Artwork Systems Group in Belgium and ZED Instruments, a UK manufacturer of direct laser engraving systems, have formed a strategic partnership. The former supplies FlexoCal and Hybrid Screening software, which allows flexo printers to fade dots to zero when using conventional flexo platemaking techniques. A related development, Plate Cell Patterning, is claimed to deliver improved solid densities and reduced ink usage by placing anilox-type cells in the solid areas of conventional flexo plates. This software option for Artwork’s Nexus workflow system gained the Technical Innovator of the Year 2002 Award from the Flexographic Prepress & Platemakers Association.
ZED Instruments helped pioneer direct-to-plate or sleeve technology using digitized artwork. Lately it has worked on improving highlight reproduction by adjusting for the effects inherent in the direct digital plate engraving method and by using ‘below-surface’ dots. Both companies will develop stochastic and hybrid screening methods using laser-engraved flexo plates.