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FLEXO Magazine : August 2008
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES NO SWELLING Rako is achieving good results in terms of true register as well. This plays a par- ticularly vital role in multiple-up repeat jobs. Unlike solvent-wash plates, no swell- ing occurs with the new plate. The wash- out agent is water with sodium carbonate. The soap solution in Witzhave is pumped directly from the wash-out system into a 1,000-litre tank. A disposal company col- lects the stored liquid as soon as the tank is suffi ciently full. While the discharged soap solution can be disposed into the normal sewer system, a professional disposal operation is recommended out of respect for the environment. There is still a small chance that monomers will be washed out during the production process. Commissioning a disposal fi rm will prevent such substances being able to enter the natural environ- ment, even in small quantities. LIMITED PRODUCTION CAPACITY Rako is thoroughly satisfi ed with the test results for the new printing plate. In the first six months, the company had ap- proximately 300 square meters of plate material available. This represents a com- paratively small quantity of the fi rm’s an - nual demand--between 15,000 and 20,000 square meters. For this reason, the firm plans to use the new plate technology on a larger scale. As soon as larger quanti- ties become available, Behrens intends primarily to test the performance limits of the new technology. First, he is interested in the question of how the interaction be- tween preprint, imaging, plate processing, handling, etc. when the workflow has to cope with a larger volume of square me- ters. In addition, the performance capabili- ties of the plate, in terms of reproducibil- ity, can be better assessed the more repeat jobs are printed. As production quantities increase, Behrens expects plate prices to fall. As of publication of this article, the new plate is still in the development stage, and cur- rently exhibits a price level comparable to that of most water-washable printing plates. In the future, Rako anticipates a price more similar to thermal plates. GOAL: DIGITAL Ultimately, however, it’s quality, not price, that’s crucial for Behrens. He also sees the new printing plate as an oppor- tunity to make the jump to fully digital platemaking, a goal that the Witzhave- based company has been pursuing for some time. It has not, so far, proved feasible. In the case of small impression cylinder circumferences commonly en- countered in narrow-web printing, the water-washable photopolymer plates offer the required flexibility for fitting snugly around the tight radii of the sleeve. These plates had not previously been offered for digital imaging. Digital, solvent-washed plates are more rigid, resulting in edge lifting. ? This article was submitted by Asahi Photoproducts Europe n.v./s.a., and refers to Asahi DFE plate technology, which was showcased at drupa 2008 . For more information, contact Klemens Ehrlitzer at + 49 (0) 9 31 - 40 51 66 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flexo Sustainable Fall 2008