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Features Colour Control Packaging Printing
Zecher and Miraclon project pushes the boundaries of flexo printing


March 30, 2021
By PrintAction Staff

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Zecher GmbH, a manufacturer of anilox rollers for the printing and coating industry headquartered in Paderborn, Germany, has completed a project to demonstrate how consistent, high quality results can be achieved with a variety of packaging applications that are produced on flexo using CMYK process colours and advanced technologies.

The project, executed in co-operation with a range of partners, including Miraclon that provided the plates, aimed to prove uniform colour and image reproduction on a range of different substrates can be achieved using flexo, to ensure the packaging communicate a brand’s identity and message consistently and provide consumers with a positive shopping experience.

To maximize the practical relevance, complex images typically found on packaging for foods, coffee, tobacco, cosmetics and animal food were chosen. Subtle gradients in the highlights and fine details in the high tonal ranges were features shared by all the designs. A subject rich in contrast and showing a woman’s face completely covered in gold make-up proved to be a particular challenge for CMYK flexo printing. It was this subject that also inspired the motto for the project: “Together for Golden Results”.

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Three applications were produced: flexible packaging (printed on BOPP film), corrugated preprint on 135 g/cm2 paper fully coated on one side, and a paper carrier bag made from 100 g/cm2 white-coated kraft paper.

Zecher anilox rollers equipped with Zecher’s SteppedHex engraving technology were used to print all three applications. This engraving method is characterized by a specially staggered cell geometry, which helps optimize print quality.

All three applications were produced using FLEXCEL NX plates, made with Kodak MAXTONE SX Screening and a 60l/cm (152 lpi) screen.

“We selected FLEXCEL NX Plate technology based on its strong presence in the flexo market and the controlled ink transfer it delivers,” explains Jörg Rohde, head of application technology at Zecher.

The technical resources for producing the flexible packaging application were made available by machinery and systems manufacturer Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H) at its Printing Technology Center in Lengerich, Germany. As the facility houses a FLEXCEL NX Ultra Solution from Miraclon, the flexo plates could be made on the spot.

The corrugated preprint application was produced at Christiansen Print in Ilsenburg, Germany, using FLEXCEL NX plates from SCHAWK Goslar, while the paper carrier bag was printed at Stenqvist Austria with FLEXCEL NX Plates from FLEX-PUNKT Druckformen GmbH.

There were delays executing the project owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, everyone involved was excited – not only by the colour consistency with close tolerances across all substrates, but also by the image quality in the gradients and fine details.