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EskoArtwork revolutionizes flexo printing with HD Flexo

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Press release from the issuing company

Gent (Belgium) -- In order for the quality of flexo printing to rival offset, the flexo platemaker needs to use the combination of high-resolution optics along with an exceptional screening technology. EskoArtwork, the world leader in digital imaging of flexo plates and sleeves is revolutionizing flexo platemaking with the introduction of HD Flexo, a system that combines 4000 dpi HD optics along with unique screening technologies to take advantage of sharper and more accurate imaging. This technology will be available on new Cyrel Digital Imagers (CDI) and can be upgraded on all existing CDI systems. The solution is being introduced during Grafitalia, March 24-28, in Milan.

"EskoArtwork has driven developments in digital flexographic imaging technology since 1995. In fact, more than 90% of all digital flexo plates and sleeves are imaged on CDIs," explains Jürgen Andresen, EskoArtwork Vice President, Flexo Business. "Step by step, we have introduced a number of industry milestones to help automate the platemaking process, including inline main exposure at Drupa last year. The 'holy grail' for flexo has always been the promise of developing a system that matches the quality and ease of use of offset CTP. With HD Flexo, EskoArtwork closes that gap by offering consistent color and print quality, once more raising the industry standard for flexo quality."

How it works: the unique combination of optics and screening

HD Flexo combines high resolution, 4000 dpi optics-similar to using an ultra-fine pencil to write on paper - with proven screening technology used by many printers as the ideal solution for highlights and exceptional flexo print quality. This combination makes it possible to achieve outstanding print quality with a straightforward plate production process. Just as significant, this new technology is easy to use. There is no longer any need for tweaking or adjustments-it is simple and straightforward.

The high-resolution optics deliver more accurate, sharper imaging of text and line art. With the higher resolution, the optics also deliver more clearly defined, better shaped screen dots, because the dots are made of more pixels. The rounder dot shape means that they are more stable on press, resulting in longer print runs with the same printing plate-even more than standard digital flexo plates. With longer print runs, the press stops less often for wash-ups, resulting in greater productivity.

HD Screening places both large and small dots in the highlight areas to extend the tonal range to a much smaller percentage value than was previously possible with digital flexo. This effect can only be achieved through the combination of higher resolution optics and smart screening.

A digital technology accessible to a wide variety of plates and sleeves

Unlike other systems HD Flexo (and EskoArtwork CDI) will image plates manufactured by a variety of leading plate vendors, allowing users to select solvent or thermal plates, and can be imaged on a wide range of plate sizes and formats without any degradation of quality.

Sustainable advantages

HD Flexo brings some significant sustainability benefits as well. With HD Flexo direct digital platemaking, there is no manual lamination plate. Thus, there is no film to dispose of once the plates have been imaged. And because HD Flexo technology will work with thermal plate processing, there is no need for solvents that could be environmentally damaging. Printers who work with plates generated from HD Flexo typically reduce makeready sheets required to get to acceptable color by 66%-resulting in much less waste.

Exceptional plates deliver outstanding printing

With HD Flexo, printers can reproduce the full tonal range of offset, while maintaining easy set-up and implementation. Without the need to edit images in prepress-such as retouching tints in an mage file-the solution itself saves time and money. Meanwhile, the plates produced with HD Flexo deliver consistent print quality compared to conventional plates and can be used in longer press runs, resulting in better press uptime.

The flexo converter will notice many significant advantages to HD Flexo. The sharp detail in plates will produce high quality text and line art. With an exceptional dot structure and extraordinary screening, tints are smoother and easier to print. Meanwhile, there is a smooth vignette transition throughout the highlights to 'zero' and a high contrast in highlights and shadows without visible, hard edges. Investing in high quality HD Flexo makes it possible for the printer to invest in a flexo press that is 1/3 the capital cost of an offset press, while producing 1/3 of the material waste.

"HD Flexo is the next big step in flexo," comments Andresen. "It makes life easy for brand owners and print buyers without compromising quality. It also makes life easy for trade shops and converters because it can be applied on a wide variety of digital plates-all without compromise in quality. It does not require a significant capital equipment investment; just an upgrade of existing, installed equipment. Trade shops or converters active in label printing or flexo printing will benefit from HD Flexo because, with a safe, high quality process, they can compete with offset or other printing techniques without losing quality or having to adapt prepress specifically for the process. For that reason, HD Flexo should be considered a cost saving requirement for converters - not a luxury."

HD Flexo is available as of April 1st, 2009. It is completely field upgradeable for any existing EskoArtwork CDI customer.




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