The flexographic packaging and label printing
industry certainly is a thriving one, having resisted the financial crisis and the increasing competition of digital printing solutions for several years now. Smithers Pira
predicts that this success will continue at least through 2020, thanks to a number of technical innovations
that will help packaging designers and printers get even more out of flexographic printing. This article discusses four of those innovative flexographic printing
1. Optimized prepress workflow
According to Smithers Pira, the most important recent advancement in flexographic printing has been the introduction of computer-to-plate imaging technology
. This prepress innovation, which means images created with desktop publishing software are output directly onto printing plates, yields enhanced imaging. It also significantly reduces the time needed to approve graphic designs and produce plates.
2. Improved flexographic printing plates
The introduction of direct exposure and laser ablation masks has tremendously improved flexo platemaking. The latest generation of flexo plates enables printers to produce particularly fine details
and text, and has greatly improved the quality of shadows and highlights as well.
3. Replacing multiple spot colors with ECG
More and more printers are switching from multiple spot colors to Extended Color Gamut
(ECG) to match brand colors
. ECG consists of a fixed set of inks that combines CMYK colors with blue or violet, orange and green. As it reduces the need for frequent ink changes, it minimizes waste and boosts press uptime.
4. Independent servo motors
Last but not least, a growing number of printers are automating their prepress setup by using independent servo motors. The motors are equipped with high definition cameras
that register when changes are needed and allow for fully automated adjustments. This innovation too reduces waste and allows for faster changeovers.
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