Flexo average run-lengths are getting shorter, and the industry needs ways to produce smaller jobs lengths effectively, with less lead time and improved on-time delivery of required flexo plates. What’s more, there are higher quality expectations for flexo due to a movement from gravure/offset to flexo.
Esko rethinks the flexo platemaking process which used to be a complex and manual process, often involving up to seven different hardware devices.
Today plate room operators are responsible for several different workstations. With Esko’s new Crystal Technology digital plate imaging and UV exposure (main and back!) are combined in one automated process. This means that there’s less need for operators to interfere.
There is a lot of time spent on repetitive tasks during plate processing.
As a result it is almost impossible for operators to get the most out of their time. By automating the plate imaging, main and back exposure and by linking it to the processor it becomes possible to really coordinate the plate making process. Companies can free up valuable operator time!
By automating the plate making process and by improving the CDI’s ergonomics, the user experience has been optimized and simplified. The new Automation Engine module that takes over some of the manual preparation work also helps to reduce the complexity.
Parallel imaging to main and back UV exposure was seen as critical to improve productivity. By having a separate XPS exposure device which is linked to the CDI the productivity has now been improved by 30%.
When using a solvent workflow process there are several different time consuming steps to finish the plate. The washers and dryers are the main bottlenecks; they can take up to 185mins to be completed. When combining Esko’s automated Crystal technology with the DuPont FAST system (which only takes 20mins) it is possible to increase the finishing of the plate by up to 74% compared to technologies that require more steps.