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FLEXO Magazine : March 2014
full solid, without VOCs). Dot gain is reduced and ink densities are higher. This project needed top printing quality and high color density to achieve the best performances. New genera- tion UV flexo inks support REVO with high pigmentation, con- sistent ink transfer and consistent density properties, giving the project a wide range of graphic possibilities and excellent consistency performances. And UV flexo is sustainable, as UV inks need much lesser "drying" energy. Dan Pulling of Esko: Expanded color gamut is the most logical solution for the flexo industry going "digital." There are seven inks always in the press, with no need to change anilox or ink. No special colors, no color matching, no waste of substrate, no press downtime. Most PMS colors can be re- produced by printing seven colors on top of each other. With seven colors "selected," prepress can "digitally " reproduce 90 percent to 95 percent of PMS colors. As happens already with digital presses, this can lead to a new era for flexo with fully integrated digital workflows. The same file can be printed on a digital or digital flexo press, with consistent "digital" print quality and equivalent costs and productivity on both presses (with flexo keeping a wider range of applications in medium to long runs). The technology also provides greater design flexibility, as the same job can be printed with a virtually unlimited number of PMS colors. Or, two or more jobs can be interlocked on the same web, with completely different PMS colors. This project opens a wide range of new possibilities for graphic designers and production managers. Friedrich Wolf of DuPont: New digital flexo plates allow for extreme consistency and print quality. New plate quali- ties and modified processing workflows result in high image resolution and excellent ink transfer. The solvent free plate processing technology supports the environmental aware- ness of the project. Fine screen rule of 80 lines per centimeter is the new standard, once again changing the rules of our industry. The new generation of digital plates provides the desired quality and as a result, a wide gamut of PMS colors can be reproduced without changing the inks in the press. The final printed quality is also more vibrant, with more natural greens, reds, oranges and blues. This creates new graphic opportunities for label and packaging designers. By moving closer to digital consistency and cost reduction, REVO technologies can reproduce real colors that could never be achieved before. Nick Harvey of Apex: UV flexo ink and digital flexo plates deliver fantastic and consistent quality. But inconsistent ink transfer and inconsistency between anilox rollers might endanger the digital consistency of the REVO standards. In a 7-color separation, a key factor is to provide accurate and consistent color lay down. Recently developed engraving technologies, which have resulted in next generation anilox rollers, are able to overcome some inconsistency of standard anilox designs. The project's standards needed a predictable ink density, which can be achieved thanks to the scientifically designed open slalom ink channel geometry, which delivers an ink transfer with less than 1 percent tolerance. This next generation technology provided a fundamental contribution to our digital standards. Another advantage is that less ink transfer is needed to achieve the same level of opacity. By overlapping seven vignettes instead of using full solids, ink transfer is reduced, as well as ink consumption. Ink costs are reduced, curing costs are reduced and the whole PMS process is consistent and repeatable. Federico d'Annunzio of Nuova GIDUE: Extensive digital automation in the printing press is needed to bring together all the opportunities of the "digital" flexo process. On the printing and converting sections, servo motors and digital HD cameras substitute the operator 's eyes and fingers with digital counterparts. The new generation presses exchange the print and die cutting cylinders from "old" to " new " job automatically. Setup and production operations are digitally controlled, with very limited intervention from the operator, who in turn becomes a production manager and quality tutor on the press, as most of the operations are automated and digitally controlled. Digital automation in flexo presses com- pletes the "digital chain" from prepress to plates, to inks, to anilox and finally to printing and converting, to achieve a full digitalization of the flexo process. Marko Tiainen of UPM Raflatac: The digital flexo revolu- tion is setting a global standard and this calls for consistency from all partners. Among the benefits of the project are cost efficiency and a reduction in waste, and product development supports this with materials that are engineered for a more sustainable use of resources, cost efficiency and process efficiency, all while retaining optimal performance. New sub- strates and printing technology are progressing in parallel with the same objectives. Daragh Whelan of Adare: If you can measure it you can control it, and if you can control it you can reproduce it; this is one of the many advantages REVO gives to the converter. Having digital control of all our variables ensures brand consistency and enables Adare to emulate PMS shades out of seven colors. With digitally optimized technologies, we are quicker to market and have also reduced the minimum order quantity for laminated flexible packaging products to as little as 11-lb. It's like having a digital press with flexo costs. Using new software, hardware, UV flexo inks, digital plates, anilox rollers, seven color separation, standardized sub- strates and digital automation on press, this project provides an off the shelf solution to label and packaging converters. They can embrace a defined protocol of consumables, soft- ware and hardware technologies which immediately deliver the production of a digitized flexo process. Partners have agreed to promote an industry move toward the full digitalization of the flexo process and agree to share all the standards and protocols defined for the best perfor- mance at a later stage. The project's standards will be open to all flexographic industry players who are willing to share in its objectives. A REVO Open House, at GIDUE's premises in Florence, Ita- ly is scheduled from June 10--12. There, the project's partners will introduce REVO, with live demonstrations. First installa- tions are expected later this year. n 20 FLEXO MARCH 2014 www.flexography.org