by Dr. Dieter Niederstadt, Technical Marketing Manager Asahi Photoproducts
Anytime colour experts gather, you can be sure a topic of discussion is fixed colour palette printing, also referred to as Extended Colour Gamut printing. This process replaces the need for spot colour inks by using a fixed ink set, typically CMYK or CMYK/OGV. The 7-colour process enables achievement of more than 90% of the Pantone colours.
Belarus-based Uniflex has been on its fixed colour palette printing for eight years, and sees it as the next milestone in quality and efficiency for flexographic printing. The company worked to assemble a suite of industry-leading solutions to position Uniflex in the forefront of modern printing techniques to better serve its existing customer base and to expand its global footprint.
“The decision to use fixed colour palette printing was not taken lightly,” Eugen Lungin, Production Manager of Uniflex said. “It required many changes in both our equipment and our staff. We tested many different types of polymers, inks, mounting tapes, plates, platesetters and prepress solutions in order to come to the best possible configuration. Our implementation process, which took about 1.5 years, also required proper training of our prepress engineers, press engineers, technologists and ink technologists. We also significantly changed our quality control processes. Asahi was a key partner in this journey.”
Uniflex chose to use Asahi’s AFPTM-TOP and AWPTM flexographic plates with Pinning Technology for Clean Transfer, finding them to be the ideal plate choice for this new production methodology. “Our customers have strict requirements relative to the quality of their printing,” added Lungin. “We are always striving to take advantage of the latest innovations in flexography in order to meet and exceed customer expectations, and fixed colour palette printing is definitely one of those innovations. High quality, eye-catching, yet functional packaging is what our brand owners are looking for, and plates from Asahi Photoproducts are a vital enabler for us to achieve that and more. We began our fixed colour palette printing journey with Asahi’s AFPTM-TOP plates after a thorough market review, and found they had the best and most consistent ink transfer from start to finish during production runs. We subsequently added AWPTM water-washable plates to take advantage of their precise plate-to-plate register, fast platemaking time and environmental benefits to round out our plate portfolio, for the best of all worlds in fixed colour palette flexographic printing. We are now able to achieve quality at up to 200 lines per inch.”
Pinning Technology for Clean Transfer is a unique plate technology specifically engineered to transfer all remaining ink to the print substrate due to the photopolymer plates having a lower surface energy than other plates on the market. It is an ideal technology for fixed colour palette printing. Not only does this deliver stunning graphical quality, but it also improves overall production efficiencies due to reduced make-ready waste and fewer press wash-ups. In fact, independent testing reflects that Asahi plates with Pinning Technology for Clean Transfer deliver at least a 26% improvement in Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).
To learn more about the Uniflex journey and the cost, quality and productivity benefits the company achieved, read the full story here available in 9 languages.
About the Author:
Dr. Dieter Niederstadt, Technical Marketing Manager Asahi Photoproducts, is married with two children and has 28 year’s experience in the printing industry. In 1986, he started his career with an apprenticeship as a phototypesetter in an offset repro house in Dortmund Germany. In 1992, he began study at the University of Wuppertal/Germany print engineering and continuation at Watford College/UK with a B.Sc. (hones) degree in Graphic Media Study. He completed an M.Phil./PhD in relation to screening technologies applied to flexographic printing at the University of Hertfordshire/UK in 1999.
From 1999-2003, Dieter worked at BASF Printing systems in Germany in the department of applied flexo plate technologies of which 1.5 years was spent with BASF printing systems in South America as a regional technical manager for photopolymer plates. Since 2003, he has worked for Asahi Photoproducts (Europe), and from 2014 in charge as a Technical Marketing Manager. He is a member of the FTA and DFTA, and a past forum speaker and participant in various association working groups.
Source: FlexoGlobal Blog