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FLEXO Magazine : September 2010
Technologies & Techniques the usual hydrocarbon solvents are unnecessary. The system is also free of any VOC emission. Thermal plates generate VOCs during the melting and removal of the relief layer, which are also carried away with the unexposed photopolymer removed by the blotting material. Water is a precious natural resource, so this new technology takes water conservation into consideration. To be as clean as possible, a water proces- sor, specifically dedicated to the plate technology, reduces any potential waste and water. The system allows water to be re-used during the various steps of the washout process. Clean water used for the rinsing of the plate is transferred into the washout with the addition of de- tergent and is then used as a wash-out agent. At the end of the cycle, the con- taminated water may be distilled and reintroduced into the system working in essentially a closed loop, substantially reducing waste. Water-based plate processing sig- nificantly reduces the necessary time to process a plate. The plate is press ready in under one hour—as compared to two to three hours for solvent plates— even as fast as thermal plates. The long drying times, VOCs and energy costs, the norm for traditional systems necessary to evaporate the solvent and its return to its original thickness are completely eliminated in this water processing. The photopolymer does not absorb water as in a solvent system, reduc- ing drying time and maintaining the precise gauge needed in many new printing systems and presses. Only a small amount of water, from the rinsing section, must be removed from the plate surface. An air tunnel dries this remain- ing moisture, allowing the plate to leave the processor perfectly dry, ready to be finished. Meanwhile, energy-demanding hot air dryers are no longer required. ConClusions The new plate technology has been designed from the start with a strong consideration for the environment and a commitment to minimize any possible waste of precious resources. In addition, it brings a significant improvement of print quality standard. The entire concept can be considered as a significant break- through in the flexo printing industry. It is hoped that the migration to flexo will continue, as quality and ecology benefits demonstrate promising results. n ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Chin- nis, senior technical advisor at Asahi Photoproducts, has nearly 25 years of experience in the printing industry. A graduate of Clemson University with a BS in Graphic Communications, Chinnis has held a number of print production roles, from press operator to flexo press supervisor, flexo prepress supervisor, production manager, process engineer and plant manager. For the past nine years, he has been a technical manag- er and advisor for photopolymer plate manufacturers; most recently at Asahi. Chinnis has participated as an FTA Awards Committee member and judge. He has also been a presenter at FTA, FPPA, Clemson and the Sonoco Institute, and a contributor to trade magazines, including FLEXO. www.flexography.org september 2010 FLeXO 73 Being an independent ink manufacturer gives us the freedom to respond to your needs more quickly and with greater flexibility. It also makes our personal commitment to product excellence and exceptional service more binding. We call that our “Signature Service” and we take pride in helping printers achieve the best printing results possible. If you’re not receiving our Signature Service now, perhaps it’s time you experienced an independence day and talk with an Alden & Ott specialist. For over 50 years, the quality and service goes in before our name goes on— Alden & Ott Printing Inks. • Offset Printing Inks • Flexographic Printing Inks Alden & Ott Printing Inks Company Arlington Heights, IL tel: 847.364.6817 1.800 .552.INKS aldenottink.com We’ve always believed in independence. FLX_Sept2010_mech.indd 73 8/31/10 5:42 PM