In our copycat project, MacDermid’s LUX platemaking system (offered locally by Syreline Process) is again at the heart of the job; but the press in this instance is the Gallus EM410S eight-colour press at J Ryan Printers, a company that has featured among front-runners in many print industry awards programmes, including Sappi Label Printer of the Year and numerous FTASA Print Excellence Awards.
Once everybody agreed this was a ‘jolly good idea’, we were presented with a proposed cover design – supplied by Chris Koen, creative director of Chris Koen Designs & Art, a graphic designer engaged by Syreline Process. Then followed a further confab including PPM’s in-house graphic designer, Banie Stafford, to ensure the maintenance of our carefully-guarded corporate identity.
All was happiness on that front.
Discussion revolved around how to accentuate colour through the incorporation of special effects; and joining the list of partners as the design plan was finalised were Millian Inks (UV flexo inks), Rototec (embossing cylinders and rotary dies), Kurz/Synchron (cold foil) and Seldonrod (lamination media).
Print like never before
Orchestrating a live demonstration of such cutting-edge flexo technology was no mean feat. Expectations included consistent high-quality print results, minimal waste and fast setup.
Those involved at J Ryan Printers included Sean Bell (technical R&D manager) and Tyron Moore (factory manager).
At the heart of the experiment was the use of MacDermid’s LUX system.
As reported recently (PPM, Issue Two 2012, p25), South Africa has joined the growing list of countries that have adopted this award-winning platemaking method to improve flexographic printing, thanks to its recent implementation by Cape Town’s Syreline Process.
‘LUX technology is improving flexo printing across the globe and now we can offer flat-top dots to South Africa’s flexo printers, helping them to improve quality and consistency. This is the next leap in flexo, and can be seen in the outstanding quality of this month’s cover,’ asserts Derek Murison, Syreline’s MD (and current president of the FTASA), who has been handling prepress and platemaking for J Ryan’s award-winning labels and packaging since 2006.
Another key component for this project was the press. J Ryan’s Gallus EM410S servo-driven press features sleeve technology for easy handling and has taken the company’s label and package printing to new frontiers, as proven by recent FTASA Print Excellence Awards.
Designed on the platform concept, the Gallus optimises multipurpose applications with high efficiency and superb ergonomics. Backwards compatibility has been engineered into its design, allowing the use of existing Gallus EM standard modules. This includes full rotary embossing and hot foil stamping available at any printing station using Gallus’s Plug & Print technology.
‘We get top quality printing from the Gallus,’ confirms Sean Bell. ‘The quality is as good as offset!’ he adds with a smile.
Well that’s what we’re aiming to confirm, and the proof of his statement is certainly in the pudding – as anybody can see by looking at this month’s cover!
Moving on to the ink component, this is the Millicure Performance range from Millian Inks – a benzophenone-free UV curing ink specifically formulated to meet high standards of print speed, fast cure and excellent adhesion.
‘The process colours are formulated to meet FTA’s recommended density balance while using fine anilox roll cell counts,’ explains Millian’s Mickey Beley, who was another key player in the experiment.
‘First the inside covers were printed (Millian Inks and MacDermid advertisements), and then the web was turned. For the other side (the outside front cover and the Gallus advertisement on the outside back cover), the print sequence was cyan, magenta and yellow, followed by black, cold foil adhesive, foil application and high-build varnish and lamination,’ Mickey relates.
The bright silver foil (Kurz KPW OP) provides a metallic look that comes from cost-effective cold transfer technology that runs in-line and eliminates the need for expensive hot rotary dies. The outcome is a high shine, overprintable foil surface that adds visual lustre.
‘This is a real innovation from Kurz that enables the print market to eliminate dies and create amazing effects by being able to overprint the foil,’ comments Synchron MD, Sarah Sonnenberg.
Providing relevance to this comment, she adds: ‘As cold foil doesn’t offer the same brilliance as hot foil, we usually caution designers and brand managers about replacing hot foil with cold foil. However, designing a label or packaging using cold foil and then overprinting it with creative effects can be absolutely stunning.’
No ordinary job
As can be gleaned from this commentary, this was no ordinary job. It’s a magazine cover that’s typically printed in a sheetfed offset operation, not flexo printed on a narrow-web press.
‘It was a challenging job,’ admits Sean Bell. ‘But thanks to the LUX technology, everything came into impression quickly. The job gets up to image faster with flat-top dots and colour registration is faster. Looking at the result, we see sharp, crisp dots and excellent print – all in 175 screen (70lpcm).’
And that’s what every flexographer aims for. Sean’s comment reinforces the point of this experiment and confirms the fact that PPM’s cover stands out as an example of what’s possible with careful attention to detail, exceptional team work from all the partners, and intense pride in the printing craft. Our cover is bright, bold and beautiful, and the degree of printing difficulty is matched by an expert level of execution.
Throughout the last 12 months, Gavin Jones, technical director at Syreline Process, has been instrumental in market research into flat-top dots and the installation of the MacDermid system; and he firmly believes that this technology competes favourably with gravure and offset printing. An added advantage, he explains, is collating the EFI laser proofing system with Pantone colours, enabling a reduction from eight to four colours in many applications.
So last word goes to Gavin: ‘The effects of this advanced technology can be seen in the four colour reproduction of this edition’s cover!’
[Ed’s note: For related reading see Flat-top dots: what’s it all about? PPM Feb 2012 p25. Special effects from Millian Inks – this issue page 24.]