Italian prepress service provider Flexolution has installed a second Kodak Flexcel NX Wide imaging system from Miraclon to keep up with production and demand as the company expands its services to include wide-web printing.
Luca Ferrari, director at Flexolution, said: ‘Flexolution is known in the narrow-web sector for the high quality and efficiency we deliver with Flexcel NX plates and we started to receive many requests from the wide-web market too. I knew that if we were going to try and break into such a competitive market, we needed the best technology that could deliver the highest quality.
‘The only possible technological choice was Flexcel NX technology, which sets the market benchmark for the highest quality – in line with our philosophy – by using the most reliable system for flexo flat-top dot polymer plates while improving optical density and print quality. We wanted to be sure we had a stable, repeatable plate that would allow us to reproduce the pixels with an optimal resolution.’
In 2018, Flexolution installed a Flexcel NX Wide 4260 System with a 1067x1524mm plate format and, in 2021, another Flexcel NX Wide 5080 system with a 1270x2032 mm plate format. The larger format allows the company to optimize the plate space usage.
‘Our plates are 100 percent customized for each customer, so we create customized color profiles for their specific printing press and fine-tune color profiles to offer a stable plate so that it can print as close as possible to ISO standards,’ Ferrari explained.
Printers place repeat orders while demand for wide-web jobs is also increasing. Flexolution’s core market, which currently provides almost two million EUR in revenue, is the food packaging sector. The company’s label and flexible packaging customers specifically demand Flexcel NX plates.
‘A good example of the benefits they enjoy is a flexible packaging printer that recently produced 400 thousand meters of material and said the plate was stable and performed perfectly for the full length of the run. Flexcel NX technology has also enabled us to be very competitive with gravure, thanks to the higher optical density achieved with Digicap NX patterning technology,’ Ferrari added.
Thanks to the DIGICAP NX Patterning Technology, a micro surface texturization pattern is applied to the surface of all elements on the FLEXCEL NX plate with the result that, as Luca explains, "a greater pattern density and a reduction in ink volume is achieved, which translates into a better quality of highlights, while printers experience reduced start-up times and ink savings because, with Flexcel NX plates, they go straight into the production run.”
DIGICAP NX patterning technology uses Kodak SquareSpot imaging technology and its optical engraving resolution of 10,000dpi.
When Flexolution was established, its customers were competing with offset printing. ‘But now, considering the decrease in print run lengths, they also compete with digital. So, to give our customers the competitive edge, we have to supply the right plates that enable reduced make-ready times and fixed palette printing. Flexcel NX plates enable us to do so. We are also investing in color management software, which allows us to convert colors from Pantone to 4-color process jobs, demonstrating that this transition is not only possible with digital printing but also with flexo.’
Ferrari said that with decrease in print run lengths and the continuous change of jobs, Flexcel NX plates have allowed the company to be competitive with gravure with its higher ink densities delivered by incorporating DigiCap NX Patterning. In fact, some customers have successfully switched jobs from gravure to flexo.