Narrow web press manufacturer Mark Andy and MacDermid Printing Solutions, maker of a digital platemaking system, are the 2011 winners of the Technical Innovation Awards presented annually by the Flexographic Technical Association. The awards were presented this week during the association’s annual forum, taking place in Indianapolis, IN, USA.
Mark Andy’s award is for its Performance Series of presses, introduced in 2009 and selling well among narrow web printers. More than 70 presses have been sold, and six owners have made repeat purchases.
Mark Andy says that it analyzed every step and every component in existing inline technology and ignored all preconceived flexo workflow assumptions in devising the award-winning machinery. Features include minimal frame design, a short web path, servo drive technology, simplified plate cylinder, ink loading and locking systems, and hands-free automatic impression setting.
“The Performance Series by Mark Andy is a completely new, proven flexographic print technology that has redefined the entire on-press workflow,” says Mary Sullivan, Mark Andy’s director of global marketing. “Performance Series technology drives extreme productivity, reduces waste and directly supports sustainability. This new flexo technology features a whole new design consisting of integrated self-setting components, swift-loading inking system, intuitive automation and web management.”
MacDermid Printing Solutions has won the 2011 FTA Technical Innovation Award for its Lux platemaking process, which marries flat-top dot geometry to digital platemaking.
MacDermid’s development team reports that the Lux platemaking process involves laminating a proprietary membrane over the top of an image-ablated digital flexo plate, conducting standard UV exposure of the photopolymer through the membrane, and removing the membrane prior to processing. These steps exclude oxygen from the photopolymerization reaction and make 1:1 mask:plate imaging possible. As a result, the smallest flat-top dots are sturdy, less sensitive to both press impression and wear and more conducive to highlight detail than bullet-shaped dots of the same size – no bump curve required.
Flexo printers and platemakers can use Lux technology with their existing MacDermid digital plates. According to MacDermid, the LUX process is meant to complement an existing digital flexo workflow, not replace it, and will permit the use of legacy artwork without modification for as long as the customer desires. The membrane lamination itself takes only five minutes.
“MacDermid has a long history of providing innovative solutions coupled with unrivaled service, and to be recognized by such a well-respected industry association speaks to the quality, efficiency and consistency that we've been able to deliver to our customers with LUX,” says Scot Benson, vice president and general manager of MacDermid.