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FLEXO Magazine : February 2013
To be fair, gravure tended to print better solids. American Packaging’s 2012 priority to move to HD Flexo should alleviate that issue, with the ability to print with micro cell technology. There should even be better definition in the highlights. Just the use of HD Flexo should deliver a wider gamut as well. Calculations by American Packaging demonstrates a range of 24 percent less gamut compared to gravure when using traditional flexo digital platemaking, but a 12 percent increase in gamut when using HD Flexo. From American Packaging’s perspective, at the moment gravure produces high quality images and solids, while it offers just medium-quality type and a higher prepress cost. Meanwhile, flexo offers high quality images, solids and type, with low prepress costs and a faster turnaround time. In summary, gravure is great for long run work and designs that don’t change frequently, while flexo is great for long and short runs, and can handle designs that change. Because of that assessment, American Packaging is already expecting to convert upcoming jobs from gravure to flexo. In June 2012, American Packaging added high definition flexo. It also worked with a plate company to process flat top dots. At first, the challenge was to correctly fingerprint the press using HD plates, but as time progressed the production staff was able to home in on the best possible results. Now, the team loves the results and is printing better highlights and shadows. By the end of the year, all of American Packaging’s discre- tionary work was done on high definition flexo. As quickly as possible, it is convincing existing customers to fingerprint their work with high definition flat top curves. The only challenge is learning how to work with flat top dots. If the separations are correct, they are ‘dead-on right’, and the press is locked into very good work. However, because flat top dots are so stable, if the separations are not accurate, they cannot get adequate resolution by adding dot gain through pressure. The only way to change the work on press is by adjusting ink. This year, American Packaging continues to work with other plate manufacturers to fingerprint their press with flat top dots. Expect that by 2014 everything will be printed in high definition. FLEXO PRINT: Expanded Gamut Gains Acceptance Flexo Print, based in Guadalajara Mexico, prints pressure sensitive labels, roll fed labels, and shrink sleeves on eight flexo presses, six offset or offset combination, and two digital presses. Flexo Print provided two sets of samples. One compared flexo against offset, while the other compared flexo against digital. The flexo and offset test was a bright label for a fabric softener. In our test, the high- lights were every much as good as those from the offset press. Type and line art were — as well as shadows —pretty much comparable. The XTRA-PINE sample showed a likely advantage in flexo over digital, as long as the press re- mained in register. Line art and type was just as clean in flexo as it was in digital. In fact, one could make the argu- ment that it was even better. The highlights appear equal. Like the other printers, Flexo Print is putting a priority on HD Flexo, for better highlights and shadows, finer type, as well as a broader gamut. However, unlike the first two printers, Flexo Print is actively working toward expanded gamut. Tests conducted between CMYK and CMYK+OGB have been quite outstanding. There is certainly a brilliance that is missing in Standard CTP Micro cell screening (magnified) (magnified) OFFSET (Magnified) FLEXO (Magnified) 64 FLEXO FEbruary 2013 www.flexography.org