First introduced as a product demonstration at drupa in May 2012, Esko has launched its new and unique Full HD Flexo for flexographic platemaking. The technology –building on Esko’s existing HD Flexo product line – is described by the company as a highly manageable digital workflow to achieve the combination of smooth highlight printing and gravure-like solid ink densities.
Full HD Flexo is currently installed at over 20 early-adopter trade shops and converters around the world, from sites in Brazil to Austria.
“Esko flexo customers are asking for the combination of the benefits of HD Flexo together with a gravure-like ink laydown and a fully digitally controlled platemaking workflow,” stated Jürgen Andresen, Esko Vice President, Flexo Business. “This is what Full HD Flexo brings and it moves flexo to an unseen level of quality and consistency with no need for compromises. Our unique, patented technology stretches the possibilities of flexo printing, allowing it to perfectly match gravure and offset quality for flexible packaging.”
Unlike processes that require intermediate analogue or manual exposure steps, Esko describes Full HD Flexo as the first and only fully digital platemaking workflow in the industry. Full HD plates are prepared completely within an Esko CDI imager and are immediately ready for processing after unloading.
The CDI system combines plate imaging with inline digital main exposure in one and the same device. The digital Inline UV2 exposes through an LED-array light source delivering the necessary UV power density to provide control over the polymerization process during exposure. All UV exposure settings are controlled within the platemaking workflow, which helps with stability and repeatability. The system, according to Esko, works with popular digital flexo plates and sleeves, including products from the likes of DuPont, Flint, MacDermid, Asahi.
“We went beyond the binary discussion of flat top or round top dots, and created the best possible combination of print dot structures on one plate,” stated Jan Buchweitz, Senior Product Manager Digital Flexo at Esko. “This enables to differentiate the ink laydown on the substrate for different parts of the artwork on one single plate. This is a giant step forward for flexible packaging converters as the result is high quality flexible packaging that stands out.”