by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
FLEXO Magazine : December 2010
laydown, cleaner fade in highlights, and the overall image printing better. Moore said he believes that, “There is no comparison in tone range between flexo and offset, with flexo being far superior.” Regardless of technology—water, solvent or thermal—Paul Lancelle, flexo print application specialist, Kodak, indicated that putting the smallest dot on the plate delivers the best fade to zero. He insisted that flexographers look beyond the dot and ask, “How will it print? Hold up? Make money?” To Lancelle, what it means to print like offset entails use of a high resolution dye- based mask to guarantee stable, predictable printing; retain all gray levels, expand the color gamut and eliminate hard breaks in a fade to zero. He expressed the belief that the fo- cus needs to be on high power laser masks that through 1:1:1 technology maximize consistency and eliminate conversion errors. “Practical, efficient pressrooms that embrace wider impression latitudes can ensure day-to-day predictability. ” “Exciting times, different choices and multiple opportuni- ties”—that’s what Dr. Tim Gotsick, director of innovation, MacDermid Printing Solutions, associates with modern-day flexo plate rooms. The mission, in his eyes, is to raise the capabilities of flexo to compete with other technologies—off- set included. The objective is to take business from them. His instructions to flexographers: “Capitalize on characteristics of analog and digital dots. Create better geometry for the dot, featuring plate-to-print highlights that enable better print performance, thanks to smaller dots, higher line screens, smooth vignettes, reduced fluting and full stoichatic screen- ing.” Gotsick admitted that gain correction is required. He also recommended quantifying color space. David Chinnis, senior technical advisor, Asahi Photoprod- ucts, advocated “selling color to your customers, not the smallest dot.” Water-wash plates deliver excellent ink transfer, in his opinion. At the same time, they reduce cleaning steps, result in fewer press stops and lower costs. Chinnis cited ad- vantages of water-wash plates as printing color with rich and continuous tones, thanks to the finest impression and broad range of dot sizes utilized. All panelists agreed that flat-top dots had advantages in specific business segments; yet their opinions ranged as to how wide the spectrum of applications is and should be. Lancelle called flat top dots “always a benefit on press.” He also saw success across all segments. Benefits he alluded to included the following. “ Plate stress and wear are reduced. Printability and capability enhancements result from the use of fewer plates. That translates to quicker make ready, longer plate life and faster run speeds. Fewer printing units and col- ors are required for accurate, consistent, repeatable, superior imaging.” Gotsick said that he believes flat-top technology to be the third dimension in surface morphology. He listed strong at- tributes as, “edge definition, valley depth, shoulder angle and dot surface.” T he idea, he noted, is to “prevent dots from inter- fering with each other.” “Flexo is a digital pro- cess,” Chinnis decreed. “Any advantage to a flat-top dot has much to do with substrate.” Emmerling credited the flat tip with fighting gear marking and improving solid ink laydown. “It reduces fluting, improves impression latitude, delivers cleaner/sharper tones. ” He also pointed to less chance of dot bridging. Mazur saw advantages and disadvantages to flat top dots. “In corrugated, they clearly reduce fluting. For security print- ing flat tops can print text below 1 point.” Moving onto his per- ception of disadvantages, Mazur listed contact area and dot compression. “ Standard digital workflow produces less con- tact and greater efficiency because the bulk of deformation does not occur in the tip of the dot. In digital, it’s the simple pixel that is extremely important for best image reproduction.” With respect to polymers and their impact, Gotsick said they will help grow the market for flexo as a print technol- ogy. Emmerling explained that polymers afford the use of open exposure systems that enhance finer details and come with environmental advantages. “Ultra thin plate technology means smaller carbon footprints.” Chinnis linked polymers to sustainability, saying that from both the end-user’s and plant’s perspectives, they are quick to press, cause less swelling and promote recyclability. Mazur offered, “The future of flexo is round. Everything is focused on productivity. Ten years from now press speed will be 3,000 fpm or better. We’ll be talking about continuous print sleeves.” Lancelle had the final word, “From initial concept to final packaging, we’re after better looking print that is simpler and more cost effective to produce.” SuStainable SolutionS Jay Downey, Interflex Group, the 10th certified SGP (Sustain- able Green Printing Partnership) printer and the second flexo printer certified., took to the stage to brief Fall Conference attendees on his firm’s WRAPP Program—Waste Reduction Analysis of Packaging Process. He named it as this year’s required SGP continuous improvement project. It entailed managing metrics, material value, product to package ratios, cube utilization, recycle content, recovery value and renew- able energy. “ We focused on the 7Rs—remove, reduce, reuse, recycle, renew, revenue and read. Our mission was to define, measure, analyze, improve, control and monitor. We set out to educate potential customers and vendors on marketplace demand and sustainable solutions that reduce carbon footprints. ” Stressing innovation, productivity, quality, growth and profit, at the same time, Downey reported that Interflex achieved a VOC (volatile organic compound) reduction of 25 percent, solid landfill waste was trimmed by 19 percent, reduced water source waste by 19 percent, cut electrical costs by 7 percent and natural gas expenses were reduced by10.5 percent. Karen Gross, executive director SGP Partnership, of which FTA is a founding partner, pointed to consumer product companies and retailers like P&G, Coca Cola, Nike, Walmart, Ikea, and Toyota; as well as government agencies, business marketers, investors and even consumers, pushing sustain- ability certifications. “Customers demand it,” she said. “It’s that simple.” With that, she delivered a summary of findings of a recent FTA Printing Ops Sustainability Survey. Key findings listed out as follows: • 84 percent of respondents are moderately or very familiar with sustainability. • 74 percent are becoming more sustainable, without pres- sure from clients. • 58 percent have seen emphasis increase. • 90 percent are working to reduce environmental foot- prints. • 89 percent have recycling programs in place. • 54 percent have a sustainability program in place. • 29 percent are developing customized sustainability programs in their plant. Gross issued this advice. “Align yourself with your custom- ers. Validate your accomplishments. Commit to continuous improvement. Conform to best management practices.” FQC experimentS Flexo Quality Consortium experiments are being tied to both FIRST and International Standard Organization develop- mental efforts, according to Paul Lodewyck, director, product management, Flint Group; who chairs the research arm of FTA. At Fall Conference, he and Steve Smiley, director color technology, Vertis Inc., FTA’s rep on standards bodies, briefed attendees on work in progress, while looking to standards and their evolution as well. “Prior to 1983, essentially no graphic arts standards ex- isted,” the duo reported. “Packaging proprietors and graphic arts enthusiasts operated under proprietary systems.” Things have progressed to the point where, today, “We are changing the standard color chart to include grayscale.” Smiley noted that, “We’re updating color standards govern- ing, or defining the color of what we print and what color we certify ink to. This is exciting stuff. It’s no longer based on 22 FLEXO december 2010 www.flexography.org FTA TOdAY FLX_Dec10.indd 22 12/15/10 1:00 PM