Utilized in offset printing for years, lenticular printing is not a new technique, however recent extrusion advancements and a major reduction in lenticular film thickness have allowed for a new and exciting market to emerge for flexographic printers.
Jeff Toepfer from Imageworx explains, “In the USA, lenticular products have been around for decades. Products such as image flip baseball cards, comic book covers, movie posters, and small and large-scale advertisement displays were produced with a sheet-fed offset print process and much thicker, non-flexible, lenticular lens materials. Just recently, Imageworx began developing art with brand new roll-fed lens films that conform to the thickness requirements for product wrap and roll-fed dispensing requirements of pressure sensitive labeling.”
This new roll-fed lens film uses micro lenses (a technology that is also used for 3D displays), to magnify printed micro images and show illusion of depth, movement or the ability to change or morph into a new image as the label is viewed from different angles.
New in this case is the resolution. The vertical lenses per inch on the film are 3 to 5 times higher in frequency than a typical lenticular film and are thin enough to be used as a wrap-around label. With 1:1 linear pixel processing capabilities down to 2.6 microns and high-resolution Kodak NX plates, Imageworx has developed a design/imaging technique that works in concert with the resolution capabilities of the Kodak NX plate.
“We were very excited to learn that high resolution lens films were in production,” says Toepfer. “The effects that can be translated through the film are incredibly attractive, and the detailed security images built at Imageworx are nearly impossible to recreate. Our goal was to create designs that draw immediate consumer attention through motion optics, and to develop cost-efficient security brand protection labels to protect the authenticity of highly counterfeited items.”
Creating lenticular images at high resolution required a printing press that can print a microscopic line with limited impression and dot gain. “I’ve seen an ongoing issue with dot gain and over impression when printing high resolution lenticular flexo projects. It is very important to limit the amount of ink transfer and line thickness gain to produce a desirable result," explains Toepfer. “What I found most impressive about the MPS EF series press was that it produced the minimum amount of ink transfer required while maintaining ideal densities, and it was surprisingly able to produce a similar result at both 60 and 200 m/m."
To see this new 3D motion and security labeling prepress/design technique, guests can schedule personal live demonstrations at the MPS Technology & Expertise Center in Arnhem, the Netherlands or the MPS Systems North America Demo & Applications Technology Center located in Green Bay, WI, USA.