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FLEXO Magazine : April 2010
12 FLEXO april 2010 www.flexography.org • Increasing plate imaging resolution to 4,000dpi results in three times more pixels, which are 1/3 the size of conventional digital pixels. • FIRST provided a roadmap to process control. • Without the implementation of FIRST 4.0 guidelines, G7 is just another procedure. The focus of FTA Great Lakes Group (GLG) March meeting could be summed up in the three words: qual- ity, consistency and control. Held at Harper College in Palatine, IL, attendees were treated to a tour of school’s graphic arts facilities with refreshments courtesy of All Printing Resources, Graymills Corp. and DuPont Packaging Graphics, followed by an outstanding lineup of speakers. Problem, resolution Flexography has taken off as the primary printing process for packaging in the last five years due in large part to the ability of flexo to print on almost any substrate including some of the complex substrates currently used for packaging, ac- cording to Ian Hole, VP market development at EskoArtwork. He noted that numerous variables and limited tonal range compared to competing processes creates challenges for flexo. You only need one or two variables to go wrong to result in a color shift and loss of gray balance. Highlight detail is the byproduct of the finest dots produced. The 0-100 percent in dots is represented by 256 gray levels. With a minimum printing dot of 5 percent, what happens to detail in tonal range between 5 percent and 0? It gets squashed up into 5 percent, compacting the 12 gray levels supporting the 5 percent and resulting in a flat image. Another challenge stems from the fact that digital CTP pro- duces dots comprised of groupings of square pixels. When errant pixels from adjacent dots join, the result is a tonal shift. Printing solids and tone on the same plate can present ad- ditional difficulties. Having to run them on separate plates is a costly admission that you can’t print the full tonal range on one plate. Hole stated that a key to overcoming these challenges lay in higher resolution plate imaging. CTP plates are typically made with a 2,500dpi resolution. Increasing the resolution to 4,000dpi results in three times more pixels, which are 1/3 the size of conventional digital pixels. Smaller pixels produced from more digital information yield a rounder plate dot. This provides the opportunity to make highlight dots smaller because the smallest unit is 1/3 the size it used to be. If minimum dot was produced with four pixels, this new technology produces the same dot with 36 pixels. More data improves image quality, text and linework Whiter than White Producing a proof that provides an accurate representation of the finished printed piece is an important component of the prepress workflow. Having the means to predict and proof spot colors, as well as produce prototypes, 3D mock-ups and short runs can be very beneficial. That was the message of Roy Bohnen, Epson’s product specialist. White is typically produced on a proof with titanium-based pigments. But today ’s inkjet proofing represents a break- through in clear organic resin technology, employing hollow resin particles to randomly scatter light, rather than directly reflect it. This process creates the illusion of white with low specific gravity particles that do not require agitation. These new white inks provide amazing density with a single hit, producing greater opacity than conventional proofing sys- tems. This system, however, is also able to multi-hit the white for even greater opacity. Bohnen cautioned that this process is designed specifically for film and foil applications. First on Deck It is not uncommon for a printing operation to run multiple inks on multiple substrates with multiple press platforms. For Prairie State Graphics (PSG), rapid growth led to a mishmash of narrow and mid web press models running solvent- and water-based inks. Dan Doherty, VP of manufacturing for PSG Process Perfection FTa Great lakes Group Examines Workflow Dynamics By David J. lanska photos by larry Zabinski. FTA TODaY Eliminate stickyback waste Better print quality Saves time Less environmental impact Seamex® seamless flexographic printing sleeves achieve sustainable status through the reduction of set-up material, stickyback and the elimination of mounting labor. Improvements in press speeds can also be achieved due to its seamless design. OEC ECOTM is changing the packaging print process to meet your sustainability needs, increase your print quality and reduce printing costs. For a comprehensive Discovery to determine how OEC ECO’s process optimization can effect sustainability, cost reduction and print quality please call OEC Graphics at 866.371.4047 endless green-tech. >> Available in HIGH DEFINITION FLEXOXOOOOOOOOOOO HD A product of oececo solutions.com FLXApril10_mech.indd 12 4/11/10 9:33 PM
Sustainable Winter 2010