fm drupa 2012 24seiter.indd

fm drupa 2012 24seiter.indd

18 Photoproducts


Creating for tomorrow

Asahi Photoproducts at Hall 11, Stand A60

Lifting the quality of flexo

printing to gravure

and litho standards has

been an aspiration of the flexographic

industry for many

years. Achieving that goal

would open the door to any

number of new markets and

customers. This article sets

out to demonstrate how that is

now possible using the latest

Asahi AWP plate.

Conventional solvent plates in

the marketplace are fit for purpose,

but the customers constantly

demand more print consistency.

Customers in reality

are demanding that the print

quality of packaging goes up;

at the same time the prices of

packaging goes down.

AWP plate requires significantly

less printing pressure to transfer

ink to the substrate. This

simple fact makes consistent

printing of the finest highlight

dots and vignettes that fade

to zero easy. Work flow is simplified

because halftones and

solids can be included on the

same printing plate. The ho-

mogeneous ink characteristic

of the AWP plate creates solids

with less “pinhole” phenomenon

on press. The combination

of smooth solids and very

small first printing dots makes

even the most difficult picture

look magnificent. Improvement

of the brightness range of the

print, whilst maintaining a large

colour space, is the secret to

producing great flexo print quality

that contain images which

look natural and will stand

close comparison with other

print processes.

The AWP plate making technology

is designed to save more

than it costs. The technology

is an integrated process, which

includes specially designed

processing equipment. Asahi

has developed a Flow line for

the AWP plate. The total time to

make a plate is around 80 minutes.

The plate can hold a 200 lpi

screen and produce vignettes

that taper down to zero without

the need for special halftone

screen technology. A key attrac-

tion of the AWP plate is that no

changes are required on press.

It is not necessary for the printer

to make changes to the printing

technique to accommodate

the AWP plate. Basically, printers

will get the high quality result

without additional cost or

investment. The unique inking

mechanism also reduces the

need for “press stops” for plate

cleaning when working with

finer screens. This significantly

raises the overall equipment

effectiveness (OEE). The improved

ink release means that

a design with large solids and

tone of the same colour (typically

printed with two plates for

optimum results) can now be

printed using the same plate.

Unique dot vs. Solid

printing characteristics

of AWP explained

Packaging requires special colours

and that is the reason

why there are eight-colour flexo

presses. The flexographic

printing process is the most

pressure sensitive of all of the

printing processes. That is the

reason traditionally the flexo

industry splits the solid and

halftone onto separate printing

units. AWP is less sensitive to

pressure so therefore it is not

necessary to print separate colours

for the solids and tones.’

Underpinning science can be

used to explain the uniqueness

of the AWP photopolymer plate

and what enables it to print

most packaging designs with

only four colours.

The images shown in Figure 2

reveal the unique inking mechanism

of AWP. When the AWP

photopolymer plate is removed

from the press after being printed

it is clear of ink. Compare

the plate sample on the left of

the illustration to the other two

conventional plates (centre and


The AWP plate has a very low

printed highlight dot gain

characteristic when compared

to other conventional solvent

printing plates. The curve

shown in Figure 3 was produced

by a conventional plate

and indicates that the 10% dot

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