Contact Originators first in UK to upgrade platemaking with Esko CDIs

The company installs third Esko platemaking line to expand into flexible packaging and labels markets.

Dukinfield, UK-based, Contact Originators, print prepress service provider for the corrugated, flexible packaging and label sectors, has upgraded its trio of Esko CDI plate imagers with high-quality optics, providing it with enhanced output, efficiency and quality.

Contact Originators installed its third Esko platemaking line as part of an effort to expand into markets outside of corrugated. With demand from the flexible packaging and label markets growing strongly month-on-month at the company, the upgrade to Optics v3+ will help to support this expansion. 

The investment will see the latest generation optics head, Optics v3+, installed across its trio of CDIs, which includes a recently installed Esko CDI Crystal XPS plate imaging and exposure unit. The latest machine installation made the platemaking specialist the first in Europe to house three of the Crystal flexo platemaking lines. This latest upgrade furthers this record and sees Contact Originators become the first company in the UK to be working with Optics v3+.  

The Optics v3+ head is a new addition to Esko’s platemaking ecosystem, as debuted at drupa 2024.  

Benefits of the new v3+ optics head include the ability to process plates at up to 8 m2/h, a 30 percent increase in productivity for both Crystal screens and Pixel+ and equates to the production of up to two more plates per hour. The upgrade is also said to achieve better dot size homogeneity meaning improved plate quality and prints have more homogenous ink laydown, fewer pin holes, no stripes and a more solid ink density.  

Nick Mitchell, operations director of Contact Originators Group, said: ‘As we continue to evolve and prepare the business for the future, investing in new technology and upgrading existing systems to keep them running at peak performance helps us remain at the cutting edge of the flexographic prepress sector. This was evidenced earlier this year with our new CDI Crystal XPS investment and moving to Optics v3+ will help us grow even faster and further.  

‘Optics v3+ directly supports our work in the corrugated, flexible packaging and label sectors, so being the only one in the UK to offer this puts us in a really strong position.’ 

Contact Originators has also agreed to purchase two licenses for ArtPro+, a native PDF editor offered by Esko for packaging pre-press that prepares artwork for print production. ArtPro+ features an intuitive user interface for increased operator efficiency, with users able to work directly on PDF files with enhanced editing features.  

‘Our move into flexibles and labels is going great guns and these investments are a catalyst for further growth,’ continued Mitchell.  

Mike Ball, Esko sales account manager, said: ‘Optics v3+ is setting new standards in platemaking. It’s great to see our technologies enabling a company such as Contact Originators to better serve its customers with higher quality prepress solutions. The fact we are also helping them successfully expand into new markets is a win-win.’