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FLEXO Magazine : May 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES DOTS THAT MATCH THE FILE Because the imager uses Kodak Squarespot Imaging Technology, the same thermal imaging technology used in high-resolution off set plate making, it produces extremely accurate dots on the imaging layer. The dots imaged on the imaging layer are a perfect match to the pixels in the RIPed fi le. The intimate contact between the imaged emulsion on the thermal imaging layer and the photopolymer during the lamination step ensures 1:1 transfer of these dots from the layer to the plate. The lamination step provides another benefi t to users. In addition to providing 1:1 transfer of the dots to the plate, lamination removes all oxygen from between the layer and the plate. When oxygen is present during plate exposure, it causes what is known as “oxygen inhibition.” Oxygen slows the dot formation on the plate, resulting in dots that are not full height and that are bullet shaped—they have narrow bases and rounded tops. With Kodak’s fl exo system, lamination eliminates the oxygen inhibition problem, so the dots on the plate are the correct size and full height with stable bases and fl at tops. Because of the oxygen present during exposure of traditional digital plates, on the other hand, dots on these plates shrink during exposure, have rounded tops and narrow bases, and small dots do not reach full height. On Kodak’s plates, even the smallest dots in the original fi le are created on the plate as full height, printable dots. PREDICTABLE PRINTING When you trust the accuracy of the reproduction and the stability of the printing process, you are more likely to have confi dence in process printing. With other fl exo plates, it is diffi cult to predict that every dot is going to print throughout the run, so jobs using process color separations could look diff erent from the beginning of the run to the end. Users often feel that it is safer to use spot colors to get consistent color with traditional digital fl exo plates, but using spot colors adds cost in terms of both materials and time. On press, converters using process color separations typically use fewer plates per job. Also, they reduce the time it takes to set up and switch jobs, increasing both their productivity and their fl exibility. Having the 1:1 image transfer with Kodak’s system allows for a full tonal range using all 256 gray levels, enabling process printing to achieve predictable print results with greater contrast and image defi nition, for images that are typically challenging for fl exo. With the fl at-top dot structure, higher ink transfer is achieved without loss of image quality, which results in expanded color gamut capabilities when using process printing. Having predictability in prepress can enable you to successfully automate your process for added effi ciency and productivity, and it helps eliminate unnecessary plate remakes. FOR A VIDEO DEMO OF THIS TECHNOLOGY. VISIT THIS PAGE ON WWW.FLEXOMAG.COM www. f le xography. org MAY 2009 FLEXO 27