Esko has released Full HD Flexo for flexible packaging. First introduced at drupa 2012, the company says that Full HD Flexo today is a proven technology which has been implemented at more than twenty flexo tradeshops and converters worldwide.
"With Full HD Flexo, Esko once more raises the standard. Esko flexo customers are asking for the combination of the benefits of HD Flexo together with a gravure-like ink laydown and a fully digitally controlled platemaking workflow. This is what Full HD Flexo brings and it moves flexo to an unseen level of quality and consistency with no need for compromises. Our unique, patented technology stretches the possibilities of flexo printing, allowing it to perfectly match gravure and offset quality for flexible packaging," says Jürgen Andresen, Esko vice president, flexo business. "Since the introduction of HD Flexo, the high quality results achieved have created a growing demand for more packaging and labels to be printed in flexo. Also the proven sustainability and cost benefits contributed to the raising success of flexo printing. Now, Full HD Flexo will help to further accelerate this demand."
According to Esko, HD Flexo quickly has set new standards thanks to the fine highlights, transitions to zero, sharp text and brilliant image details it produces. Full HD Flexo adds gravure-like solid ink laydown of the correct solid density, along with vibrant brand colors, supreme platemaking consistency and the only fully digitally controlled platemaking workflow available in industry.The unique Full HD Flexo dot shape aims to deliver a superior flexo plate suitable for the highlight, shadow and solid areas of a print job.
"We went beyond the binary discussion of flat top or round top dots, and created the best possible combination of print dot structures on one plate. This enables to differentiate the ink laydown on the substrate for different parts of the artwork on one single plate. This is a giant step forward for flexible packaging converters as the result is high quality flexible packaging that stands out. In addition, users report better performance of the flexo plate on the press for print consistency and printing speeds," says Jan Buchweitz, senior product manager digital flexo at Esko.
More than 20 customers worldwide are running production using the new Full HD Flexo technology today. DFTA-Award winner Glatz Klischee (Austria), specialist in packaging prepress as well as plate production for flexo printing and plate assembly for corrugated board, is particularly positive about Full HD Flexo. "We've achieved a quantum leap forward in flexo printing," says Manfred Schrattenthaler, Managing Director at Glatz Klischee. "In the first printing tests using the new Full HD Flexo plates, we had the 'luxury problem' of solid densities over a density of 2.0," says Holger Stier, technology manager at Glatz Klischee. "This was completely unexpected with the fine anilox rollers used. The tests proved that the option of combining flat top and round top dots technology on one printing form offers previously unheard opportunities in high-quality flexo printing."
Clicherlux, based in Valinhos near São Paulo (Brazil), is one of the largest tradeshops offering the most flexo plate services in Latin America. "I can say we have reached the quality of offset printing, with no gain, or bump-up curves. Full HD Flexo is really producing the full tonal range from highlights to shadows. An Esko CDI digital flexo imager along with Full HD Flexo is the best combination in the market," says Luciano Trombeta, Gerente Técnico. "We're getting the flat top dots we wanted in the shadows, along with great screens in the highlights."
To support this new technology, Esko will initiate a Full HD Flexo certification program for customers, vendors and partners - similar to the one in place for HD Flexo. The Full HD Flexo Certified seal is only offered to those companies that have passed Esko's certification tests, a process that requires inspection of different print samples from five different customer production jobs that have been printed consistently.
Full HD Flexo for flexible packaging is available worldwide. Existing customers can upgrade their software, workflow and CDI equipment to Full HD Flexo. The Full HD Flexo application support for labels and corrugated printing will be available later this year.