Asahi Photoproducts at Labelexpo Europe 2017

Asahi Photoproducts, a flexographic photopolymer plate developer, has reported it will be showing its AWP of water-washable flexographic plate solutions, featuring pinning technology for clean transfer at Labelexpo Europe 2017. The company will be located on stand 5A34 at the show, September 25-28.

“Labelexpo Europe is always a highlight in our show schedule,” states Akihiro Kato, managing director of Asahi Photoproducts, Europe. “That is especially true this year as interest in higher quality and more efficient production of labels and packaging is heating up across Europe. At the show, our experts will be on hand to help visitors better understand how Asahi AWP plates can improve OEE and profitability without any compromise in quality. Visitors to our stand will also be able to see printed application examples and get advice from our experts about the best plates for their individual needs.”

Asahi experts will also be available to speak with visitors about fixed colour palette printing, which uses a fixed palette of up to seven inks to virtually eliminate the need for spot colour inks. Because it uses a fixed set of inks, there is no wash-up required between jobs, and combo jobs are made easier. Asahi plates, with pinning technology for clean transfer, deliver the precise plate-to-plate register required to implement this printing process successfully. “In our opinion,” added Kato, “this is the future of flexography, especially for flexible packaging, and it favourably positions flexography to compete with digital printing for all but the very shortest runs.”

New and to be presented at Labelexpo by Asahi Photoproducts is the AWP-DEW plate solution, incorporating the properties of AWP-DEF plates with the addition of a faster plate processing speed, making this plate ideal for labels and packaging operations with higher plate throughput looking to achieve significant quality and OEE benefits.

“Converters looking to move away from gravure and offset are truly surprised by what AWP can achieve,” according to Matt Francklow, managing director, Creation Reprographics. “We pioneered the Asahi AWP water washable plates technology in the UK from the outset. The plate delivers outstanding performance compared to other photopolymer plates on the market … the number of repeat clients we now have on board, all utilising the technology, proves that its exceptional print accuracy and quality is appreciated.”

Another satisfied Asahi customer is Colognia Press, a Czech-based label converter, who needed to find a way to improve OEE. “With the flexo plates we were using, we had excessive stop times to clean or replace plates,” said Bohdan Holona, manager of Desktop Publishing. “For long-run jobs, this meant half of the time to produce the job was downtime. And even for shorter runs, we were not happy with the consistency from beginning to end of the job, often requiring press stops to clean plates or otherwise adjust quality.”

After looking at several alternate solutions, Holona reports the company chose to implement the Asahi AWP platemaking system. “Now we can run a full 10 kilometre job without stopping. We even ran a 22-hour job with one set of plates, no stops, and very consistent quality from beginning to end. It’s been amazing,” said Bohdan.

A feature of many of Asahi’s flexographic printing plates is pinning technology for clean transfer. This enables a clean ink transfer and prevents ink accumulating on the plate surfaces and shoulders in screen areas. This leads to fewer cleaning intervals and reduced press downtime, as well as significant quality improvements. Precise plate register achieved with Asahi plates ensures very high quality process printing with a fixed colour palette, minimising the need to use and manage spot colour inks.

Pinning technology for clean transfer allows a kiss-touch printing pressure setting. It makes use of low plate surface tension, made possible by a specially engineered Asahi polymer chemistry, to inhibit liquid flow. The ink forms a globule, with a large contact angle and high pinning point. This results in a cleaner and more homogeneous ink transfer from plate to substrate, helping flexographic printers meet the ever-increasing quality demands of its customers.