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Welcome to  ‘Ask The Expert’.  This page is moderated by industry consultant, Steve Wilkinson.  This page features the answers to your questions. Our visitors can also post comments to these questions/answers as well.  You can learn more about Steve’s background and our ‘Ask The Expert’ page by Clicking Here.

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February 20, 2012

Comment on the loss of Thomas Allison Jr.

Recently, we lost yet another leading Flexographic innovator: Tom Allison Jr. Building on his father’s invention of the first truly effective doctor blade edge finishing machine, which ended over a century of hand-shaped and finished gravure doctor blades, Tom Allison Jr. continued to build on his father’s success and dramatically enhanced his company’s reputation with many doctor blade innovations. To say he will be missed by his many friends and associates really does not in any way reflect the absolute respect that everyone had for Tom and his dedication to the flexographic community. Never one to mince words, but always willing to provide advice and support to any that asked, Tom’s knowledge of the Flexographic process and in particular the heart of the press, “the inking system”, was second to none. His expertise has played a large part in helping our industry achieve the consistency and quality that allows flexography to still enjoy significant growth on a global basis. He became a mentor to many like myself but never demanded anything, not even a thank you; so as he cannot say no need to thank him now: Thank you from the bottom of my heart Tom for your friendship and constant support, you will be sadly missed!

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February 20, 2012

What should we consider when choosing a doctor blade?

The following has been taken from an article by Bill Warner of Allison Systems which I feel summarizes much of Tom Allison Jr’s feelings when asked the same question.

With the doctor blade being a critical part of the printing process, if you purchase the best quality and most appropriate blade you can for your application, your doctor blade related problems will be reduced or eliminated. Work with your doctor blade supplier to determine the best choice of material and profile for your doctor blades. Your blade supplier most likely has had experience with the same printing requirements, issues, and problems that you have and will have targeted guidance in the choice of blades for your application.

Regardless of the type of doctor blades you use, material quality is of utmost importance. Protect your anilox rolls and print jobs by making sure basic metal, composite, and plastic blade stock is proven in service and is purchased from a quality source and traceable by the supplier. Beyond the choice of doctor blades, your doctor blade supplier will also likely be able to help with doctor blade usage and safety training, as well as diagnostic worn blade analysis.

About the Author: Bill Warner is a design engineer with Allison Systems Corp. He has 23 years of experience with doctor blades and custom retrofit doctor blade systems for flexographic and other printing processes.

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