incremental modifications were possible.

The ideal situation is to have no doctor blade oscillation, and since that is not possible, the stroke length of oscillation and linear velocity of doctor blade need to be small.

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Dynamic Systems Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control. Manuscript received August 16, 2011; final manuscript received January 11, 2013; published online March 28, 2013. Assoc. Editor: John B. Ferris.

J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control 135(3), 031016 (Mar 28, 2013) (11 pages) Paper No: DS-11-1259; doi: 10.1115/1.4023761 History: Received August 16, 2011; Revised January 11, 2013

Roll-to-roll (R2R) printing is a continuous process in which thin flexible materials such as paper are passed through a printing press to print the required pattern onto the material. Each printing press may have several printing units depending on the number of colors to be printed and the complexity of the pattern. The flexible material, often referred to as a “web,” is passed successively through each print unit to create a multicolor pattern. Print registration is the process of overlapping successive printed patterns to form a complex multicolor pattern and the registration error is the position misalignment in the overlapped patterns. This paper develops a machine direction print registration model in a printing press with multiple print units whose print cylinders are driven using mechanical line shafts. The registration model considers the effects of interaction between adjacent print units due to variations in material strain and machine dynamics, including various dynamic elements, such as the print cylinder, doctor blade assembly, print unit compensator roller, print unit motor, friction at various locations, etc. Measured data from typical production runs on an industrial printing press are used to corroborate the developed print registration model. Mechanical design and control design recommendations to reduce registration error in print units are also provided. The developed registration model is applicable to many R2R printing technologies, such as offset, flexo, and rotogravure printing.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
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References

Shelton, J. J., 1986, “Dynamics of Web Tension Control With Velocity or Torque Control,” American Control Conference, pp. 1423–1427.
Dwivedula, R. V., Zhu, Y., and Pagilla, P. R., 2006, “Characteristics of Active and Passive Dancers: A Comparative Study,” Control Eng. Prac., 14(4), pp. 409–423. [CrossRef]
Puckhaber, C. F., 1995, “Print-Registration Control in a Rotogravure Printing Press Combined With Extrusion-Coating or Lamination Processes,” TAPPI J., 78(3), pp. 144–154.
Brandenburg, G., 1976, “New Mathematical Models for Web Tension and Register Error,” Proceedings of the 3rd International IFAC Conference on Instrumentation and Automation in the Paper, Rubber and Plastics Industries, pp. 411–438.
Yoshida, T., Takagi, S., Muto, Y., and Shen, T., 2008, “Register Control of Sectional Drive Rotogravure Printing Press,” Manufacturing Systems and Technologies for the New Frontier, M.Mitsuishi, K.Ueda, and F.Kimura, eds., Springer, London, pp. 417–420.
Choi, K., Tran, T., Ganeshthangaraj, P., Lee, K., Nguyen, M., Jo, J., and Kim, D., 2010, “Web Register Control Algorithm for Roll-to-Roll System Based Printed Electronics,” 2010 IEEE Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE), pp. 867–872. [CrossRef]
Kang, H.-K., Lee, C.-W., and Shin, K.-H., 2010, “Compensation of Machine Directional Register in a Multi-Layer Roll-to-Roll Printed Electronics,” 2010 International Conference on Control Automation and Systems (ICCAS), pp. 2494–2497.
Molesa, S. E., 2006, “Ultra-Low-Cost Printed Electronics,” Ph.D. thesis, EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA.
la Fuente Vornbrock, A. D., 2009, “Roll Printed Electronics: Development and Scaling of Gravure Printing Techniques,” Ph.D. thesis, EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA.
Noh, J., Yeom, D., Lim, C., Cha, H., Han, J., Kim, J., Park, Y., Subramanian, V., and Cho, G., 2010, “Scalability of Roll-to-Roll Gravure-Printed Electrodes on Plastic Foils,” IEEE Trans. Electron. Pack. Manuf., 33(4), pp. 275–283. [CrossRef]
Ponjanda-Madappa, M., 2011, “Roll to Roll Manufacturing of Flexible Electronic Devices,” M.S. thesis, School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK.
Brandenburg, G., 2011, “Advanced Process Models and Control Strategies for Rotary Printing Presses,” Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Web Handling.
Pagilla, P., Singh, I., and Dwivedula, R., 2004, “A Study on Control of Accumulators in Web Processing Lines,” ASME J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control, 126(3), pp. 453–461. [CrossRef]
Branca, C., Pagilla, P. R., and Reid, K. N., 2013, “Governing Equations for Web Tension and Web Velocity in the Presence of Nonideal Rollers,” ASME J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control, 135(1), p. 011018. [CrossRef]
Brandenburg, G., Geissenberger, S., Kink, C., Schall, N.-H., and Schramm, M., 1999, “Multimotor Electronic Line Shafts for Rotary Offset Printing Presses: A Revolution in Printing Machine Techniques,” IEEE/ASME Trans. Mechatron., 4(1), pp. 25–31. [CrossRef]

Figures

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Fig. 1

Example of a properly registered print pattern (left) and an improperly registered print pattern (right)

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Fig. 2

A schematic showing the web between two successive print cylinders; some of the idle rollers are ignored

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Fig. 3

Print line schematic

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Fig. 4

Measured web tension and registration error in print cylinder 7 from a production run

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Fig. 5

FFT of the relative tension and registration error data in print cylinder 7 from a production run

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Fig. 6

Comparison of model output data and actual data (run 1)

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Fig. 7

Comparison of model output data and actual data (run 2)

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Fig. 8

Web strain from prints units 5–7 during a production run (run 2). Web strain is determined from web tension measurements based on the assumption that the web material is elastic.

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Fig. 9

Comparison of input to the registration error integrator in the three models; data corresponds to production run 2

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Fig. 10

Web strain from prints units 5–7 during a production run (run 3). A slow drift in the web strain can be observed in print unit 5 during this run.

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Fig. 11

Web strain from prints units 5–7 during a production run (run 3). A slow drift in the web strain can be observed in print unit 5 during this run.

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Fig. 12

Comparison of model output data and actual data (run 3). A slow drift in the web strain was observed in print unit 5 during this run but the relative strain model captures the dynamics of the registration process.

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Fig. 13

A schematic showing the print section mechanical transmission with angles used in this paper. The print section motor drives the common shaft that in turn transmits power to print unit gear boxes. The print cylinder and doctor blade assembly in each print unit is driven by the torque transmitted through the gear box.

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Fig. 14

Doctor blade assembly

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Fig. 15

A side view of the doctor blade assembly and the print cylinder

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Fig. 16

A sketch showing the frictional forces on the print cylinder and the web

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Fig. 17

Measured web tension in print unit 5 and print unit 6

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Fig. 18

FFT of differential tension and registration error at various print units when doctor blade oscillations are out-of-phase with each other

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Fig. 19

FFT of differential tension and registration error at various print units when doctor blade oscillations are in with each other

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