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EskoArtwork makes the best flexo plate imaging even better

Press release from the issuing company

Gent, Belgium - EskoArtwork continues to revolutionize flexo plate making with HD Flexo version 2.0. HD Flexo combines 4000 dpi HD optics on the EskoArtwork Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI) with advanced screening technologies to produce sharper and more accurate imaging. The new version 2.0 with improved screening provides higher solid ink density (SID) for more vibrant colors on packaging. This impressive result can be achieved while printing with standard flexo inks and anilox rollers.

HD Flexo is the leading quality product in EskoArtwork's Digital Flexo Portfolio. It is unique in offering near-offset quality across all flexo print applications in an easy to use product. With version 2.0, EskoArtwork further improves quality of the standard printing equipment and plates already in use by its customers. It remains an open industry standard system that operates with the customer's existing CDI equipment, plates and working methods, completed with specifically tuned dots and without tying the customer to specific plates or other consumables.

"HD Flexo has been a tremendous success, adopted and applauded by leading flexo printers worldwide," remarks Jürgen Andresen, EskoArtwork vice president, Flexo Business. "Now, EskoArtwork is responding to the further wishes of our customers worldwide to extend HD Flexo capabilities. We have strengthened HD Flexo's position as the 'open' industry standard for high quality flexo, available for all flexo applications -- labels, flexible packaging and corrugated -- and supported by major plate manufacturers. These new capabilities further enable conversion of gravure and offset work to flexo. The enhanced process color gamut makes it possible to replace spot colors with process colors, thus reducing the number of print stations and making co-printing of designs possible."

HD Flexo 2.0 will be particularly useful for flexible packaging and corrugated converters, and trade shops aiming to increase shelf impact for their brand owner customers. It will enable them to expand their business into the higher-quality segments of the print market.

Even better print quality and extended color gamut
While HD Flexo 1.0 focused on delivering on higher rulings and excellent highlights -- the principal pain points for flexo converters -- HD Flexo 2.0 delivers exceptional printing throughout the entire tonal range; dazzling highlights, stable midtones, and smooth solids, along with higher SIDs (solid ink density). HD Flexo now supports high-quality flexo corrugated-post print, making it possible to produce designs in post-print, which previously required a more expensive pre-print process.

Printers today seek a larger color gamut to match more PANTONE colors with CMYK process inks and ultimately improve shelf impact. This helps to reduce costs often demanded by the brand owner. A higher SID may extend the edges of the gamut, but brand colors must be matched accurately by mixing small amounts of process colors as accurate highlights. HD Flexo is able to do this along with better tint builds -- with standard volume aniloxes and standard inks. This allows a converter to print more PANTONE tints within gamut while consuming less ink.

Saving cost and energy
Converters and brand owners want to improve quality while reducing costs both on press and in prepress. With HD Flexo 2.0, make-ready time on the press is reduced and plates deliver greater run lengths. Time-to-market is reduced through a simplified prepress. There is a sustainable benefit as well. Printing flexible packaging on a flexo press instead of gravure reduces energy use and CO2 emissions by as much as 50%. Converters and brand owners can improve sustainability by taking advantage of the higher quality offered with flexo and plates images using HD Flexo.

How it is done
HD achieves the more vibrant solids with the help of new MicroCell screening, an evolution of EskoArtwork's patented PlateCell technology that takes advantage of high-res 4000 ppi imaging, developed to improve the solid ink transfer. Imaging at the higher resolution on the CDI allows to image more MicroCells and create a textured surface on the plate, improving ink lay-down and increasing ink density on the final print. MicroCell screens run throughout the full tonal range of process inks, which improves image richness and contrast. This is especially helpful for Pantone colors, and for white underprints.

HD Flexo 2.0 is undergoing beta testing and will be released in Q4 2010. MicroCell technology is included in the standard HD Flexo. Existing HD Flexo customers will receive HD Flexo 2.0 as part of the maintenance contract.

HD Flexo 2.0 follows about one year after the release of version 1.0. During its first year 175 CDIs with HD Flexo have been installed and HD Flexo is being used by companies all over the world to improve brand packaging.

HD Flexo is delivered with optimized screening support for a broad range of existing and new plate types. Each plate has its own personality and EskoArtwork has researched correct calibration and validation for each set of screens for each plate. Which makes it easy for the user to pick a preferred plate and screen -- and get good results.