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FLEXO Magazine : February 2011
Technologies & Techniques Future Potential Since its introduction at the end of 2008, the number of UV LED systems installed at customer sites has increased rapidly. Today, more than 60 LED systems with a total UV output of more than 7500W have been installed. The high level of acceptance in the marketplace indicates that in the high-end range, UV LED exposure will replace the analog tubes. Based on this commercial success and the ex- cellent experiences gained by customers with digital inline UV exposure, LED technology will continue to be developed. For example, an offline version of the UV LED system, which can be retrofitted to flexo prepress and highly productive imagers, can continue to concentrate on LAMS imaging. The system is already in beta testing. But, perhaps more influential is the idea that inline UV can be considered the first step of a true automated digital plate imaging system. In the future, UV LED back exposure will be integrated into the automated plate workflow. With UV back exposure, LAMS ablation, and UV main exposure conducted in the same digital imaging device, the plate is ready for ther- mal, water-wash or solvent processing. All benefits, including a further reduction in processing times, can be achieved in one efficient workflow. n About the Author: Ian Hole is, vice president for Business Development at EskoArtwork. He is a frequent contributor to FLEXO, as well as a regular speaker at FTA and other graphic arts industry conferences and events. ReM image shows a correctly exposed dot on a letterpress printing plate, using inline uV with the letterpress optical path. ReM image shows the dot of a letterpress printing plate with the typical angle distortion achieved with a point light uV source. ReM microscopic image shows the result of the standard exposure of a digital flexo printing plate with inline uV, normal dot formation with round tops. ReM image shows how easily flat top dots can be achieved at reduced drum speeds with inline uV, using the same digital flexo printing plate. 46 FLeXO FebRuaRy 2011 www.flexography.org FLX_Feb11_mech.indd 46 2/16/11 8:51 AM
Sustainable Winter 2011