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FLEXO Magazine : October 2011
reduced pinholing, when compared to the unscreened solids. This is accomplished without adversely affecting the minimum dot size or formation of small features. Text as small as one point was still legible and 1 percent/175-line dots printed cleanly. For the prepress operator and plate maker, the controlled atmosphere approach to increasing solid ink density has many advantages. First, it utilizes the existing digital workflow. The digital front-end and platesetter already in place are fully compatible, and there is very little difference between the standard digital workflow and the controlled atmosphere workflow. With the exception of the modified exposure unit, all other equipment remains unchanged. The industrial mix of gases used (nitrogen and oxygen), are safe and significantly less expensive than the consumables needed for a laminated workflow. They are readily available from local industrial suppliers, and can cost as little as $5.00 per exposure; much less than film laminates. There are no dust or dirt issues associated with the controlled atmosphere, and since nitrogen and oxygen are naturally occurring elements of our atmosphere, there are no waste disposal concerns as there would be with laminates. When the exposure is complete, you simply release the gases back to the atmosphere. Finally, the controlled atmosphere approach is the simplest and most flexible solution for utilizing the currently available solid screening programs to improve ink density. The system will work with virtually all plate types and is compatible with both solvent and thermal platemaking workflows. Initial testing has shown good results across a variety of sub- strate and ink combinations, and it is expected that exposure units will become available in the standard sizes of 35-in. x 47- in. , 42-in. x 60-in. and 52-in. x 80-in.. Retrofit kits will be available for many 52-in. x 80-in. vertical top-lift exposure units. DIGITAL WORKFLOW FIT The question that may be coming to mind now is, “Does the controlled atmosphere process replace the standard digital workflow?” The simple answer is, “No, it enhances the digital workflow. ” Standard digital workflow brought levels of qual- ity, consistency and productivity to flexo that had never been seen before. The lion’s share of today ’s flexo is printed with digital plates and the vast majority of brand owners are well satisfied with the quality they receive. Where the need is to improve ink density, enhance color gamut or increase print contrast, the controlled atmosphere approach allows the user to get the maximum benefit from available solid screening programs. When that’s the need, turn the system on. Otherwise, leave it off and continue to produce the standard digital plate. n About the Author: Ray Bodwell is the marketing manager for DuPont Packaging Graphics. Ray started in the flexographic prepress industry in 1977 and has been a frequent presenter at industry events and often contributed to FLEXO Magazine over the years. Feel free to contact Ray at raymond.w.bodwell@ usa.dupont.com. For more information of controlled atmo- sphere exposures, please visit www.dupon.com/na. www.flexography.org october 2011 FLEXO 19 Visit Rogers’ Web Site for more Information at www.rogerscorp.com/rbak or call 800.935.2940 or 607.786.8112 Consistent Print Performance Higher Running Speeds Fewer Press Adjustments Less Plate Damage • • • • The Difference is the Cushion A Microscopic Look At R/bak PSA2 Open-cell urethanes. (Magnified 100x) R/bak® Atlas Converting Equipment Ltd., Bedford MK42 7XT, UK T: +44 1234 852553 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Atlas Converting North America, Inc., C harlotte, NC 28273 T: +1 704 587 2450 E: email@example.com www.atlasconverting.com Rewind to the Future Titan slitter rewinder technology is taking another leap forward by providing unsurpassed levels of modularity, slitting productivity and rewind reel quality. The countdown has started to the next generation of Titan DT (Dual Turret) rewinding technology. Be amongst the first to witness this latest technology at ICE Europe 2011. Or find out more by pre-registering your interest at: www.atlasconverting.com And you could be the lucky winner of an Apple iPad2! • • Raising the bar in slitter rewinder technology Titan_Pallas_HPV_fta Flexo_Oct11_final_Layout 1 22/09/2011 09:29 Page 1