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FLEXO Magazine : March 2014
INDUSTRY INDICATORS Industry Players Team To Bring Digital Gains To Flexo UV Technology, Process Automation & ECG Printing Drive Initiative Seven industry leaders are cooperating to drive flexog- raphy toward the new “digital” world of printing and converting. Process consistency, efficiency and cost reduction are the objectives of their project, dubbed, “REVO Digital Flexo Revolution,” to win the labels and packaging challenge for short runs, global quality and total flexibility. The companies joining together for the project are: • Flint • Esko • DuPont • Apex • Nuova GIDUE • UPM Raflatac • Adare The REVO project launched in December 2013 when the team selected UV flexo, expanded color gamut and digital process automation as the three technology drivers to support flexography ’s push to become “digital” and keep its role as the leader in the labels and packaging industries. “ We want to create an industry move toward flexo digitali- zation,” the team said. “ We share all our latest innovations— our open and cooperative approach is the key to the project’s success.” STARTING A REVOLUTION The project team focused on a handful of advantages: Cost Reduction Less substrate, ink and time are wasted for color matching in the press. Between 90 percent and 95 per- cent of the PMS palette is reproduced with seven fixed colors in the press. Less ink is needed to print solid colors as only vignettes are used to reproduce heavy solids. Less substrate is wasted during setup in the press, due to digital automation, and more uptime is achieved by a reduction in downtime caused by color matching, print and die cutting cylinders change, press setup and press inconsistency. Consistency Most variables are digitalized during the whole chain—“ from prepress to print. ” PMS inks are substi- tuted with seven fixed colors and operators’ skills are not re- quired for color matching. UV flexo inks deliver consistent ink behavior in the press. Anilox rollers and inks are optimized for consistent performances. Digital automation on press greatly reduces any variables caused by operator’s skills. Quality Seven colors and expanded color gamut provide vibrant effects on pictures, a more natural look and more realistic images. Eighty lines per centimeter screen count becomes standard, taking flexo to a higher print quality level. Digital Flexibility The same file can be printed on a digital or digital flexo press, with similar quality and costs. With extremely limited waste and setup times on the press, the pro- duction flow can be similar to a digital press, with frequent job changes, job interruptions and high flexibility in job planning. Graphic Flexibility A single job can show a virtually unlim- ited number of PMS colors, without additional print stations— seven print stations are sufficient. Two or more jobs can be interlocked for short run production needs, on the same web, even with several different PMS colors. Still, seven colors are sufficient. ALL FOR ONE, ONE FOR ALL Each partner delivers a specific technical contribution to the project: Niklas Olsson of Flint: UV flexo is the ideal process to become digital. UV inks are inherently consistent as there is no volatile organic compound (VOC) evaporation to “disturb” the printing process. Furthermore, inks do not dry on the plates, so waste is reduced and both quality and consistency increases. UV flexo inks’ printing quality is superior to water and solvent based types, as less ink is transferred (the ink is KEY PROJECT POINTS • Flexibility on par with digital setups • Ability to print multiple jobs simultaneously • Same file used on digital and digital flexo presses • Use less time, ink and substrate in color matching • Less operator involvement www.flexography.org MARCH 2014 FLEXO 19