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Flexo screen launch enables new quality standards

Joint development work between ThermoFlexX and Global Graphics results in hybrid screens that provide new levels of flexo print quality.

Eede, The Netherlands, September 11th, 2014 – Recent development work between ThermoFlexX and Global Graphics has resulted in new hybrid screens for the flexo market that allow greatly improved highlights to be achieved in the final printed product. The screens are aimed in particular at the label sector and will have their worldwide launch at Labelexpo Americas 2014 on the Xeikon stand (6135).

“Great strides have been made over recent years in the quality that can be achieved in the flexo process, with major advances taking place in the areas of pre-press, platemaking and printing,” says Christophe Lievens, director sales and marketing for basysPrint and ThermoFlexX. “But there are still quality hurdles that have to be jumped.

“ThermoFlexX has been working to create a complete high-quality packaging workflow and this has involved the formation of strategic partnerships with several other leading players. Our recent collaboration with Global Graphics, combining their extensive knowledge of commercial print with our many years of experience in packaging, is already proving extremely fruitful.

“Global Graphics has set the industry standard for years with its PDF native Harlequin RIP and its leading position in RIP technology, screening and color management, made it the obvious partner for ThermoFlexX, which is now pioneering digital imaging for the flexo market. The new hybrid screens are based on Harlequin cross modulated screens, and utilise a combination of FM screening to handle highlights and AM screening to handle shadow and mid-tones in a unique way and we look forward to showing these astounding results to visitors at Labelexpo Americas.”

The ‘no-nonsense’ approach taken to the design of the screens means they are very easy to set up. They can be used with the new Harlequin MultiRIP (v10) and are able to take full advantage of the 5,080 dpi resolution available on ThermoFlexX imagers, which is the highest resolution on the market. This enables the creation of the most effectively shaped minimum dots and these remain stable throughout platemaking and printing. The ability to produce such small, consistent dots reduces significantly the risk of a ‘grainy effect’ on the final printed product. This latest development enables the best print quality comparable to offset, but with the lower production costs associated with flexo.

The hybrid screens allow the formation of excellent vignettes that can fade to zero, while also providing a larger color space plus greater contrast and more uniform dot-bridging. They enable higher screen rulings to be used, giving smooth, noise-free flat tints while retaining fine details in highlights. Breakouts in images are also less visible, resulting in the reduction or even elimination of subsequent image retouching.

These hybrid screens, which are the first of what are expected to be several product launches following this new joint development, are available from ThermoFlexX as well as two Global Graphics OEM partners – Hybrid Software and Xitron.

“The Harlequin RIP is well known for its excellent PDF interpretation, the quality of its rendering, color management and screening engine as well as its speed,” says Martin Bailey, CTO, Global Graphics Software. “The RIPs have been continually fine-tuned over 25 years in production and this includes separating for rich and custom process ink sets, with and without multiple spot colors.

“We’re delighted to have had the opportunity to work with ThermoFlexX to deliver these new hybrid screens, building on our existing screening engine and their hands-on expertise and understanding of the detailed requirements of flexo printers. We’re looking forward to further co-operation with ThermoFlexX in the future.”