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FLEXO Magazine : September 2010
Technologies & Techniques of litho or gravure printing. Due to this quality leap, flexo printers already have been able to transfer production from another printing process to flexographic printing successfully, without any notice- able loss of quality. In the pressroom, the new water- washable photopolymer has demon- strated other unique properties, includ- ing exceptional ink release properties, plate longevity (think: sustainability), and dimensional plate accuracy. The photopolymer has the unique ability to transfer and release virtually all the ink it takes from the anilox. The manner in which the ink pins to the dots on plate is quite different than seen on other platemaking systems. This pinning virtually eliminates problems such as ink build-up and dot bridging due to the improved release. Press stops due to plate dirtying and ink build up are dramatically reduced. Ink release is so elevated that at the end of the run, the plate is nearly as clean as before print- ing (see Figure 4). Actual results in production dem- onstrate that this plate technology lasts longer than similar products with regards to abrasion resistance or plate life, reducing the amount of times needed to remake a new plate. Finally, the plate shows a high forgive- ness to changes of printing conditions, such as pressure. This leads to easier (and thus faster and cheaper) press makereadies. The results are less substrate waste, and less down time. The large plate latitude brings stability to the final printed result, reducing deviations during the run or between different press runs over time and printer. The Green Process Both the plate and the entire process have been designed to provide ecological benefits. As a water-washable plate, FiGure 3. subtle vignettes in live job. The left picture shows the actual job, two red arrows are pointing the 200x magnification pictures (right). Formed printing dots as small as 10 microns can be spotted on impression FiGure. 4. clean plate (left) after printing with minor traces of ink build-up in contrast to two solvent type plates (center and right) after printing with large ink build up and the need for thorough plate cleaning. FiGure 5. The closed loop concept in the plate processor 72 FLeXO sepTember 2010 www.flexography.org FLX_Sept2010_mech.indd 72 8/31/10 5:42 PM