BASF Printing Systems has found a new partner with which to build on existing work in developing a direct laser engraving system for flexo plates. The company has joined with Schablonentechnik Kufstein AG (STK), a member of the Stork Group. The Dutch organization has practical experience in laser engraving of screen printing stencils and is a leading supplier of high performance laser systems.
The signing of the agreement coincided with the installation of a laser prototype in the development laboratories of BASF Printing Systems.
STK will concentrate on developing a high-performance laser light source, including the necessary control and software components. BASF Printing Systems will be responsible for developing materials and marketing the system.
Naturally they are both bullish about the future of laser engraving for flexo plates. “In Europe, the share of laser-imageable flexo printing plates has already reached the 20 percent level,” said Joergen Steinmetz, managing director of BASF Printing Systems. “But only direct engraving — which does not need additional processing steps — will enable users to attain a more consistent quality and shorter processing times.