Tokyo, Japan & Brussels, Belgium – Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, today reported that Czech-based Colognia Press achieved 100% improvement in press uptime by simply switching to the Asahi Photoproducts platemaking system. Asahi will be showing the AWP™ water-washable flexographic plate solutions used by Colognia Press and featuring Pinning Technology for Clean Transfer at Labelexpo Europe 2017. Asahi will be located on Stand 5A34 at the show, scheduled for 25 to 28 September in Brussels.
“With the flexo plates we were using, we had excessive stop times to clean or replace plates,” says Bohdan Holona, Manager of Desktop Publishing, an in-house design studio at Colognia. “For long-run jobs, this meant half of the time printing the product was downtime. Even for shorter runs, we were not happy with the colour consistency from the beginning to end of the job. Changing or cleaning the plates can often negatively affect the quality of the product.”
“After thorough research from our press team, we finally found the perfect solution,” says Holona. He reports how the company chose to implement the Asahi AWPTM platemaking system. “Now,” he says, “we can do almost any job, totalling scores of kilometers, without stopping. We even ran a 22-hour job with one set of plates, no stops, and with very consistent quality from beginning to end. It’s been amazing!”
Colognia Press uses a tool from Plantyst to gather real-time data about its operation. “This allowed us to see any machine’s production efficiency in real time,” Holona states. “So we know for absolute certainty that these results are accurate. Our press uptime was 20% to 25% with our previous plates. Now we are seeing uptimes of 50% or more on most days.”
Other benefits the company has achieved include:
- A job that required press stops for plate cleaning or replacement now runs uninterrupted from beginning to end with consistent color quality.
- One job from a very large customer consists of small labels with a lot of text in tiny Asian script, only about 1 mm in height. “Now with Asahi plates, this text is very legible,” Holona says. “This was something we could not do before, and this important customer is very, very happy. That’s good news for both of us.”
- When plate changes are required during press checks, they are accomplished in two hours or less where before, the client might have had to return the next day.
- Press operators are much happier. Asahi plates are compatible with any variety of substrates, just requiring small tests in the beginning to be able to achieve high resolution output with plastics, paper, shrink sleeves, tube laminates, textured substrates and other materials we use.
- Shorter setup times between jobs; just a few minutes as opposed to an hour or more previously.
- Exceptional support from Asahi Photoproducts. In fact, Holona says, “Support from Asahi is perfect!”
Asahi experts will be available to speak with visitors at Labelexpo Europe about Asahi plates with Pinning Technology for Clean Transfer and the results achieved by Colognia and others.
Pinning Technology for Clean Transfer: The Details
A feature of many of Asahi’s flexographic printing plates, Pinning Technology for Clean Transfer enables a clean ink transfer and prevents ink accumulating on the plate surfaces and shoulders in screen areas. This leads to fewer cleaning intervals and reduced press downtime, as well as significant quality improvements. Precise plate register achieved with Asahi plates ensures very high quality process printing with a fixed colour palette, minimizing the need to use and manage spot colour inks.
Pinning Technology for Clean Transfer allows a kiss-touch printing pressure setting. It makes use of low plate surface tension, made possible by a specially engineered Asahi polymer chemistry, to inhibit liquid flow. The ink forms a globule, with a large contact angle and high pinning point. This results in a cleaner and more homogeneous ink transfer from plate to substrate, helping flexographic printers meet the ever-increasing quality demands of their customers.