New to Polymer Plates

Hi all,

I am about to print with polymer plates + boxcar base for the first time next week with a Heidelberg. Any tips or words of wisdom that would be helpful to know before getting started?

Hoping to potentially avoid headaches before they start!

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I believe there is a Heidelberg printers group on facebook……I would recommend watching another printer.

How new are you to the Heidelberg? That’s the bigger question. If you’re comfortable with running the press, then you really only need to worry about roller height. Sometimes I’ve found it helpful to have a long band of polymer on the very outside of the plate to serve as roller bearers.

Edited to add: Now that I see your post date, have you done the print run yet? How’d it go?

Jonsel, it actually went really well! The polymer plates were a breeze once we got the rollers adjusted to the right height. I myself am still a bit of a novice with the Heidelberg, but I am printing with a very experience printer that’s been printing on it for about 30 years, but it was his first time printing with polymer as well. I had ordered a boxcar base to use with the polymer plates, so we were both amazed at how easy registration was with the gridlines.

Our bigger challenge ended up being figuring out how to get the Heidelberg to pick up double-thick lettra paper…

You need the wide white suckers attached to the sucker bar. I usually find 3 is enough.

We tried using the suckers, but I am thinking that maybe the rubber suckers he had were pretty old (he said he had never used them and he’s been printing for 30 years…), so maybe they were a bit too old and stiff to really get a good suction on the paper? We finally got it to pick it up, but it was more like every other pass, so he kept having to pull the clutch in and out depending on if the arm had actually grabbed a piece of paper. It was a bit cumbersome, but we got the job done!

hmm… What was the setup like?
Did you have the pile raised to just below the bottom stroke of the sucker bar?
Blast set to highest setting, full blast?
Fluffer wires on the sides and at least 2 sheet splitters engaged?
Sucker bar settings so that they were 3/4 the way open where engaged with sheet, closed where not picking up?

I actually find that the thicker stuff is easier to get to pick up with suckers, of course you can go without- but the feed pile setting needs to be set to heavy cardboard and the trim on the side of the sucker bar also set to heavy stock or in the middle, but not towards the top…. The bar that is meant to flatten out thinner, wavier stock for uniform feeding will smack your stock on the way down unless it is overridden by this setting being at the bottom for the appropriate stock, and can keep it from picking up. Sometimes every other sheet will pick up if the bar is hitting the stock, because the second sheet is able to be below the bar due to pile not raising quickly enough.

It is remarkable how when engaging with the feeder on these machines, little instances of the wrong setting can make cumulative effects, and be intermittently overridden by other instances of the wrong setting… A lot of trial and error.

Good luck!