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By AICC Staff

January 30, 2023


Direct Print Maximizing Your Output

The box industry is going through a renaissance of sorts; more capital is being spent today on FFG and die cutters than any time in the past (at least in my memory). These investments take multiple approaches, graphic machines, inside out and the classic blow and go converting lines. But they all have a common denominator, speed and increased graphic quality. In a nutshell: with technology today, there are ways of pushing the limits in direct print that the industry has never seen before. In some cases, direct corrugated print quality replicates that of preprint, but it often does so at a reduced cost. By following a disciplined approach, that investment in new equipment will outperform your expectations. It works to the printer and converter’s favor to collaborate with and utilize the expertise of their vendors. The relationship you have with your anilox roll vendor, used properly, can add value to your business.

Key Areas of Focus

There are two vital factors that stand out above the rest. These are ink requirements and anilox roll engraving. It is the handling of these two things that will make or break the ability of your process to successfully and consistently print on corrugated board. We know that each part of the print process has an effect on the others. Some parts, however, alter quality much more noticeably. In my experience, there are more problems stemming from poor anilox choice than any other part of the process. The opposite is true as well. Good choices can bring about great capabilities and really push the envelope of what direct print can do.

How do you make the anilox decision? It’s all about what is being printed; the graphic detail and the board type play a significant role in your decision-making. With the decision of what to print, there will be a correlating ink sweet spot to ascertain. Finding out what works best isn’t always easy. That’s where we come in. The following chart is a great starting point for establishing the volume needed to hit solid density targets.

This chart was established through the collection of data over multiple press runs at multiple converters. We have high confidence in making recommendations that will get us on the target, then fine-tuning for your specific applications. Using this chart is simple: Substrate and graphics to be printed is the starting point.


Over 50% of the anilox we produce for the corrugated industry is Eflo, our 75-degree extended cell technology. After running Eflo you will find several important reasons this technology is so popular.

Runs clean and resists plugging, the extended cell allows for the ink to rewet and be toughly cleaned during the washup cycle.

When printing heavy solid coverage, the cell design allows replenishment of the ink allowing the elimination of skip feed.

Eflo engravings have a roughly 40% increase in across the cylinder LPI for the same BCM when compared to a conventional 60-degree engraving. This creates increased dot support for graphic printing and combination work.

We’re confident that you will find Eflo to increase your press performance and capabilities, so confident we offer a performance guarantee.

Everyone wants to print better. Take the steps to find the proper anilox roll engraving by matching the volume and the correct LPI to the graphics and the substrate type. Work with your suppliers to ensure all processes and technology are used to the full extent of their capabilities.


Remember that the work never ends; now that you have the correct anilox specifications, you need to maintain that volume consistently over time. Now roll maintenance becomes critical.


John Burgess

President, Flexo


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