Update Spring 2018
Woodpecker GEN2 Coming Soon..
After extensive testing with Flint Image Transfer Solutions, our advanced Surface Pattern utility, Woodpecker GEN2 is moving into beta test phase in readiness for full release in the summer.
Applying surface patterns to the print surface of a flexo plate can substantially alter its ink transfer characteristics. Smoother printed solids and higher densities can be achieved. This gives printers the opportunity to increase quality by using a finer anilox to control dot-gain whilst still achieving target density. Of course, traditional problems of poor solid coverage caused by pin-holing etc can often be corrected with the right surface pattern.
The idea of altering the plate surface by imaging or even construction is not a new one. It was noticed long ago that in some cases, a 90% dot may seem to print a better solid than the 100% areas, thus surface screening began. However, it was limited very much by how fine a pattern (line-screen) plates of the day could hold (around 400lpi max). Today, the advent of Flat Top Dot technologies and high resolution digital imaging (up to 5080dpi) makes reproducible ultra-fine patterns at ≈1800lpi achievable. This gives a new level of possibilities for print enhancement. In addition to smoother or higher density solids, printers are also using surface screens to save money on ink. Expensive pigments can be reduced and target solid densities still achieved.
Woodpecker GEN focusses on the reliable delivery of simple, high-resolution and high-frequency single pixel patterns as productively as possible. A ‘fade-out’ facility enables the user to decide which dots or fine detail may avoid patterning. For example the fade-out can be used to only apply patterns to ¾ tone dots and up. This avoids weakening small dots with additional structures. In general, single pixel patterns are less prone to undesired interference clashes. Multiple pixel patterns are also provided should they give a better performance in some circumstances. In this case, fade-out can be applied and extra guidance will be given to avoid screen interference.
Woodpecker GEN2 continued
In addition to the extensive development on Woodpecker surface patterns, support of patterns already applied to the input TIFF or LEN file has been greatly enhanced. Special imaging modes are available for the reproduction of popular generic patterns, even those with single pixel patterns that often need a ‘boost’ function. Surface patterns or microstructures have become a regular ‘hot topic’ in flexo. Vendors of various technologies seem to promote it as solution for many things. As well as developing a capable, simple and sensible solution we’d also like to share a few important points regarding the proper application of micro surface structures:
- Surface Patterns are most effective and are usually applied to the transfer of solvent inks onto film based substrates
- Simply boosting densities (above flexo target solid densities) particularly for process colours (CMYK) can undermine established colour management
- Sensible objectives are to achieve a smoother laydown or target solid density with a finer screen anilox
- Fine surface patterns can also increase density with lower pigmented inks for potential cost saving
- Flat Top Dot capability is essential to hold these fine patterns on a solvent washed plate. This can be oxygen elimination (by gas or lamination), high power LED exposure or built-into the plate
Nyloflex® Xpress Thermal Processor F IV
There are many situations where high quality flexo plates are needed quickly but use of solvents for processing isn’t desirable. ThermoFlexX imagers support all digital thermal and water-wash plates available on the market today.
Comprising of nyloflex® Xpress equipment and plates from Flint Image Transfer Solutions, with high-resolutionThermoFlexX imaging, Flint Group can now supply aturn-key package for printers making plates in house or trade-shops seeking a fast turn-around convenient modern product for their customers.
nyloflex® Xpress Processor highlights
- High quality and robust machine design (manufactured in the United States)
- Small footprint, yet massive scalability easily process plates of any size from
- 254 mm x 254 mm to 1067 mm x 1650 mm (10.0″ x 10.0″ to 42.0″ x 65.0″)
- No chiller required – revolutionary short-wave IRpre-heating system allows for precise control of heating depth, resulting in excellent dimensional stability of plates
- Remote service and diagnostics with optional Wi-Fi connectivity
- Lightning-fast turnaround time with quick processing and no drying required
- Fully integrated colour touch screen control panel with wide viewing angles for ease of operation
- Visual and audible indicators allow operators to multitask
- Simple splicing and web-up procedure
- Developer roll usage is monitored and displayed