Tag Archives: flexography

Exposure Bulb Tips

FlexoGuide-600by Catherine Green†, All Printing Resources

Why should I replace my bulbs if they still illuminate?

nyloflex-FIII-Combi-300x300UV-A and UV-C exposure bulbs lose output intensity over time. The gases inside the bulb become inert, resulting in longer start up time while the UV output diminishes. This results in longer, inconsistent exposure times.

If you have an integrator on your exposure unit you may not be aware of the change because the integrator compensates for the difference. We suggest a weekly test of the number of seconds that correspond to the number of units for your standard exposure. This will enable you to determine how much strength your bulbs have lost. If you do not have an integrator, we suggest doing a weekly exposure test using your own test image or one supplied by your plate supplier. This image should contain all of the standard elements needed to properly evaluate the plate. These include, various screen tints, isolated dots, lines, type, solids and reverses. By using the same exposure time each time and saving the last test plate for comparison you will be able to see any noticeable change in your exposure times. The most efficient method to test your bulbs is to use a UV-A meter. This unit reads the bulb intensity and produces a numerical reading. You can record the readings and determine when your bulbs need to be replaced. It is widely recommended to replace your bulbs once they reach 10mW/cm2 or below, although this number can be higher for high-LPI work and HD Flexo.

A note about exposing HD Flexo plates:

Esko recommends UV-A output no lower than 18 mW/cm2 for all HD Flexo plate exposures. We have found that this guideline can vary depending on the photopolymer used. The APR Technical Solutions Group can assist you with specific questions (Contact us).

When you first turn on the power to your equipment (cold start), it provides high voltage until the bulbs light. This strains the starting circuitry, power supply and the quartz (glass) of the bulbs. If you allow excessive start time to the cold start and exposures with old lamps you risk equipment failure.

Unreliable and inconsistent bulbs can cause re-makes and wasted material. We suggest bulbs be replaced before they burn out. Save a few of your old ones as temporary replacements. When replacing bulbs, replace all of them at the same time. This will give you quicker exposure times and your equipment will operate at maximum efficiency.

How can I get the maximum usage from my bulbs?

Here are a few simple steps to get the most from your investment in new bulbs:

  • Use cotton gloves when installing new bulbs. If you clean them before use and install them using gloves you will avoid the oils from your fingers and other contaminants that can cause premature failure due to the high operating temperature in your exposing equipment.
  • Clean your bulbs on a regular basis to ensure the maximum reflected light.
  • Check the electrical contacts regularly for pitting or corrosion, which can cause arcing and failure of the bulb or equipment.
  • When installing new bulbs, apply pressure at the ceramic or metal ends never apply pressure to the quartz.
  • If your exposure unit has cooling fans and or filters, clean the blades, lubricate the motor bearings as needed, and check to make sure the fans are operating properly. The vents must be clean and free of any obstruction to allow for maximum ventilation and unrestricted airflow. Keeping your bulbs cool will improve their life.
  • Make sure that the bulbs you are using are the correct type for your equipment. Many units require specific spectral output. If you change types, make sure your equipment is compatible.
  • When you install new bulbs, record the date, life hours and bulb part number. This simple record will help you establish an effective maintenance and replacement schedule.

And lastly, don’t be intimidated by equipment manufacturers who insist you use only their brand of bulb. The bulb simply receives the output from the power supply, so it cannot harm your equipment. Just be certain to buy from a reliable supplier that will make sure you have the correct bulb for your equipment, and be able to help you should a problem arise.

As LED exposure technologies become more popular, it is important to note the difference between these technologies and bank light systems. LED systems have variable output, so the light intensity can be easily controlled and adjusted. Also, LEDs are temperature-controlled and instantly light to full power, so there is almost no variation in the exposure process. APR represents both Esko’s Inline UV exposure solutions, as well as Flint Group’s NExT flat-top LED exposure technology.

† Based on an article originally written by Larry Dingman in November of 2002, updated in August of 2014 by Catherine Green.

For more information, contact us using this link. Also, read this related article by Catherine Green on our TSG Blog: UVA Light Sources Exposed.

About the TSG:

We have formed our Technical Solutions Group to encompass our full range of expertise in all critical areas of the flexo process. This team is made up of industry professionals dedicated to being up to date on new technologies, armed with the last in diagnostic tools, and experienced in problem solving that can achieve sustainable results. The TSG have walked in your shoes, and has felt your pain. For any specific questions about determining plate wear through reflectivity readings and 3D color mapping or assistance in determining your plate wear pass/fail limits, please feel free to contact us.

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Filed under Plate Technology, Printing

Minimizing Plate Costs Part 3 – Identifying When the Plate is Worn

FlexoGuide-600

By Tim Reece, All Printing Resources

Introduction

Image of slightly worn plate edg

Image of slightly worn plate edg

I think many would agree that it is easier to take steps to help extend plate life and minimize damage to the plate than to effectively recognize a worn plate in need of replacement. As a matter of fact, the odds are often greater that the plate will be damaged, lost, or require a change in artwork before it can be deemed “worn out”. One of the most difficult questions to answer in our industry is, “How long should my plate last?” or “How many feet or impressions should I expect to get out of my photopolymer plates?” If we all knew the answer to these questions, then throwing out worn plates would be as easy as tracking the footage. But considering the number of factors that must be taken into consideration this is not a reasonable expectation.

Graph of the same plate edge - showing the shoulder profile

Graph of the same plate edge – showing the shoulder profile

A few months have passed since we explored some of the more common but less controlled causes for replacing the photopolymer printing plate in Part 1 & 2 of this series. During the past few months, we have uncovered a tool that makes identifying a worn plate far easier than ever before. Part 3 will focus on how to properly identify a worn plate and take the “guess work” out of the decision to replace the plate.

The Problem

Plate wear color mapping. As plates wear the worn edges change hue.

Plate wear color mapping. As plates wear the worn edges change hue.

How many times have you witnessed a long production run slowly drop off in image quality during the printing process? There is a common reaction to this circumstance. (1.) Take a deep breath, cross your fingers, and hope you can make it to the end of the run. (2.) Start making a deal with GOD, promising that if the plates just last until the end of the job, you promise to never use them again, and this time you really mean it. (3.) Stop the press…

It is after the press is stopped, that we come to a split in the road. Do we take a chance that replacing the stickyback will be enough to get us by or do we replace the plate? The truth is that it can often go in either direction. Unless the edges of the plates are clearly visibly worn, or the screens are breaking down, we just don’t know what to do at this moment. Replacing the stickyback could take 10-20 minutes, but it may not fix the problem. If it doesn’t correct the problem, we then have even more downtime without the proper action being taken. Depending on plate type, a replacement plate could take 1-3 hours and that’s if platemaking is on-site. Then there is the sickening thought of making or ordering a new plate only to find out the first one really wasn’t worn out.

3D Image of same plate with slightly worn edge.

3D Image of same plate with slightly worn edge.

The Solution

The best way our Technical Solutions Group (TSG) has found to determine if a plate should be identified as “worn out” is through image analysis and/or 3D plate scanning. The most effective means found to determine wear on the plate was through 3D color mapping, as described below. As each of these plates wear, the surface also changes. Most often the wear shows at the leading or trailing edges. Depending on the type of plate, the wear can either begin to polish the plate, making it more reflective in worn areas, or on some polymer materials with an already smooth surface, wear can have a roughing effect. Regardless of the direction it takes, in each situation there is a measurable change and there is a definite reduction in plate height in the worn area(s).

The Tool - Troika AniCAM 3D Scanning Microscope

The Tool – Troika AniCAM
3D Scanning Microscope

Using a 3D microscope, the process of identifying plate wear becomes much easier to determine. 3D dot profiling allows you to check surface topology of solids, dot shape, relief depth (even between dots) and detect the first signs of plate wear. The AniCAM 3D Scanning Microscope with Flexo Plate QC is easily

positioned onto the photopolymer plate and physically does not touch the area analyzed. This particular device is portable so measurements can be taken in the press room, the plate room or in the plate storage area. 3D color mapping shows distinct color differences as the plate experiences wear in increments as small as a micron. Wear can be identified using this method far before differences in plate thickness could be detected on a plate micrometer. Note: 1 micron = 0.00003937″. An added benefit to this method is that it can be done while the plate is still mounted to the sleeve or print cylinder, further minimizing press downtime.

A Two-Step Process

The first step in establishing a system to identify worn plates is to establish a target that will most likely fail in the trim area where run control targets are likely to exist. Your first inclination may be to use an ultra-highlight dot patch, but a solid patch is often a better choice. Tonal patches often have the ability to absorb some of the abrasiveness of the anilox and substrate, whereas a solid polymer surface only has the compressibility of the stickyback and often show the first signs of wear. It’s kind of like the flexibility your hand has when the fingers are extended compared to rolled into a fist. The solid patch could be as small as a ¼” square area. The nice thing about wear first showing up on the edges of a solid is that you can establish your “fail” benchmark before process or screen areas are affected. You may decide to insert a fine .5 pt horizontal line ¼” wide, or even isolated dots as “fail areas”. The targets you design should be based on your experiences and what you see failing first.

The second step is to create a pass/fail benchmark. If using a conventional plate reading device, take a reflectivity reading on what has been established as “target(s) likely to fail”. Each reading only takes a moment, but takes into account roughly 700 reflectance % data points across region of interest (ROI) and they can be plotted in either the horizontal or vertical axis to avoid laser signatures that can give misleading results. If using an AniCAM with Flexo Plate QC, you will simply place the device on the plate on what has been established as “target(s) likely to fail” and with one click the device will build a 3 dimensional image of the plate surface along worn targets. Take these readings from the point the plate is new, through varying degrees of plate wear, i.e. skipping edges, loss of image sharpness, all the way up to the point of failure. We found that once wear was evident .002″ in from the plate edge that it would quickly become visually apparent and then spread to screen areas. Your pass/fail will likely depend on plate type, thickness, and durometer.

You will be tempted to want to associate and assign a “moderate wear” or a “fail” to the number of impressions or footage while performing this step. The amount of impressions and footage experienced is only one small factor of plate wear. DO NOT assume that the plate knows how long it has run and when it’s time to quit. There are too many changing variables to base plate wear on footage or impressions alone. What you will find is a pass/fail tolerance which has quantitative data to support your findings.

About the TSG

We have formed our Technical Solutions Group to encompass our full range of expertise in all critical areas of the flexo process. This team is made up of industry professionals dedicated to being up to date on new technologies, armed with the last in diagnostic tools, and experienced in problem solving that can achieve sustainable results. The TSG have walked in your shoes, and has felt your pain. For any specific questions about determining plate wear through reflectivity readings and 3D color mapping or assistance in determining your plate wear pass/fail limits, please feel free to contact me at 847-922-0134 or treece@teamflexo.com.

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Dr. John Writes: Digital Printing – Friend Or Foe For Flexo Printers?

why-in-the-world

By Dr. John Anderson

As I travel throughout the US & Canada these days, the conversations often turn from flexo, to digital printing as the technology for the future. If you listen to the marketing hype then digital is poised to take over from flexo as the process of choice for packaging. I guess one day this may be true, but is it really imminent?

What makes me smile most about the conversations is the thought that it has to be one technology or the other, where in reality a combination of the two, producing products for the optimum cost and efficiency, is the most likely solution for a LONG time to come.

When I started my PhD back in 1993, researching screen printing at the University of Wales Swansea, it was a 3 year research project sponsored by the UK government and the Screen Printing Association, with 30 screen printer companies as members of the project group. The drive behind the project was the emergence of digital printing, and how it was being marketed to wipe out and replace the screen printing industry within a few years. Sound familiar? There were huge issues in the screen printing industry at the time, with companies experiencing, in some cases, waste in excess of 50% of all of the raw materials, high costs, and bottlenecks with the slowest of the major print processes. In reality a perfect target for the digital printing technologies.

Half way through the project, just 18 months later, all of the project member screen printing companies were still in business, and every one had added some form of digital printing to their business. Instead of eliminating all of the screen printing, it was used to replace the high waste loss making short runs and allow the screen printing process to be used on more profitable jobs. By combining the two, it allowed the printer to reduce costs and increase profitability. In fact many of the printers commented over time that the digital printing services helped to attract more new clients, who then also gave them their screen printing work as well, making digital a true friend and not a foe!

Today, 19 years later, digital now has a much larger % of these companies, in some cases 100% of the business, but in many others screen printing is still used where it has technical or economical benefits over digital in terms of ink film weight, specialty inks, investment costs, or a number of other reasons.

So as we look at the packaging market, can we expect the same to happen with flexo and digital printing? I think the simple answer is yes, but in a long time from now! Flexo is still a strong and rapidly growing print process with many benefits and advantages that will make it a much tougher to replace than screen printing, or even litho in commercial and book printing.

Digital printing has come a long way. The new technologies and presses promise new levels of productivity, but they still face challenges in speed, substrate compatibility, conversion requirements, and food contact regulations, etc. High speed continuous inkjet seems to be the most likely contender to address the speed and productivity and ultimately the food contact regulations will be solved without the high cost barrier laminations of today, but the challenge to take over from Flexo remains a significant one.

There are certainly parts of the market today that are better suited to digital technology; narrow web labels is a clear example. At the last Labelexpo over 40 companies promoted their versions of digital printing presses. This year in Chicago there are sure to be even more! The challenge is how to transition from short runs and variable data, to producing millions of labels, or shrink wraps, or pouches with fixed graphics, and be able to do it economically.

There are thousands of flexo presses in the market, most are already paid for, many running at speeds of 1000-2000 ft/min on a 50+” wide web CI press, or 300-800 ft/min on a narrow web press. To match the productivity of one new fast change wide web CI Flexo press will take 3 or more digital presses, with each digital press costing as much if not more than the Flexo press. The economics of the press costs and replacing existing equipment may be digital’s biggest challenge in the next 15+ years.

A key benefit of the digital press has always been no plates, and instant change overs, but the quick change sleeved flexo presses, standardized process printing, and minimal startup waste focus, has somewhat eliminated most of the benefits for digital for all but the shortest runs. Plus as more printers move to co-printing multiple versions of jobs side by side, for example 4 cookie varieties run side by side instead of 4 individual jobs at 4 across each time, this reduces the flexo plates used on this set of jobs to just 25% of before, and increases the run length to be 400% longer, lowering costs and increasing productivity.

Flexo has also gotten smarter, higher quality, faster, and more productive, raising the bar daily for the digital offerings. Flexo today can also match or better the quality of digital, a fact that was certainly not true 5 years ago, so quality is no longer a driver to choose digital. The amount of packaging in each supermarket or store, and the number of stores globally, means that the challenge is way beyond any of today’s digital printing presses.

In the near term one area that digital and flexo WILL work together is in hybrid systems. Combining flexo and digital in-line, with flexo printing the standard overall graphics, and digital taking care of the identification, ingredients, etc., especially for the number of languages in Europe, etc., This practice is already starting to be seen, but for mass volume commercial viability production must be at flexo speeds, and not slowed significantly by the digital printing. It is exciting to see digital print technologies coming into the packaging space now that are starting to make this a reality.

The next wave of enhancements for digital printing will include hybrid technologies combined on existing presses,that add variable data and QR codes to help drive customer interaction, or brand value in the perception of the end customer, or security information with offset and flexo presses for packaging, to enhance and/or protect the final product.

As a flexo industry we should not be afraid of digital printing at all, instead we should be looking at how can we leverage and use digital to grow and enhance our businesses, and give our end customers and brands more of what they are looking for.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you at Labelexpo in Chicago this year, one of the best places to see the latest and greatest in flexo and digital technologies, and judge for yourself where the future is heading.

Dr. John’s Contact Information:

John-Anderson-Aug

For anyone who does want to email me, please use john.anderson3@kodak.com and please don’t miss out the number 3 in the address, or you will reach another John Anderson in Kodak manufacturing!

Have a wonderful day.

Dr. John
john.anderson3@kodak.com

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Filed under Plate Technology, Plates

Dr. John Writes: Do You Accept Things as “NORMAL” in Flexo that You Should NOT Accept Any More?

why-in-the-world

Throughout my time in the flexo market I have continuously been involved in research, training, troubleshooting, and projects to revolutionize the industry. Sometimes the results are small, sometimes big, sometimes accepted, but most often resisted. Most often the answer when I ask “Why do you do that?” is “because we always have!”

After a while you get into the same habits, and without realizing it you end up in the same mode of “that’s normal for flexo” and accepting some things that you really should not. We all do it! One example that comes to mind is “I have to choose between good highlights or good solids, I can’t have both!” This comes from the typical pinholed nature of the solids in flexo and the four main actions that people take to address it:

  1. Increase the amount of ink used with higher anilox roll volumes
  2. Increase the ink strength with more pigment
  3. Apply more impression pressure from the plate to the substrate
  4. Separate the screens (highlights) and solids onto two separate plates for that one color

However, when we look at each of these four “normal” actions in flexo, because of the need to choose between highlights and solids, we see the true results:

1. MORE INK! Adding more ink does not eliminate the pinholes in the solid, but instead it applies larger ridges of ink to the substrate surface. More ink means more raw materials, more solvent to remove in drying; more drying means more energy as heat. More dryer energy often means that there is a need to slow the press down to achieve this, resulting in lost productivity. These are all “normal” actions in flexo, resulting in more raw materials, more energy, higher costs, and reduced productivity.

Other issues with using more ink are that it tends to cause more dirty print, which causes more stops to clean the plates, and increases the risk of damaging the plates. This is a cost in time, productivity, and materials, but results in inconsistent print quality, and often negatively impacts subsequent processes such as lamination and slitting/conversion when the materials need to be stripped out. A common accepted “normal” action to reduce the risk of dirty print is to reduce the applied resolution, as LPI, making the minimum dots bigger, decreasing image quality capabilities.

2. MORE PIGMENT! Pigment is the component of the ink that provides the color we are looking for, and the theory is to use more pigment for more color. But when the ink is applied in ridges separated by pinholes, the effect and value are minimized. The best way to get the strongest and cleanest color is a thin even layer of pigment with no pinholes, more like what we traditionally see in gravure printing! The light then reflects more evenly, giving a cleaner, brighter, and stronger color.

Pigment is one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive, components in the ink, so adding more increases the costs significantly. Also if you keep adding pigment, density goes up until it reaches a point at which it interferes with the ink flow and can cause the density to drop. Most flexo inks are pigmented to the maximum, often beyond the optimum value for efficient printing. Ink flow is a critical factor, especially as press speeds increase, and poor ink flow will result in ink starvation and poor solids.

This can also cause increased dirty print in a similar way to more ink volume in the first action, with similar solutions to address it, resulting in higher costs, lower productivity, and lower image quality!

3. MORE IMPRESSION PRESSURE! This is something that every flexo printer in the world seems to know—that when you apply more impression pressure from the plate to the substrate, the density goes up!

When you ask why, not many can explain it to you, but they know it just works! The explanation for this is actually very simple—the ink is applied in ridges separated by pinholes or voids; and as you apply more pressure on the top of the ridge, the ink is squashed sideways, filling the voids and increasing the ink coverage, and increasing the density achieved!

 dr-john-5-1

Image 1: Typical Flexo Solid – showing the ridges of ink and pinholes

Unfortunately most also work on the principle that “If a little more impression pressure is good, then a lot more must be better.” This results in over impression, and that introduces a whole new set of issues.

Over impression causes excess dot gain in the highlights, accelerated plate wear in the highlights, and ink build up for dirty print. Although true for flat top and round top dots, the issues are particularly true for the round top dots of traditional digital LAMS (Laser Ablative Mask System), with the very small surface area being very sensitive to the pressure, growing rapidly, and causing excess heat and friction to wear the smallest dots. This accelerated wear, along with impression sensitivity of traditional LAMS plates, causes greater operator sensitivity and inconsistency in setup and through the run.

Over impression also tends to drive the ink off the smaller dots to the edges more, causing ink build up, resulting in dirty print. This then means more stops to clean the plates and that increases the risks of plate damage. Increasing the minimum dot size can help—with a lower LPI for the image, larger dots are less sensitive, tend to be flatter on top, and distribute the impression better. But doing this is a clear sign of accepting that this is normal to compromise the highlights to improve the solids.

4. SPLIT SOLIDS & SCREENS! This is really a sign of having to throw in the towel and accept that instead of one or the other you need to get the best of both worlds. This is a normal action with traditional LAMS plates with their rounded tops, and less often with the digital flat top dot solutions. This means more prepress—two plates, two mounting tapes, two inks, two print stations to setup, two driers to run, etc. Basically more materials, more energy, so more costs. One thing in its favor is that doing this means the plate suffers less from ink starvation and drying issues, and often runs easier and faster at times with traditional LAMS plates.

These four actions are “normal” and accepted as necessary throughout flexo, and in the past they often were needed. Today however this is not true.

The micro plate surface texturizations designed to break up the pattern that causes the pinholing in the ink transfer—like DigiCap NX introduced by Kodak in 2010, which minimizes pinholing without needing more impression pressure—has resulted in a very new situation. Now the ink volumes and pigment loads can be reduced, with often 25 percent lower anilox volumes. This means less ink is used, fewer raw materials, lower cost materials, and less energy to dry, plus this can often mean higher press speeds in turn.

All of the micro surface texturizations like DigiCap NX, or its closest clone, help the densities achieved! Kodak DigiCap NX is the simplest with no loss of imager speed or increased costs. They all require flat top dot structures without oxygen inhibition to form correctly on plate, which also helps with greater impression latitude and plate life. But only Flexcel NX with pixel for pixel imaging to gives you the optimum imaging in the highlights. The others all give up the positive effect for the highlights in traditional LAMS imaging of dot sharpening through oxygen inhibition shrinking the dots to be smaller!

dr-john-5-2

Image 2: Solid produced with same anilox roll and ink as Image 1 using DigiCap NX

The days of choosing highlights or solids are almost past us now as a normal practice, unless you are still using the rounded top dots of traditional LAMS plates! Yet many people still seem unaware that they don’t need to make that compromise, or accept its resultant effects in terms of costs, materials, and productivity.

Isn’t it time you proved to yourself that you don’t need or want to compromise in the same way anymore, and you really can get both at the same time? So why not try for yourself, either with Flexcel NX, alone or head to head with the competitions best? I know you will glad you did.

Dr. John’s Contact Information:

John-Anderson-Aug

For anyone who does want to email me, please use john.anderson3@kodak.com and please don’t miss out the number 3 in the address, or you will reach another John Anderson in Kodak manufacturing!

Have a wonderful day.

Dr. John
john.anderson3@kodak.com

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Filed under Ink, Plate Technology, Print Defects

Dr John Writes: FFTA Success in Baltimore, With The Strongest Attendance In Years!

why-in-the-world

After spending my second weekend this year in Baltimore with the FTA, (the first was for the print awards judging in January, and now for the FFTA Forum and INFO*FLEX), it is clear that the event was a great success for the FFTA, and for all of the volunteers and staff that worked long hours to achieve it. I want to congratulate FTA President Mark Cisternino for generating so much interest (as well as his 30th anniversary at FTA), and his team for all the work they are doing.

As the sole Platinum Plus sponsor again in 2014, Kodak is a great believer and supporter of the FTA, and see this as one of the most important events for the Flexo industry globally each and every year. This year was filled with a very upbeat air, lots of people are as busy as they have been in a long time, and there is clearly a need and desire to invest in upgrades to the latest technologies. I want to congratulate all of the 2014 FTA Excellence in Flexography  award winners, many of which were produced using Kodak plates, but especially I would like to recognize Sunshine Plastics of California (with prepress and Kodak Flexcel NX Plates from Trisoft Graphics) for their 3rd Best of Show award in Wide Web in 4 years. There were some great entries in the print awards, and it was a real pleasure to participate in the judging process this year. I encourage more of you to enter your prints, it really is a great competition with an impartial and fair judging process, but if you don’t enter then you have no chance to win! What I will say is make sure you read the rules, and enter the correct number of samples and the proof. If you’re unsure call Shelly or Joe at the FTA and they will help you through it. Submissions for 2015 need to be entered by January 2015 at the latest, so start planning now in order to be included in the entry for next year.

For our industry, one of the exciting and encouraging parts of the Forum was the need to bring in lots of extra chairs for the FTA committee updates and meetings on the Sunday morning The FTA revolves and thrives around the activities of the committees and the volunteers who participate. It is great to see so many people willing and interested to get- involved. The FTA is a members association, and it is critical that the members participate.  Kodak plans to increase our active involvement his year and we’d encourage you to do the same.

On the Saturday before Forum kicked off Kodak also held its inaugural Flexcel NX users meeting, a forum for Flexcel NX System owners that allowed Kodak to present not only what is available today, but also what is coming down the road in terms of developments and innovations, and gain feedback and interaction with our user base. The event was a great success, attracting attendees from as far away as Australia and putting some of the newest Flexcel NX System owners together with those that have been growing their Flexcel NX System business for many years. There’s always so much to learn from each other, especially when at least 3 of the companies in the room have just invested in their 4th Flexcel NX System!  We plan to repeat the event in 2015 alongside the FTA Forum in Nashville and will be encouraging users to attend both events.

As Kodak we are proud to work with and sponsor the FTA at this important industry event, and we look forward to seeing you in Minneapolis for the Fall Conference October 20-22, or down in Nashville for the 2015 for the FFTA Forum and INFO*FLEX May 03-06.

Dr. John’s Contact Information:

John-Anderson-Aug

For anyone who does want to email me, please use john.anderson3@kodak.com and please don’t miss out the number 3 in the address, or you will reach another John Anderson in Kodak manufacturing!

Have a wonderful day.

Dr. John
john.anderson3@kodak.com

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Filed under Plate Technology, Printing

Dr. John Writes – Why in the World of Flexo? Introducing a New Series

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Filed under Plate Technology, Printing

REVO Team drives Digital Flexo Revolution

Logo_REVO_TeamREVO is a Project Team which collects 7 industry Leaders cooperating to drive flexography towards the new “digital” world of Printing and Converting.  Process consistency, efficiency and cost reduction are the objectives of REVO Digital Flexo Revolution, to win the Labels and Packaging challenge for short runs, global quality and total flexibility. The REVO Project Team members have started to cooperate in December 2013, officially announcing the project in February 2014. REVO Team has selected UV Flexo, extended colour gamut and digital process automation as the three technology drivers to support flexography to become “digital” and keep its role of leadership in Labels and Packaging industry. “We want to create an industry move towards flexo digitalization” state REVO Team Members “We share together all our latest innovation, our open and cooperative approach is the key to success”. Every partner delivers a specific technical contribution to the project:

Niklas Olsson of Flint Group Narrow Web comments: “UV Flexo is the ideal process to become digital: UV inks are inherently consistent as there is no VOC evaporation to “disturb” the printing process, furthermore inks do not dry on the plates so waste is reduced and quality consistency increases. UV flexo inks printing quality is superior to water and solvent based flexo inks as less ink is transferred (ink is full solid, without VOCs). Dot gain is reduced and ink densities are higher. REVO process needs top printing quality and high colour density to achieve the best performances. New generation low migration UV Flexo inks support the REVO Digital Flexo Revolution with high pigmentation, consistent ink transfer, consistent density properties, giving to REVO projects a wide range of graphic possibilities, and excellent consistency performances.”

revo1

Dan Pulling of Esko adds: “Extended colour gamut is the most logic solution for the flexo industry going “digital”. 7 inks always in the press. No need to change anilox or ink. No special colours, no colour matching, no waste of substrate, no press down-time. Most PMS colours can be reproduced by printing 7 colours on top of each other. With 7 colours separation pre-press can “digitally” reproduce 90-95% of PMS colours. A new era can be predicted for Flexo, fully integrated in a digital work flow, as it happens already with Digital presses. The same file can be printed on a Digital or on a Digital Flexo press, with consistent “digital” print quality, and equivalent costs and productivity on both presses (Flexo keeping a wider range of applications in medium to long runs). REVO technology also provides greater design flexibility as the same job can be printed with virtually unlimited number of PMS colours. Or 2 or more jobs can be interlocked on the same web, with total different PMS colours. REVO opens a wide range of new possibilities for graphic designers and production managers. Wide flexibility in a “digital” REVO production flow.”

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Friedrich Wolf of DuPont states: “New digital flexo plates” allow for extreme consistency and print quality. New plate qualities and modified processing work flows results in high image resolution and excellent ink transfer. The solvent free plate processing technology supports the environmental awareness of the REVO project. Fine screen rule of 80 lines per cm is the new standard, changing again the rules of our industry. The new generation digital plates provide the requested quality, thus a wide gamut of PMS colours can be reproduced, without changing the inks in the press. The final printed quality is also more vibrant, with more “natural” greens, reds, oranges and blues. New graphic opportunities to Labels and Packaging designers are available. Further to “digital” consistency and cost reduction, REVO technologies can reproduce “real” colours” which could never be achieved before.”

Nick Harvey of Apex adds: “UV flexo ink and digital flexo plates deliver fantastic and consistent quality. But inconsistent ink transfer, and inconsistency between anilox rollers might endanger the “digital” consistency of the REVO standards. In a 7 colour separation a key factor is to provide accurate consistency of the lay down of the 7 colours. New engraving technologies developed recently, resulting in the next generation anilox rollers are able to overcome some inconsistency of standard anilox designs. REVO standards need a predictable ink density which can be achieved thanks to the scientifically designed open slalom ink channel geometry which delivers an ink transfer with less than 1% tolerance. The next generation technology provides fundamental contribution to the REVO “digital” new standards. A further advantage of REVO technology is that less ink transfer is needed, to achieve the same level of opacity. By overlapping 7 vignettes instead of using full solids, ink transfer is reduced, as well as ink consumption. Ink costs, curing costs are reduced, and the whole PMS process is consistent and repeatable.”

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Federico d’Annunzio of Nuova GIDUE completes: “Extensive Digital Automation in the printing press is needed to collect all the  opportunities of the new REVO “digital” flexo process. On the printing and converting sections, servo motors and digital HD Cameras substitute the eyes and the fingers of the operator with digital eyes and digital fingers. The new generation presses exchange the print and diecutting cylinders from “old” to “new” job fully automatically, without operator. Set up and production operations are digitally controlled, with very limited intervention from the operator, which becomes a production manager and a quality tutor on the press, as most of the operations are automated and digitally controlled. Digital Automation in flexo presses completes the REVO “digital chain” from pre-press, to plates, to inks, to anilox and finally to printing and converting, to achieve a full REVO digitalization of the flexo process.”

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Marko Tiainen of UPM Raflatac comments: “The REVO Digital Flexo Revolution is setting a global standard, and this calls for consistency from all partners.  UPM Raflatac is an innovation-driven, front running developer of self-adhesive label materials, and our proprietary production technologies guarantee the same consistency of surface quality and ink reception in every corner of the world. Among the benefits of REVO are cost-efficiency and a reduction in waste, and our product development supports this with materials like those in our Fit range, which are engineered for a more sustainable use of resources, cost-efficiency and process-efficiency while retaining optimal performance. New substrates and printing technology are progressing in parallel with the same objectives.”

Daragh Whelan of Adare finally concludes: if you can measure it, you can control it, and if you can control it you can reproduce it and this is one of the many advantages Revo gives to the converter. Having digital control of all of our variables ensures Brand consistency and enables Adare to emulate pantone shades out of 7 colours. With REVO “digitally” optimized technologies we are quicker to market and have also reduced the minimum order quantity for laminated flexible packaging products to as little as 5 kilos. It is like having a digital press with flexo costs.”

REVO Digital Flexo Revolution uses new Software, Hardware, UV Flexo inks, digital plates, new generation anilox rollers, 7 colours separation, standardized substrates and digital automation on press exclusively provided by REVO Members: Adare, Du Pont, Apex, Esko, GIDUE, UPM Raflatac, Flint. REVO Team Members provide together an “off-the-shelf” solution to Labels and Packaging converters, with a defined protocol of consumables, software and hardware technologies, which allow from “day one” immediate production using a REVO “digitalized” flexo process.

REVO Digital Flexo Standards will be available to the entire flexo industry 6 months after the official presentation of the REVO Project. REVO Partners agree to promote an “industry move” of flexo towards the full digitalization of the process, and agree to share at a later stage all the standards and the protocols defined for the best performance of the REVO Digital Flexo Revolution. The REVO Project standards will be open to all the flexographic industry players, who are willing to share the REVO Digital Flexo objectives.

REVO Team Members suggest the following list of main advantages for companies joining the REVO Digital Flexo Revolution.

Cost reduction: less substrate, less inks, less time are wasted for colour matching in the press. 90-95% of PMS palette is reproduced with 7 fixed colours in the press. Less ink is needed to print solid colours as only vignettes are used to reproduce heavy solids. Less substrate is wasted during set-up in the press due to Digital Automation and more up-time of the press is achieved due to down-time reduction for colour matching, print and die-cutting cylinders change, press set-up, press inconsistency during production.

Consistency: most variables are digitalized during the whole “from pre-press to print” chain. PMS inks are substituted by 7 fixed colours, operators skills are not required for colour matching. UV flexo inks deliver consistent ink behaviour in the press. Anilox rollers and inks are optimized for consistent performances. Digital Automation on press greatly reduces the variables caused by operator’s skills.

Quality: 7 colours separation-extended colour gamut provide vibrant effects on pictures, more natural and realistic images. 80 lines per cm screen count become standard, taking flexo to a higher print quality level.

Digital flexibility: the same file can be printed on a Digital or a Digital Flexo press, with similar quality and costs. With extremely limited wastes and set-up times on the press, production flow can be similar to a Digital press, with frequent job changes, job interruptions, high flexibility in jobs planning.

Graphic flexibility: a single job can show a virtually unlimited number of PMS colours, without additional print stations: 7 print stations are sufficient. 2 or more jobs can be interlocked, for short-runs production needs, on the same web, even if with several and different PMS colours. Still, 7 colours are sufficient.

A REVO Open House, at GIDUE premises in Florence from 10th To 12th of June 2014 , will introduce the REVO Project to the Labels and Packaging market. Live demonstrations of the full REVO process will be performed, with the participation of all the REVO Team Members.

More information & registration is available online soon: www.revo-digitalflexo.com

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Advantages of Flexographic Printing

By Don Amato, Chicago Tag & Label

 

If your company does its fair share of printing, it’s essential to understand the technology and equipment behind flexography. In basic terms, this process of direct rotary printing involves a raised image impressed into a flexible relief surface that turns the picture out onto a variety of materials. The concept is similar to the early letterpress style devices, which essentially “stamped” images and typeface onto paper in the publication of newspapers and books.

The technology offers many benefits over other types of reproduction, and the advantages of flexographic printing can be more easily understood by reviewing the process. First, the plate must be created by one of three techniques involving molding, computer-guided laser etching, or exposure of polymer to ultra-violet light. Next, the mounting process takes place, whereby plates are installed upon a cylinder, which is then inserted into the press. Finally, the ink is applied to the plate via tiny cups that hold exact measurements of the liquid, which will ultimately be deposited upon the printing surface.

While this description of the technology and method of flexography is quite basic, it’s still easy to see the advantages of flexographic printing. From the plate-making to the mounting process to the transference of the image, flexography is as its name suggests: a versatile and adaptable means of handling large scale reproduction of images and text.

Flexographic printing offers a variety of ink types, many of which require little or no drying time. 

When letterpress technology was popular, companies had limited options for ink and printable surfaces. For the most part, ink was water-based and required a certain amount of time to dry to avoid smudging. Commercial dryers were eventually developed to facilitate the process, but at an additional cost for equipment and maintenance.

Today’s flexographic printing methods involve quick drying in a wide variety of ink types. Depending on the application and surface to be printed upon, you’ll have the choice of five different kinds. Solvent-based solutions are ideal for plastics, wallpaper and other commercial uses, while water-based inks work well for more porous materials like cardboard and paper. To reduce or eliminate drying time, electron beam or ultraviolet curing inks are popular when printing onto plastic and cellophane. Chemical curing inks typically require a two-step process, which makes them useful only for a limited number of applications.

Flexography enables printing on a wide variety of both porous and non-porous surfaces.

Companies are no longer limited to cardboard, paper and fabric when printing images, making this feature one of the top advantages of flexographic printing. Countless consumer and commercial goods involve this technology, from the printing of wallpaper to creating giftwrap to coloring floor tiles.

The easy plate-making process enables you to print millions of images with one template.

Whether using plastic or polymer, the plate created during the flexographic printing process is durable for a consistent image with every print. Every copy created is an exact replica of the previous one, and your first reproduction is the same as the last. You avoid the need to restructure the plate, thereby avoiding slight discrepancies that can cause image variance and irregularities.

Pre-established inking amounts throughout the printing process means there’s no need for adjustments or re-calculations in the middle of a job.

Problems with ink distribution can completely destroy a printing run, costing thousands of dollars when you need to start the process again with new materials. Exacting ink control is one of the best advantages of flexographic printing, and it’s typically handled by either a fountain roll system or doctor blade technology. The former involves pouring the designated ink onto cups or grooves on the plate, whereas the latter is more precise. A doctor blade system incorporates geometry and volume displacement to determine the amount of ink necessary to evenly cover the plate. Then, it essentially “squeegees” off any excess ink to ensure that the resulting print is clean and smudge-free.

Flexographic printing technology is capable of printing continuous patterns.

Reproducing images and text on corrugated cardboard, labels and other individual items isn’t too difficult for most current technology. However, there is more of a challenge when you need to print a constant pattern throughout several dozen or even hundreds of feet. Examples include wallpaper, printed cellophane and gift-wrapping, which require a seamless pattern in a continuous, unbroken design. The rotary operation and consistent ink control of flexographic printing enables you to print the same design over and over without interruptions in the pattern.

Flexography is ideal for solid color printing.

Due to its exacting ink control systems, one of the best advantages of flexographic printing is the ability to generate solid colors on both porous and non-porous substrates. In other printing processes, several layers of ink are required to attain the proper saturation and richness. Because the ink used in flexographic printing is able to dry quickly or cure without the need for drying time, several layers can be applied within a short amount of time.

For food-related consumer products, flexographic printing offers the perfect balance of durability and safety.

Certain governmental regulations require that food packaging containers be printed with ink that will not wear off, flake, separate or otherwise degrade. Added to this challenge is the fact that most food packaging is comprised of plastic, cellophane or other non-porous materials to which traditional inks won’t adhere. With flexography, printings are bonded to the surface without the threat of deterioration or safety risk to consumers.

When considering your printing options, it’s best to make your decision by balancing cost effectiveness, quality and versatility with the application for its intended use. There are certain advantages of flexographic printing that make the process well suited for many consumer and commercial applications. Its capabilities surpass traditional methods that don’t feature the same flexibility and technological advancement.

About the Author:

chicago-tag-don-amatoDon Amato is Vice-President, Sales of Chicago Tag & Label in Libertyville, IL. Chicago Tag & Label manufactures form labels, labels and tags that deliver solutions to a broad range of industries including retail, industrial, manufacturing, distribution and medical environments.

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How UV-LED Inkjet Technology is Increasing Profits for Flexographic Printers – Part 3

By Roland DGA 

Package Prototyping 101: Why Universities Have Adopted Roland VersaUV Technology 

Outside the business arena, VersaUV technology has found an enthusiastic audience within the university system, where the basics of the design, printing and finishing processes are taught to aspiring package designers.  Across the U.S., several of the most renowned package design schools have adopted VersaUV technology, citing its quality, efficiency and overall versatility as key factors in their selection process.  While these institutions often serve a range of student requirements and applications, having VersaUV in-house allows them to also explore design concepts on the vast range of substrates that flexo presses support.

Two such universities include the Sonoco Institute of Package Design & Graphics at Clemson University and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) School of Print Media.  For these and other institutions, VersaUV’s unique ability to print, score, die cut and emboss actual press substrates to exacting specifications makes it a great platform for both instructional and research purposes.

The Sonoco Institute of Package Design & Graphics at Clemson University

What makes packaging appealing to consumers? Why do certain colors, textures and graphics generate interest while others get passed over?  The Sonoco Institute of Package Design and Graphics at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C. exists to help answer questions like these.   Each year, its faculty instructs more than 200 students in the art of packaging design.

“Our students are interested in developing real packaging for real applications,” said Dr. R. Andrew Hurley, assistant professor at the Sunoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics. He and his students value the VersaUV for its ability to print on a wide range of substrates, creating prototypes that are virtually identical to full production packaging.  They have run projects on plastic bagging material, thermoformable substrates, corrugated cardboard, and several types of paperboard. “The Roland prints on virtually any material, so when our students designed flexo packaging, we rarely had to worry about substrates,” Hurley noted. “It was liberating knowing that our designs would come out perfectly on the final manufacturing material without having to print on roll stock, cut, glue, score and then have a smear or air bubbles. With the LEC-330, we were able to save time, money, materials and design according to our specifications, not to the limitations of our equipment.”

The Sonoco Institute of Package Design and Graphics is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including a cutting-edge prototyping lab.  Among the lab’s current high tech equipment is a Roland VersaUV LEJ-640 64-inch UV inkjet printer. Originally, an LEC-330 was being used for the program, but the Institute recently replaced that model with an LEJ-640 to be able to print on thicker stocks such as corrugated boards.

According to Hurley, students leverage the VersaUV’s capabilities to run multiple iterations and then determine what works best for their respective projects.

“The results are stunning” said Hurley. Using the VersaUV’s CYMK plus white and clear inks, students can reverse print with a basecoat of white ink, produce full-color images, and finish each project with unique patterns, textures and varnishing effects using layers of clear ink.  “Elaborate textures and effects like these would be very expensive to simulate on other equipment,” Hurley noted.

In addition to students, the university serves more than 600 corporations who have worked with the Institute’s faculty and staff to train their employees in digital design, as well as to take advantage of the Institute’s comprehensive packaging design and testing process. The design and testing process begins with faculty and students working collaboratively with corporations to develop specific packaging designs and prototypes.  Next, the Institute uses its own fully-stocked grocery store to test the effectiveness of the packaging.  Prototypes are placed next to competitors’ products in the store aisles.  Shoppers are given a list of products to purchase and are asked to wear eye-tracking glasses.

As shoppers make their selections, the inward- and outward-facing cameras on the glasses record the movement of their eyes, giving researchers a window into their cognitive process.

“Especially for the testing process, we rely on the VersaUV for its precision color matching and accurate registration to print realistic prototypes,” reports Hurley.  “I am completely amazed by this machine.  It fits in perfectly with our curriculum and allows the students to see the results of their work almost instantaneously.”

Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Media Sciences

For RIT’s School of Media Sciences, VersaUV technology is equally important. The university is known for leveraging its state-of-the-art facilities to prepare graduates for careers in printing and publishing. RIT has been using a Roland VersaUV LEC-330, and the inclusion of this advanced 30-inch UV inkjet printer/cutter has helped to fill an important need in the school’s curriculum and research.

“The VersaUV has generated a lot of excitement among the staff and students. It raises the bar with multiple colors and surface effects,” said Erich Lehman, Premedia Facilities Coordinator, RIT School of Media Sciences. “The students have used it to turn out some really innovative work.”

At RIT, Lehman and his students have the opportunity to test out the latest in printing technology from a variety of manufacturers. Students use the VersaUV to produce a variety of graphics, including packaging prototypes.

“We find the VersaUV incredibly valuable for teaching concepts for flexographic applications,” Lehman said. “It prints on a wide variety of flexo substrates, and since it prints white ink, we are not limited to opaque substrates. The VersaUV gives us the ability to take a student’s flexo project from ideation to realization.”

RIT students often employ the VersaUV’s white and clear inks on their designs, creating gloss and texture. “The clear ink has been incredibly popular,” said Lehman. “Students enjoy using it to add texture and interest to their projects. They also enjoy experimenting with the wide variety of substrates that can be run on the LEC.”

Student packaging designs have earned top honors in the American Packaging Corp./Kraft Product Design Challenge at RIT. In the four-week challenge, students from the industrial and graphic design departments worked with packaging science students to create new packaging for familiar brands, including Planters Peanuts, Wheat Thins, Oreos and Nutter Butters. The teams’ formal presentations were judged by representatives from the sponsoring companies.

Professor Alex Lobos of the School of Industrial Design noted that having the VersaUV allowed the students to produce actual prototypes rather than appearance models. “This is a critical difference for the students as well as for the judges. The packages were created as designed, with nothing lost in translation,” said Lobos. He also credited the VersaUV with allowing the students to attain an additional level of understanding of the production process.

Download the entire paper.

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How UV-LED Inkjet Technology is Increasing Profits for Flexographic Printers – Part 2

By Roland DGA 

UV Printers in Action

To get a feel for how UV technology is revolutionizing pre-press and proofing, it helps to take a look at some real-world examples.  These companies are currently putting advanced UV-LED printers to work in their respective businesses to increase the efficiency, capabilities and overall success of their operations.

PBM Graphics, Inc.

Packaging Prototypes Increase Sales for North Carolina Printer
Durham, North Carolina-based PBM Graphics, an “A to Z” printing and fulfillment company that employs a staff of nearly 600 and has specialized in commercial printing for more than 30 years, operates under the umbrella of Consolidated Graphics – a 70-company business network generating $1 billion in annual sales. PBM, which runs multiple sheetfed and digital presses as well as a full web and flexo press, started producing packaging prototypes in late 2011 when it purchased a Roland VersaUV LEC-330 UV inkjet printer. Since then, the company has successfully grown its business by offering package prototype services.

PBM uses its VersaUV to produce prototypes of gift card carriers for many of the most recognized retailers, overwraps for trading card clients, and shrink wrap prototypes for bottle packagers and adhesive label packages.

“We originally purchased the VersaUV for its opaque white capabilities, but use it far more often for prototyping,” said Adam Geerts, President of PBM Graphics. “We really appreciate the LEC-330’s ability to produce textures, like simulated foil stamping and embossing, as well as the wide variety of substrates the printer can accommodate.”

Geerts points out the significance of PBM’s LEC-330 purchase. “Among all the millions of dollars of equipment we’ve purchased over the years, nothing has generated as much excitement with the sales team as the VersaUV LEC-330.  There’s a lot we can do to show the customer what a finished product will look like without having to manufacture one,” he said.

According to Geerts, the functionality and capabilities of the LEC-330 have allowed PBM to save a significant amount of money. “The foil stamping, embossing and printing plates made a lot of prototype projects cost prohibitive in the past,” Geerts said. “With our VersaUV, we’re now able to produce the same jobs that previously would have gone through full manufacturing for pennies on the dollar.”

Geerts also notes the importance of being able to create realistic prototypes affordably and in-house when it comes to acquiring new business. “A lot of what we do is done at our own expense to help a sales person get a foot in the door or to assist an agency in winning a campaign. It’s one thing to talk about an idea, but to be able to see and hold the concept is much more compelling,” he said.

“The VersaUV is the highest quality digital proofer that we’ve ever experienced,” said Geerts.  “We can get the resolution, color and textures needed to make accurate prototypes for any of our customers.”

K1 Packaging Group

VersaUV Allows California Printer to Fully Satisfy Existing Clients and Attract New Customers
Headquartered in City of Industry, Calif., K1 Packaging Group produces paperboard folding cartons, digital and flexo printed labels, and high-end graphic packaging materials for both domestic and international retail.  K1’s clients include companies within the food and beverage, beauty and cosmetic supply, media software/hardware, and nutriceutical and pharmaceutical industries.  In addition to their main 85,000 square-foot location, K1 has another 20,000 square-foot facility in Pomona, Calif. that houses Everest Packaging, which focuses on contract packaging.  Altogether, K1 employs a staff of 90 and a variety of devices, including Mark Andy, Inc. flexographic printers and a Roland VersaUV® LEC-330 UV-LED Printer/Cutter.

Jimmy Tsai, K1 Packaging Group’s sales manager, notes that the LEC-330’s ability to produce highly realistic prototypes, along with the printer’s unique embossing and spot UV capabilities, is what won them over. “Many of our customers’ projects are printed on holographic material. The fear of running a print job without first producing a sample is very high, with all that could go wrong and the costs involved if it does,” said Tsai.  The LEC-330 has eliminated that fear by enabling K1 to create prototypes that closely resemble the finished product.

According to Tsai, early concerns over the ROI his company would see from the LEC-330 purchase were quickly alleviated.  He notes that the investment has completely paid off, allowing K1 to bring in a new base of customers – primarily from the personal care and cosmetic industries – in need of package prototypes that look like the real thing.  In serving this higher-end clientele, K1 has also found the LEC-330’s ability to print white ink extremely useful for creating packaging that really pops and attracts consumers.

Tsai points out that his customers are thrilled with everything the LEC-330 can do. In addition to enabling K1 Packaging to create realistic prototypes efficiently and cost effectively, it has allowed the company to increase their relationships and become more involved with clients at an even earlier stage in the creative process.

White Graphics, Inc.

UV-LED Technology Enables Illinois Shop to Produce Realistic Flexible Packaging Prototypes
Employing a staff of nine at its Downers Grove, Illinois headquarters, White Graphics produces flexible packaging, displays, cartons, pressure sensitive labels, mockups and sales samples.  The company’s client list includes a number of corporations, such as M&M Mars, Unilever, PepsiCo, Sonoco, Handi-Foil and Packaging Corporation of America – all of which depend on White Graphics to provide them with high quality, innovative packaging solutions. To expand their production capabilities, White Graphics purchased a Roland VersaUV LEC-300 printer/cutter.  Following the success of the 300 model, a VersaUV LEJ-640 flatbed printer was recently added to the workflow. The ability to print on such a wide variety of substrates has made a major impact on the company’s success.

Richard White, president of White Graphics, appreciates the durability of Roland’s ECO-UV inks, especially when printing on foil bags and other flexible substrates.  “The inks have a lot of stretch to them so they don’t crack, yet the surface passes any rub test you can imagine,” he noted. “The ability to create very tight comps of flexible bags with white underlay, as well as the corresponding corrugated and folding carton pieces, has made us a valuable partner in product development for our clients.”

“Applying white underlay and ECO-UV Clear Coat overlay on foils in conjunction with full-color process creates an almost perfect comp as an end result,” added vice president Andrew White.

Because White Graphics produces packaging for the food industry, samples of their printed products are rigorously tested at sensory laboratories to check for any retained odors from the printing process. To comply with the testing procedures, White Graphics’ food packaging print samples are wrapped in aluminum foil as they emerge from the printer and sent directly to a laboratory. “The packages we printed on the VersaUV passed the lab test with an A+,” Andrew said.

Operating in a niche market that depends on their ability to turn around complex jobs quickly, White Graphics relies on the company’s ingenuity and the advanced functionality of its equipment to satisfy its existing clients and attract new customers. “There isn’t a job that comes in here that isn’t a challenge, said Andrew.  “The VersaUV quite simply allows us to provide better service to our clients.”

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