La Hulpe, Belgium — Reproflex 3 Ltd, a leading packaging pre-media specialist in Newcastle is planning a move to larger premises as a result of the significant boost in production capacity using a KODAK FLEXCEL NX Digital Flexographic system. Installed in April 2010, the integrated system comprises the KODAK FLEXCEL NX Thermal Imaging Layer, a KODAK FLEXCEL NX Imager and a KODAK FLEXCEL NX Laminator. The innovative technology has brought about a significant increase in business and the company is now preparing to expand in 2011 to a new-build production plant of 16,000sq ft on two floors on an adjacent site.
Partners, Andrew Hewitson and Trevor Lowes set the company up in 1996 with a ten year strategy. Fifteen years on and still growing, they attribute their success to continuous investment in new technologies. “We started off with a small studio and a dream to invest and optimise the latest technologies in packaging prepress,” says Hewitson. “Using our long experience in flexography we have enhanced these tools and maximised their potential to deliver the highest quality products. Our service is built around a KODAK PRINERGY POWERPACK Workflow delivering specialized packaging prepress tools which are scaled to grow as we grow. This system allows for full automation including (RBA) rules based automated production. It is integrated with the KODAK - INSITE Prepress - Portal System alongside a KODAK MATCHPRINT Inkjet Proofing System for accurate colour management. We also use the KODAK - APPROVAL NX Digital Colour Imaging System. This supports the specification requirements of leading design agencies and brand owners. With these tools there are huge benefits in quality, consistency, accuracy and time efficiency.”
Planning for the future
The company ethos at Reproflex3 has always been to move forward with current trends. “In today’s consumer driven market there is a challenge to all brand owners and design and marketing agencies to create and produce unique brands,” explains Hewitson. “Kodak is at the forefront of packaging production and we are maximising the strengths of their technology. Our investment in Kodak’s FLEXCEL NX Plate Processing System is allowing us to be a genuine competitor to the gravure and litho process. We are recognising significant efficiencies with this process and the print quality from the KODAK FLEXCEL NX Digital Flexographic Plate is outstanding. On a global scale once a concept has been produced the technology allows for consistency across all media. Our mission is to drive the advantages and offer cost savings and transparency to our clients and their printers worldwide.”
As well as flexographic platemaking, Reproflex3 offers a complete design solution which includes packaging graphics production (artwork and pre-press) for all pack formats, print processes and languages, pack copy translation and cultural trans-creation and file management. The company also provides photography, image retouching, digital and physical mock ups, fingerprinting and colour management services.
The Benefits of KODAK FLEXCEL NX System technology
A key aspect of the KODAK FLEXCEL NX Digital Flexographic System occurs during the lamination, which ensures close contact between the layer and the plate, eliminating any oxygen. This results in a stable flat-topped dot, which is much sharper and cleaner on the plate. Trevor Lowes describes the technology as revolutionary. “In 25 years of working with flexo we both believe that this is a true revolution in flexo technology which will soon become a recognised standard competing with litho and gravure.”
Combined with KODAK MAXTONE Screening software, KODAK FLEXCEL NX System is completely removing the past limitations of the flexo print process. “We are achieving an astonishing 240 screen ruling,” enthuses Lowes. “Along with smooth vignettes, extended colour gamut and sharper images, the KODAK FLEXCEL NX Plate is producing photographic quality on flexible and rigid substrates. This offers our customers a brand that stands out from the crowd and a unique opportunity to introduce higher quality work into their portfolios. It gives us the ability to explore new business opportunities.”
Customers and Partners
Norprint Ltd has recently signed a three year ‘in-plant’ reprographics contract with Reproflex 3 Ltd, in order to deliver an even faster response to customer orders. Paul Johnson, Divisional Director for Norprint Ltd tells us: “We selected Reproflex 3 Ltd as they have their finger on the pulse when it comes to pre-press technology. Their internal processes coupled with leading edge software from suppliers such as Kodak means that there are many benefits for our customers. We run a 24/7 operation and sending jobs to print as quickly as possible with maximum accuracy is paramount. With the Reproflex 3 pre-press solution from Kodak, technical information relating to the job is held on the system, delivering Rules Based Automation. This means files are verified and delivered immediately to the platemaking function in a CTP (computer to plate) environment. Repeat ordering is faster and a completely painless process. Regarding the KODAK FLEXCEL NX Digital Flexographic System, we are using this in high quality labelling applications and we are very impressed with the sharpness and detail that the NX technology brings – it is a truly comparable printing process.”
Norprint Ltd is part of Magnadata Group Ltd with headquarters in Boston, Lincolnshire, UK. Regarded as one of Europe’s largest labelling solutions providers, Norprint has revenues of over 20 million GBP per year and employs over 125 people throughout the UK. The company produces over 7 billion labels per year from blank labels to high quality primary packaging labels. Norprint delivers label printing supply chain solutions throughout Europe with a focus on a variety of market sectors including industrial, commercial, food, retail and security.
Reproflex3 is planning to expand in 2011 to new premises on an adjacent site. The company believes the timing is right for growth within the packaging market and that they have the platform to take advantage of the opportunities. Andrew Hewitson concludes, “We truly believe with Kodak’s FLEXCEL NX System we can offer our clients a world class solution. This technology is the future and we will be developing it further to give our customer base unique products and the differential to build their businesses. After 15 years we have reached a milestone and our vision is becoming a reality. With Kodak behind us we are ready to move onto the next phase!”