Back in the day, flexo was seen as a low price and correspondingly low quality print method, no match for gravure or offset. That’s definitely changed, and taking flexo to even higher quality results is High Definition printing. High Definition (HD) is a hot topic in printing, and there have been recent technological developments which have made HD both more efficient, better quality, and less expensive choice for flexo.
High Definition Printing Advantages
HD Printing promises higher resolution, better image sharpness, better color depth, higher ink transfer, consistent dot structure, and print consistency, even for long print runs. In some cases, HD can be put into operation in your existing flexo environment without replacing everything you’ve already got. There are now HD flexo products for printers, inks and plates, and here are some recent entries into the field:
Epson’s Stylus Pro WT900 is designed for proofing flexo and gravure jobs that need white. It has 10 ink channels with 360 nozzles each, can print on both sides, and has a reverse-white print mode, when the color white is printed last, and surface-white print mode, when white is printed first. This unit is designed to be used with a new ink technology, Epson UltraChrome HDR White Ink.
Epson’s UltraChrome HDR White Ink uses Clear Organic Hollow Resin Particle Technology, a technique that allows light to bounce off the ink particles in different directions, which creates what we see as white.
Flint Group recently released FlexiBase HDP, an ink product created for flexo printed bags and pouches. It comes in 18 high gloss colors, and can print HD 150-200 lpi graphics with low dot gain.
[quote]“High Definition printing is the talk of the flexographic printing industry,” says Philip Ernest, Director of Technology Liquid Packaging. “There have been new developments delivered by plate, anilox, and press manufacturers to address this market trend. This new set of dispersions is the final piece of the puzzle for wide web package printers looking to replicate gravure type print quality.”[/quote]
A product like Esko’s HD Flexo uses 4000 dpi HD optics to produce high-quality print runs, thanks to sharp screen dots and sharp text and lines. How does it work?
The plate’s super textured surface means better ink density and better control. There’s also an environmental benefit: longer runs means less plate washing which, in turn, means less water waste, plus the plates last longer than regular plates. Also, less downtime and labor, which is good for greening your bottom line.
Esko also takes their HD up a notch with HD Flexo. It offers the same benefits as the regular HD Flexo with the ability to control the dot shape, which enables a one-two punch of high definition combined with a “flat top” plate. You can take a look at an explanatory graphic here.
If you want to learn more about HD for flexo, contact our technology specialists, and they can run you through what’s new and some of the finer details.
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