Esko Full HD Flexo Helps Expac Improve Quality for Flexo Printers
By installing Esko Full HD Flexo, the Expac Pre-Press Service Group is offering flexo plates that deliver better quality with finer highlights and a bump in print density, along with economies on press.
Based in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, Expac and its six employees specialize in prepress for both flexographic and gravure printing, producing digital flexographic plates for a wide variety of end use products that can be run on any press. The company's prepress technicians are cross trained on state-of-the-art Esko software, allowing customers to receive excellent quality prepress support with fast turnaround times and competitive prices.
Looking for even better flexo print quality
At first Expac was producing almost all plates at 100 to 120 lpi RIPped at 2,540 dpi. It then installed an Esko Full HD Flexo system with inline UV exposure, which went into production on April 1, 2015. Expac had a Full HD Flexo retrofit inside a six-year old CDI 4260 machine.
"We were nervous about installing the new Full HD UV technology into the older device, but the installation went beyond smooth," remarks Bernier. "It took only one week of time. With the Full HD optics and inline UV upgrade, we can still make plates at 2,540 dpi on the Full HD machine and match the standard optics 80 machine. There's no difference. We have been very successful with interchangeability."
Offering significant ink savings
"We were hoping to see a bump in ink density on press with Full HD Flexo screening technologies that would allow our customers to realize ink savings on board stocks," Bernier says. "We worked with the tech rep of INX, who is in the building with us. We work daily on all projects, assessing different inks and other testing to make sure our customers have a seamless startup on press between graphics, proofs, plates and ink. We are working to achieve ink savings on high volume press runs with our customers. The goal has been to get higher ink densities through HD plate technologies, thus allowing the pressman to add more extender and use fewer solids to achieve the same LAB color value with the same anilox set. Our first tests have shown very good results and savings with the ink 'mileage' over the press runs."
That was Expac's primary interest. While imaging at 4,000 dpi takes a little longer than 2,540 dpi, it was able to market the cost of the plate at a premium because the cost savings for ink were so significant.
The nicest surprise was the printability of highlights on smooth paper board.
"We had a vision of cost savings on press," adds Bernier. "There has not been a lot of Full HD Flexo printed on smooth paper board. We tested the new Full HD Flexo plates on one of our customer's new mid web presses, using new screening created by Esko. We're able to hold .8 plate dots using Thermal FAST plates with a 4 to 5 percent print dot on smooth paper, all but eliminating hard edge highlight cut offs. Full HD Flexo certainly offers very good print quality and faster press startups--which is where there is economy for the printer."