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Creo Announces New Prepress Developments for Flexo

Press release from the issuing company

Graph Expo 2003 Chicago, IL (September 28, 2003) – Creo Inc. is pleased to announce new developments to the Prinergy Powerpack packaging workflow and the ThermoFlex family of computer-to-plate (CTP) devices. These improvements are designed to make flexographic packaging trade shops and converters more successful. New Flexographic Image Enhancement Technology The latest addition to the specialized flexo technologies available in Prinergy Powerpack is DigiCap digital plate capping, which improves print quality in solid areas. “Plate capping” is a traditional technique in which the plate surface is slightly textured to improve ink coverage. While effective, it is a slow, costly and impractical as a general solution. DigiCap simulates the plate capping effect digitally by applying a pattern of small reverse dots in the surface of the plate. This minimizes visual artifacts, and in some cases reduces dot gain while increasing solid ink densities. From a prepress efficiency perspective, DigiCap is a simple, effective solution. It can be applied to any file, without investing additional time or effort. Solids and midtones are improved, and line art and process color are improved. Even archived 1-bit TIFF files can be processed with DigiCap. How DigiCap Works The surface of the photopolymer plate is smooth like the surface of a glass table. When ink is deposited on the surface of the plate, it cannot maintain a uniform thickness and bleeds into the non-imaged areas. Therefore to completely cover the substrate with ink, the printer must add impression (squeeze) between the plate and print substrate to compensate for the uneven amount of ink on the plate. This process leads to several problems in the appearance of the images: uneven density in the solids, excessive dot gain and slur. DigiCap technology applies small reverse dots to the surface of the plate, which helps to minimize visual artifacts, and in some cases reduces dot gain while increasing solid ink densities. By applying a tint to the solids, the ‘white’ reverse areas in the print are reduced in size, which increases ink density and improves the visual appearance. This is very apparent near or around reverse copy as the application of a tint in the solid eliminates the noticeable darker keyline that forms around the reverses. Additional Flexo Technologies Another Creo solution for flexo is Raster Scaling, which applies scaling (distortion) to screened files. Experienced prepress and press operators know that the flexibility of flexo plates can cause problems. The flexible plate material can stretch and distort while being imaged, and cause slight variations in dimension that can affect registration. These variations can create color shifts, moiré and other visual artifacts. Raster Scaling provides digital correction to the plate image. By applying slight adjustments to the X and Y scaling and placement of the image, Raster Scaling maintains a plate set that will be in correct register when mounted on press. Creo Maxtone hybrid screening was developed to improve the ability of flexographic plates to reproduce highlights and detail. Maxtone is a hybrid screen—an AM screen that applies FM techniques. Maxtone allows the operator to set a minimum dot size in order to prevent the formation of dots that are too small for the flexo medium. To extend the tonal spectrum, Maxtone uses an FM-like screening technique. To create lighter shades, dots are removed in a random pattern. Producing lighter colors with fewer (rather than smaller) dots results in improved highlight detail and a more robust plate. Color blockup in darker shades is also controlled by selectively removing dots. GATF InterTech award-winning HyperFlex is a plate resolution enhancement technology that improves the quality of Maxtone screening. It extends the imaging potential of flexographic plates by enabling smaller dots to be formed and held throughout the print process. The ability to produce a smaller minimum dot size increases the effective resolution of the flexo plate and allows highlights to be reproduced more faithfully, with a less discernible transition in vignettes. All of these screening and image enhancement solutions are available as options in the Prinergy Powerpack packaging workflow. Graph Expo visitors are viewing print samples prepared with these advanced solutions at the Creo booth, #4008. More Media Options More plate options are now available for the ThermoFlex product line. ThermoFlex CTP devices now image digital plates for rotary letterpress printing on such substrates as paper, film, foil, plastic, and laminated stock. A magnetic drum option is now available on the ThermoFlex Narrow to image metal-backed plates for dry-offset applications. Dry-offset printing is used to decorate cans, cups, plastic containers and tubes. Packaging and Networked Graphic Production All Creo solutions for packaging are integrated into Networked Graphic Production, the industry initiative that is streamlining printing cycles, shortening cycle times and minimizing errors on press by building smart connections between workflow solutions and imaging devices, and by exchanging data between production and management information systems. For the packaging converter or trade shop, Networked Graphic Production means better results on press, improved visibility into the true cost of a job, and time savings by integrating the data flow. Learn more about Creo packaging solutions with Networked Graphic Production at Creo booth #4008 at Graph Expo until October 1, 2003.