Chinese label manufacturer Shanghai Hengze Printing Company has installed a CrystalCleanConnect flexographic platemaking line following the adoption of Asahi AWP-DEF water-washable plates to boost quality and improve its competitive positioning.
The company was founded in 2001 as a letterpress shop producing labels for products in daily use among the Chinese population. Shanghai Hengze offers complete end-to-end services under one roof, from product design and pre-press to the finished product, enabling a high level of customization and personalized service for its customers.
The addition of the CrystalCleanConnect line, and a switch to Asahi AWP-DEW water-washable plates that are optimized for use with the new system, are expected to take the company’s productivity, efficiency and sustainability to the next level, positioning it even more favorably in the highly competitive Chinese market.
‘Over the last two years, since we implemented the Asahi AWP CleanPrint water-washable plates, we have seen excellent quality improvement results,’ commented Li Xiaocheng, founder of Hengze. ‘When we learned about the added value CrystalCleanConnect could bring to our operation, we could hardly wait to get started. We are also very pleased to be an early adopter of this unique, highly productive and innovative solution.’
CrystalCleanConnect was developed in collaboration among Asahi Photoproducts, Esko and Kongsberg. It combines vital hardware and software technologies from all organizations to deliver an efficient and sustainable mount-ready water-washable flexo plate for the packaging industry. It offers a fully automated and connected process that begins with the operator loading plate material and pressing a button to initiate. Plates are then imaged, developed and cut in-line in a single integrated approach, delivering mount-ready plates at the back end.
According to Asahi, the new system significantly decreases the total cost of ownership by reducing steps from 12 to one, minimizing the need for operator intervention and automating the workflow. It can also reduce labor costs, enable production with less wastage and reduce the opportunity for error. Plates are also produced faster than other methods, increasing throughput and decreasing time to market for flexo printed products.