All the processes currently being used today to produce a plate with a flat top profile are designed to prevent oxygen exchange between ambient air and photopolymerisable layer during the exposure step, either by blocking it at the plate surface with barrier films or by displacing the oxygen with inert gases.
Compared to alternative systems, the main advantage of the new nyloflex NExT exposure technology is that it does not involve the use of inert gases with all its risks and does not require additional expensive consumables. Also, there are no processing steps added to the standard digital plate workflow, such as film or negative film lamination. The nyloflex NExT process can be integrated in the existing workflow of digital plates. The only change required with the nyloflex NExT process is the addition of an advanced high energy UV light source, which accelerates the polymerization in the image areas so much, that the competitive termination reaction with oxygen becomes insignificant. In combination with a standard UV tube, exposure of a virtual 1-1 reproduction from the LAMS image onto the plate is accomplished.
Flint Group notes that recent printing tests with nyloflex NexT exposed plates even indicate further advantages on press like improvements in impression latitude and reduction to gear streaks.
The new Flint Group UV technology is planned to be commercially available in 2011.