Esko Technologies Help South African Printer Enhance Image Quality, Improve Productivity And Win Industry Recognition
Ghent, Belgium – Esko today reported that Uniprint continues to enjoy production and quality benefits offered by HD Flexo that have already enabled the South African full-service provider to reap numerous competitive advantages. Combining HD Flexo with Microcell screening and Automation Engine has enabled the company to boost both quality and profitability.
Uniprint designs, manufactures and distributes a wide range of commercial print and packaging products and services to corporate customers and institutions throughout Africa. The specialist in product decoration solutions including shrink-sleeves, self-adhesive and wrap-around labels, also produces a wide range of business forms. Its broad customer base includes FMCG, retailing, publishing, financial services, logistics, petroleum, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, education, elections, health, advertising and information technology companies. The Durban-based manufacturing operation, supported by a regional sales office in Johannesburg, has more than 300 employees.
Asheen Sharatkumar, Uniprint’s Technical Repro Manager, explains, “We have been using Esko’s HD Flexo since 2013, and we have noticed tremendous improvements. These include high quality image details and contrasts, highlights to zero and smooth vignettes. We are also able to achieve a broader and vibrant colour gamut and produce sharper images with minimal dot sizes.”
In fact, the high quality results helped Uniprint’s Richelieu sleeves attain prestigious recognition from Flint Group at its 11th annual Narrow Web Print Awards event during Labelexpo.
HD Flexo combines 4000 dpi HD optics on the Esko Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI) with advanced screening technologies to produce sharper, more accurate imaging. This impressive result can be achieved while printing with standard flexo inks and anilox rollers.
Streamline workflow for improved productivity
To streamline its workflow and improve productivity, Uniprint uses Esko Automation Engine for automated workflow. It takes the errors out of the process by allowing users to predefine repetitive tasks and incorporate automated decision-making within the workflow. When operator interaction is required to ensure quality, a comprehensive checkpoint in the workflow allows for easy access. In addition, interfaces between order administrative systems (MIS or ERP) and prepress production further reduce the manual interaction.
Microcell’s big impact
Uniprint also uses Esko’s Microcell screening strategies for solvent printing. As an integral part of HD Flexo, Microcell screening improves ink transfer and performance of the plate in shadow and solid areas, with high performance in shadow areas where there is a high colour saturation, especially when using solvent-based inks. Also, improving the performance of flexo in shadow and solid tones enables fewer printing plates to be used and less downtime due to plate cleaning.
Sharatkumar comments, “Microcell screening reproduces vibrant print with enriched colours. We have now tested Microcell with UV inks, and the solid areas improved significantly. We noticed a denser laydown that hides pin-hole effects. This works exceptionally well with solvent inks and achieves great solid colour laydowns.”
Peter Hargreaves, Esko Sales Account Manager South Africa, adds, “HD Flexo is a cost effective solution, yet it meets expectations for high quality results. It enhances flexo printing quality, enabling it to be a viable alternative to offset and gravure printing. Screen rulings in flexo can be increased while at the same time the size of the smallest printable dot is reduced. With HD Flexo, the tonal range is greatly expanded, gradations are printed more cleanly, and the contrast is greater in the entire tonal range. This means customers such as Uniprint can significantly improve the quality and consistency of their existing printing press equipment in a cost-effective manner.”