Home' FLEXO Magazine : October 2015 Contents • A range of tactile features from coarse and solid graphics to fine
lines and vignettes are possible
• The process offers low total cost of ownership thanks to high
performance, reusable and reimageable screens, and digital
screen imaging systems
A flexo printer can enhance the aesthetic appeal or functionality of
the printed label or package by adding UV screen effects including
opaques, tactile varnishes, braille and metallic finishes.
To block out light and therefore eliminate transparency, an ink covering
with an opaque deposit is usually the solution and is easily achieved
with a single screen printing pass. An advantage of using screen for
opaque applications is strengthened when the design requires a com-
bination of fine and solid graphics. These can be printed with the same
screen, whereas in flexo, different anilox cell counts would be needed.
One of the most common opaque applications is the no label look,
which features a striking design on a clear film that, in turn, adheres
to a clear container. This requires an opaque white in the first printing
position, to prevent any transparency of the overprinted visible colors,
which are normally printed afterward by the press’ main analog
process. The no label look is commonly used to promote quality
and purity in such diverse markets as beverages and household and
A package succeeds because it stimulates the consumer’s sense of
touch, as well as visual appeal. Screen printed varnish effects, typically
from a subtle 26-μm., are proven to achieve both. They are added to a
label design to create raised images, smooth shining (“brilliant”) solid
areas, or fine line patterns.
Raised tactile images over solid areas, created by printing a clear var-
nish over an existing image, adds gloss and thus vividness to an icon
or brand name, and thus enhances retail shelf impact. Using rotary
screens to apply varnish offers a waste free alternative to the emboss-
A combination of varnishes—for instance, gloss over a matte sur-
face—offers a subtler way of arousing curiosity. One sees a shape un-
der the light, or notices a smoother feel against a more resistant matte
solid area. Furthermore, 26-μm. fine line varnishes can be created
with a high performance screen that has strength at high mesh counts.
The “texture varnish” (typical print thicknesses are around 70-μm.)
features large particles to create a coarse feel and give a so called “ice
look” to the pack. The larger the particle and the thicker the coverage,
the coarser the substrate feels. It is a striking way of printing reversed
out images of icons or logos.
The reticulating or “wrinkle” varnish is a coarse feature that stands
out from smooth surroundings. Larger ink particles are used for this
effect to create the coarseness. The reticulating effect occurs when it is
cured by ultra high frequency UVA light.
A screen printed coat of varnish may be applied to protect the
graphics for wet, durable or chemical applications, where resistance to
corrosion, squeezing, microbes or water is needed.
Screen printed braille dots, requiring laydowns of approx. 250-μm.,
offer durability and can be printed in a single pass. A clear varnish
is used to apply the dots over the image areas without compromis-
ing the impact or integrity of the branding. Braille is mandatory for
pharmaceutical labeling in Europe. In some countries such as Spain,
braille is required on a range of other retail goods too. Information in
braille can include product name, product strength, ingredients and
“A supplier with experience in
providing technology at all stages
of the workflow, who also has
partnerships with a wide range of
press makers, is likely to guide the
printer to the optimal solution to
the circumstances and oversee a
SPGPrints’ RSI (Rotary Screen Integration) module, available in a variety
of widths, is integrated above the press on a sliding rail system and
complements the flexo process by reproducing numerous high value effects.
94 FLEXO | OCTOBER 2015
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