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Surface knowledge runs deep

Surface knowledge runs deep SHARE THIS:
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The key to optimising roller and blanket performance lies in understanding surface technology.

In November 2014 when the European Space Agency successfully landed the Philae probe on the surface of comet 67P, the engineers involved were literally flying blind; nobody knew for certain what would happen when the probe first made contact with the surface of the comet.

When the actual moment arrived, the probe made a softer landing than expected and its anchoring harpoons failed to fire, causing it to bounce twice before coming to a halt.

Despite being an amazing achievement in its own right, the experience of Philae highlights the difficulties of operating equipment in an environment where little is known about the relevant surface characteristics.

This is a challenge faced by Böttcher’s technicians every single day, although in their case they can draw on the vast stores of knowledge and expertise which the company’s R&D has accumulated over many years.

As the world’s largest producer of elastomer roller coverings, Böttcher has developed an unparalleled understanding of how different surfaces behave and interact under extreme conditions.

Working under pressure

In typical printing environments, the roller and blanket surfaces can be subjected to high temperatures, extreme pressures and a range of acidic and alkaline solutions, all within short operating cycles.

At the same time, these surfaces must constantly perform within strict parameters when handling ultra-thin substrates where any deviation can have a negative impact. Often the surfaces must combine a range of contradictory characteristics – durable and yet not too hard, smooth while still providing adequate grip, elastic but not too unstable.

The ability of Böttcher to deliver the right roller covering for all printing environments is a result of its many years of testing and trialling different compounds. Each year, for instance, over 3,000 roller compounds are tested for their suitability for a range of applications. Of these potential new compounds, perhaps only about 1% will ever make it to market.

This research represents a huge commitment to understanding and investigating how different elastomer surfaces behave under the most extreme conditions.

It may not be the same degree of challenge as landing a small probe on the surface of a dirty ice ball many millions of kilometres away, but the principle remains the same – when it comes to optimising the efficiency of your equipment, it pays to know your surfaces.

To find out more about Böttcher’s range of roller products, check the various product categories here.

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