Golden Era is again breaking new ground as it becomes the first company in Southern Africa to install a ThermoFlexX 60-S imager supplied by Xeikon’s prepress division in Belgium, in a sale facilitated by local agent, DecoFlex.
Recent advancements in digital flexo plate production made by ThermoFlexX are attracting enormous interest around the world, not least in Africa, with the installation of a ThermoFlexX 80-S imager taking place in Algeria (PPM May 2015), and now a ThermoFlexX 60-S at Golden Era in North West province.
When considering the purchase of a flexo imager, Raj Chhita and his colleagues at Golden Era consulted the team at DecoFlex, who recommended the ThermoFlexX 60-S – described as ‘one of the most advanced 1 067 x 1 524mm flexo imagers on the market’.
All the technology incorporated in the ThermoFlexX 80 is available on the new ThermoFlexX 60, including the ability to fit a dual-head imaging system to enable output speeds of 12m2/hour at 2 400dpi.
Changing resolution on-the-fly
The extensive research and development work carried out by ThermoFlexX during the last two years has focused on pushing forward the boundaries of productivity, quality and effectiveness in the field of flexo plate production. This has resulted in the incorporation of a string of industry-leading features, including the world’s highest imaging resolution and fastest imaging speed.
Designed with the overarching principles of profitability, quality, flexibility and sustainability in mind, ThermoFlexX imagers incorporate a level of innovation not previously seen in flexo imagers, including a wide choice of resolutions, from 2 400 to 5 080dpi.
However the big news is the ability to swap instantly between outputs, which means jobs with different resolutions can be produced on the same plate. Changing resolution is performed automatically in the background. This offers potential for huge savings in time and materials. Users no longer have to wait for jobs that require output at the same resolution in order to bundle them on the same plate.
Keeping wastage to a minimum at every stage of the imaging process is another key aim and ThermoFlexX has incorporated a high level of automation, from the calibration system that guarantees jobs are always imaged under optimum conditions, to loading and unloading plates at the touch of a button.
To overcome the need to handle large plates manually, a main cause of plate damage, ThermoFlexX 60 and 80 units feature a mobile table called the Flextray.This Flextray is easily adjusted to transport and feed plates into the guiding system on the imager. An advanced automatic clamping system, combined with the slow drum rotation feature, ensures that plate mounting is straightforward and accurate. The automatic vacuum slider, a particular feature on this latest-generation ThermoFlexX imager, offers efficient operation for partial plates. By moving the slider to the edge of the plate, the vacuum is concentrated beneath the plate, eliminating the need for taping and foil covering yet still allowing full-speed imaging.
The imager accepts 1-bit TIFF files generated by any workflow, RIP or front-end and handles any of today’s innovative screens such as hybrid or surface screens. Closed file formats such as LEN-files can be converted to 1-bit TIFF format.
According to Golden Era, the implementation of the imager was extremely smooth, with ThermoFlexX and DecoFlex engineers providing excellent training, backed by first-class after-sales support. The imager proved so straightforward to operate that Golden Era was quickly in production, providing an increasing number of plates daily.
As Sachin Sukhlal of DecoFlex sums up: ‘Our focus is on offering value-added solutions to meet the constantly-evolving needs of the flexographic printing industry. Our goal has always been to provide customers with products that allow their businesses to succeed and excel, while providing the highest level of customer service in the industry.’