This time we learn that the company is launching revolutionary flexo plate technology that offers faster make-ready, reduced bounce, faster running speeds, better ink laydown, sharper text, greater impression latitude and higher line screens, up to 275lpi.
According to Hauke Liefferink, Acme Graphics MD, this game-changing technology brings flexo print quality much closer to gravure. ‘Previously, this wasn’t possible since we couldn’t get anywhere close to gravure’s continuous tones, as we were limited by low screen rulings and anilox and plate screen interference,’ he explains.
‘It looks like nothing you’ve seen before,’ Hauke continues laughingly. ‘Putting your loupe over the screens will quickly make you sit up straight. Imagine a lot of little plus signs telling you what this will do to your bottom line. Can you see Pac-Man in there? This isn’t AM, FM, XM or DMS. This is something completely different. We’re calling it FloChannel screening. It’s a screen, lined with channels, specifically designed with anilox ink transfer in mind,’ he adds.
Conventional screening (left) vs FloChannel (right).
‘We developed this screen two years ago but required a flexo plate to hold every pixel. We even tested with LED exposure but couldn’t get the required result, because of the low fidelity of the black laser ablative mask on flexo plates. That’s when we investigated Kodak’s SquareSpot imaging technology at 10 000dpi and realised we had a match for our screens,’ he continues.
‘This looks like something printed by a digital press, except a conventional press runs ten times faster!’
When printing with spot colours, it’s now possible to blend them with process inks at differing line measures, when required, in order to accommodate the higher anilox volumes used for spot colour inks.
FloChannel screens are especially effective printing on synthetic substrates, such as BOPP, PET, PP, LDPE and stretch and shrink films, where surface tension adversely affects ink laydown.
Ink laydown when printed.
‘We achieve a more consistent ink laydown. This improves colour fidelity and ensures greater consistency across and around the web. Plates last longer, too, since we have larger highlight dots on the plate and improved ink transfer without over-impression; and dot dipping and over-inking is reduced thanks to the channel structure,’ Hauke maintains.
The example above shows a particularly difficult-to-print shrink film. It compares the bad laydown with conventional screening (left) and the consistency of the FloChannel screening (below).