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FLEXO Magazine : April 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES work—will fi nd most initial benefi t. They can compete with off set or other printing techniques without a loss of quality—nor re- quiring adapting prepress specifi cally for the process. Because the technologies almost diverge, companies that have both off set and fl exo press lines can switch between them to optimize costs. WIDE VARIETY OF PLATES The new technology, while revolutionizing digital fl exo, is based on the foundation of proven print technology. The digital technology will work on plates manufactured by a variety of plate vendors. It allows users to select solvent or thermal plates, and can image on a wide range of plate sizes and formats without any quality degradation. Plates are pre-qualifi ed as suitable via exten- sive testing in collaboration between the plate and CTP vendors, so that converters and trade shops can easily make use of the Flexo vs Offset 100 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 File % 60 70 80 90 100 FIGURE 3. Comparison of tone curves. Flexo 300lpi Flexo 200lpi Offset ISO12647-2(E) Linear standard screens which are built into the RIP. The technology is also more sustainable with a smaller carbon footprint. With direct digital platemaking, there is no manual process, nor additional fi lms to dispose of once plates have been imaged. For printers who decide to work with plates generated from this fl exo technology rather than off set printing, there is typically one-third of the makeready sheets required to reach ac- ceptable color, resulting in much less waste. With a truly easier, substantially higher quality technology, this latest digital fl exo opens the high-end platemaking—and print- ing—experience to a broader group of potential platemakers. ¦ ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ian Hole, with more than 25 years’ expe- rience in packaging, began his career in England at Lawson Mardon. He subsequently joined Scitex Corp.—fi rst in Belgium and then in Israel—with roles in product development and marketing. In 1989, Hole joined BARCO Graphics at its Belgium headquarters as product manager. He came to North America in 1999 as vice president for market development with direct responsibility for the future growth and market penetration of Esko products. Hole has degrees in graphics and printing science from the London College of Print, in England. Additionally, Hole holds a Boston Business degree from the University of Brussels, in Belgium. Now based in Chicago, IL, Hole speaks frequently at industry seminars on topics ranging from technology, markets and business issues in the printing and prepress industry. He is a member of the board of the FPPA, and serves on FTA’s Latin American committee and FIRST technical committee. He is also the holder of the 2006 FTA President’s Award. Print %