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FLEXO Magazine : February 2010
and Handle with Care FIRST says, The digitally-imaged photopolymer plate is processed without the use of photographic film. The sheet photopolymer material is supplied to the platemaker with a carbon black layer on the surface that is imaged from an electronic file using a laser. The laser removes, or ablates, the carbon black layer in the image areas of the design. After ablation, the carbon black layer acts as a mask, blocking the UV light, during the platemaking exposure process. The plate is back exposed, main exposed, processed (solvent or thermally), dried (solvent only), detacked, and post exposed just as with a conventional sheet photopolymer plate. TEST says, be careful! The elimination of film does away wih past problems of kinking and vacuum drawdowns. But this technology does bring on some new troubles to be aware of, such as scratching and creasing the mask of the raw material before imaging and/or exposing. Handling this material right out of the box does call for a bit of gentleness. (See page 34 of this issue for more information on proper handling.) For more information, see Section 17.3 (page 135) of FIRST 4.0. The Keys to Flexographic Excellence What is FIRST The intention of FIRST is to provide all participants in the flexographic reproduction process with a common set of guidelines, tutorials and data that can be used as communication and production tools. The aim of FIRST is to create a common set of specifications and communication protocols for the industry. This platform should es- tablish common communication and identify the responsibility of the provider(s). To order FIRST, call 631-737-6020 or visit www.ftastore.com. What is TEST TEST is the educational arm of the Flexographic Technical Association. The aim of TEST is to align all of the training materials available through the FTA with the guidelines, tutorials and data identified in FIRST. TEST is focused on implementing new learning methodologies to reach out to a larger portion of the FTA membership. For more information on TEST, visit www.flexography.org.