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Flexography Distortion

Results of Elongation
Regular Plate

Flexo Plate

Notice how the flexo plate prints a

stretched image of the circle once
its on the plate cylinder.
Elongation of the plate causes the
image to print wider than it should
be. A circle on the digital image will
print as an oval.
The remedy to this is to distort the
digital art to compensate for the
amount of stretch that will happen.
But determining the amount of
distortion is the question.

Factors Related to Distortion

1.) A Repeat
A repeat is one revolution of the plate cylinder will turn from one end to the other. The full rotation of
this is called a repeat. In other words, each time an 11 inch plate cylinder makes a single revolution; it
pulls 11 inches of substrate through the press. In this example if you want to print a label that is 11
inches long, you will need an 11 plate cylinder to print it. So a repeat is simply the length of the printed
image measured in inches.
2.) The K-Factor

This is the other factor we need to know before we can calculate distortion. The K-Factor is also known as
the thicK-Factor because its all about the thickness of the plate and the mounting tape. Flexo plates
have a thickness of 0.067 (the most commonly used thickness in flexo industry) and the mounting tape
will commonly be 0.005. The plate will not have the same diameter of the cylinder- it will be greater due
to the additional thickness of the plate. We will need a formula to calculate the exact amount in order to
calculate the amount of distortion needed to correct the digital art.

(Continue on next page.)

Calculating K-Factor
The formula for K-Factor is:
2 x Pi x (plate thickness mounting tape thickness) = K-Factor
(Follow number of operations and do the brackets first, if you get an answer like 0.356678,
round off answer to 0.36)

Use the thicknesses from the previous page to determine the K-Factor

Calculating Distortion
Now we have determined the K-Factor, now its possible to calculate the distortion necessary
for a designated repeat of a print cylinder. The formula for distortion is
K-Factor by Repeat x 100 -100 = Distortion
(When you get the percentage, remove the minus sign and round up. Example -96.45= 96.5%)

Those are the formulas in determining distortion. Now calculate and try it!