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The ITB (Ink Transfer Blade) will be obtaining a Canadian patent

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  • The ITB (Ink Transfer Blade) will be obtaining a Canadian patent

    Should the print industry be interested in the science behind the density control problem? The ITB addresses that problem.

    Just a comment for those who are curious on the status of the ITB.

    The ITB or Ink Transfer Blade, besides having a US patent (#6,857,366), has been allowed by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and will be granted a Canadian patent shortly.

    For those who do not know what the ITB is, here is a short explanation.

    The existing ductor roller technology, which transfers the ink from the ink fountain roller to the roller train, is a mid 19th century technology and not much has improved it since then. This existing method of transferring ink to the roller train is inconsistent because ink transfer is affected by changes in water setting, press speed and roller train temperature. This then results in print density variation and "ink water balance" problems seen by the press operator when running an offset press.

    The ITB fundamentally changes the ink transfer method by forcing the ink from the ink fountain roller to the press roller train. This action is independent of changes in water, press speed and the temperature of the roller train and the result is consistent solid print density with a much increased water window with respect to print density. With the ITB, the print can not be washed out by greatly increasing the water feed.

    The advantage of the ITB is that it is a very low cost and effective solution to density control. Correcting the inconsistent ink feed problem in offset presses is a prerequisite to having a predictable press that can eventually have "hands off" control. With a press that is inherently consistent and predictable, expensive on line colour feedback systems would not be required.

    The ITB is not a product. It has been tested on a few presses and confirms the theory. It is potentially a process control technology a press manufacturer could develop, if they really wanted a low cost solution.

    The ITB also shows the true nature of the density control problem, ink water balance and predictability requirements on offset presses. It is not only a technical solution but a scientific solution. A scientific explanation of the problem should be of interest to all.

    Edited by: Erik Nikkanen on Feb 10, 2008 1:20 PM

  • #2
    Re: The ITB (Ink Transfer Blade) will be obtaining a Canadian patent

    Hi erik,

    Do you have a link to more info about the system? Diagrams or explanations why it increases water/ink latitude. With Heidelberg maby unveiling a b2 anicolour at Drupa it will need to be all you say and more to stand a chance.


    Paul

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    • #3
      Re: The ITB (Ink Transfer Blade) will be obtaining a Canadian patent

      Paul,

      I tried to attached a document that is a simple explanation of the concept but the content type of the file was not allowed for some reason. Sorry.

      The reason why it has more latitude in water adjustment is because the ITB makes ink feed independent of water feed. This means that you adjust the ink for the solid density and you adjust the water for the quality of the print. Adjusting water does not affect density. From the test runs in the past, the window was surprisingly large. Quite a lot of water could be applied and the screens still looked quite good.

      Now I am not saying that one should run with a lot of water. I am just saying that adjusting water to obtain the quality of print would be more straight forward because one does not have to worry about the density moving away from where it was set. That is not the case now. Now it can be a situation where the operator does not want to adjust the water setting because they worry that it will affect the density and then they have to chase it.

      As far as the Anicolor concept goes, that concept still has ink water balance problems to deal with. An operator still needs to be careful about the water setting or things will go wrong. The Anicolor concept is not the future of press design. A press with a properly designed roller train, accurate presetting and a positive ink feed, either with the ITB or some other method, will out perform the Anicolor's short run capability and still give the operator the option of adjusting when they want or running any spot colour ink or running UV inks. And the technology would cost less. Even existing presses could be modified and improved greatly if there was an interest from the press manufacturers, which unfortunately there isn't yet.

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      • #4
        Re: The ITB (Ink Transfer Blade) will be obtaining a Canadian patent

        The ITB technology now also has a Canadian patent #2,288,354.
        ( US patent # 6,857,366 )

        I am still looking for a printer in the Toronto area, who would be interested in providing a public demonstration of the technology. It would be also a demonstration of the true science of the process.

        For any effort in obtaining consistency and predictability of the density control problem, the fundamental problem of inconsistent ink feed must be corrected. The ITB (Ink Transfer Blade) is just one way to do this. The advantage of the ITB is that it is a very low cost and relatively simple way to correct this problem.

        Goals of sustainability, lean manufacturing, skill reduction, cost reduction will not fully be realized unless the consistency and predictability issues are properly addressed.

        Edited by: Erik Nikkanen on Aug 3, 2008 9:21 AM

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