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FLEXO Magazine : June 2011
FTA TODAY September 26-28, 2011 Las Vegas Convention Center Las Vegas, Nevada USA Co-located with This is the closest you will come to a sure thing in Vegas. CPP EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO, is the converting and package printing industry’s biggest event. It completes a supply chain event that’s unmatched in the industry. And will give you the best opportunity to grow your business. Meet face-to-face with your customers and your suppliers. All at one time. And in one place. You will: • Spend less time out of the office • Spend fewer dollars • Accomplish more with your customers and suppliers • Get the most cost effective way to grow your business Visit CPPEXPO.com For more info on exhibiting, contact Leo Nadolske at CPP EXPO 201.881.1632 Email: email@example.com In Europe contact: Ria Van den Bogaert +32 2 569 8905 or email: Ria@vandenbo.com CPP EXPO is produced and managed by HA BRUNO LLC. 1/2 THE FEE (Only for a limited time) Register Now! for CPP EXPO co-located with PACK EXPO is a proven industry winner year after year. Make sure you’re there to build your business. And your bottom line. Flexo-Friendly Flat-Top Dots MacDermid’s LUX Technology Earns FTA’s 2011 Technical Innovation Award By Terri D’Arrigo Winston Churchill once said that a pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity and an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty. If that is true, then MacDermid Printing Solutions, winner of the Flexographic Technical Association’s 2011 Technical Innovation Award, is an optimistic company. Recognizing the flexographic chal- lenges inherent in digital platemaking—namely the fragility and inconsistency of the bullet-shaped dots on the plates— long-term FTA member MacDermid saw an opportunity to enhance the process and make it more flexo-friendly. The result is the LUXTM platemaking process, which creates plates with flat-top dots. The Challenge Digital platemaking is known for both its efficiency and the print quality afforded by the bullet-shaped dots on the plates. The bullet shape lends itself to the creation of the tiniest of dots, which promotes highlight detail in images. However, in digital platemaking, the size of the holes in the mask are often too small to permit UV energy to penetrate, which results in in- consistent dot formation. Although it is possible to make up for this challenge by applying a bump curve, that adds another step to the process, one that reduces printable levels of gray and, if not done with skill, steals highlight detail and produces flat, muddy images. Yet when all goes well, the bullet shape has a natural cut- back curve that makes the resulting print gain appealing. Appealing in other types of printing, that is. Flexo? Not so much. Digital flexo plates are extremely sensitive: As pressure increases on the plate, bullet-shaped dots will produce larger printed dots and inconsistent results. That’s if the dots don’t fold over on the press first—which defeats the purpose of making them so small because it compromises the quality of the “fade to zero” vignettes they make possible. For MacDermid, resolving these issues centered on mar- rying flat-top geometry to digital platemaking. Flat-top dots are tried and true in flexography, harking back to the early use of analog photopolymers in the industry. The challenge, therefore, was to find a way to create flat-top dots via digital platemaking without requiring major adjustments in equip- ment or adding too much time to the platemaking process. MacDermid’s answer is LUX. ProviDing FlexibiliTy The LUX platemaking process involves laminating a pro- prietary membrane over the top of an image-ablated digital flexo plate, conducting standard UV exposure of the photo- polymer through the membrane and removing the membrane prior to processing. These steps exclude oxygen from the photopolymerization reaction and make 1:1 mask:plate imag- ing possible. As a result, the smallest flat-top dots are sturdy, less sensitive to both press impression and wear and more conducive to highlight detail than bullet-shaped dots of the same size—no bump curve required. Printers and platemakers across all flexo market seg- ments—flexible packaging, folding carton, corrugated, tag and label and sacks, paper and multiwall bag—can use LUX technol- ogy with their existing MacDer- mid digital plates. The technology is compatible with the following: • Plates from .045 in./1.14 mm to .250 in. /6.35 mm thickness and anyplatesizeupto52in.x80in. 32 FLEXO JUnE 2011 www.flexography.org Flat for Flexo • Although the bullet-shaped dots of digital plate- making provide high detailing, they are fragile and susceptible to damage from the flexo print process. • Digital flexo plates are extremely sensitive: As pres- sure increases on the plate, bullet-shaped dots will produce larger printed dots and inconsistent results. • The LUX platemaking process provides flexo-friendly flat-top dots that are sturdy, less sensitive to press impression and more conducive to highlight detail than bullet-shaped dots of the same size—no bump curve required. • Platemaking with the LUX system excludes oxygen from the photopolymerization reaction and makes 1:1 mask:plate imaging possible.
Sustainable Spring 2011