Asahi Photoproducts has launched AWPTM-DEW 4260 PLF, the next-generation larger format water-wash flexographic plate processor with an automated process from plate wash-out to the UV finished plate including plate processing, rinsing, drying and UV post exposure within one system.
‘The market of larger volume users for AWPTM flexo plates and particularly for flexible packaging applications is growing,’ stated Dieter Niederstadt, technical marketing manager at Asahi Photoproducts. ‘For that reason, it was time for us to introduce a new member to our large format processor family. Exclusively focusing on using the new AWPTM-DEW plate with this processor allows us to reduce the environmental footprint of the platemaking process by reducing the content of additives in the washout solution. It also allows us to speed up the time for each plate coming out of the line dramatically.’
The system is designed to be able to use two standard formats at three to five plates per hour, either 1200x900mm (48 x 36in) or 1067x1524mm (42x60in). The new equipment is an automated combination of washer-dryer-light finishing, providing the opportunity for reduction of the operator's hands on requirements and potential associated errors. For customers already having a separate light finisher, the AWPTM-DEW 4260 PLF processor is available in a version without the light finisher function. This processor combination is said to be the first incremental system of its kind and features an improved UVA/UVC inline post exposure uniformity.
The AWPTM-DEW 4260 PLF processor is the successor of Asahi’s 1116PD processor, which has been used by many high-volume end users in the market. New features as compared to the older model include an integrated plate punching system for pin bar, integrated air knife after plate rinsing unit to dry the plate, higher post-exposure uniformity with inline UVA and UVC light finishing and filter unit located inside the machine with easy rollout operator access.
The new machine maintenance concept includes low maintenance pumps and easy pipe layout, water safety tray located on the side frame without the need to clean leaked solution, Asahi remote human machine interface access and optional smart glass support system. The new system has an optimized footprint of 6112 x 2070 x 1295mm.
The processor has a modem communication link on all machines to the processor’s human machine interface (HMI). This allows technical support team to connect with the customer’s machine from any location for the first level of maintenance and support.
‘The difference this functionality makes is unbelievable; pictures can explain so much more than words. A typical support interaction with a customer which took me hours of travel time in the past can now pinpoint the detailed problem in no time, allowing us to either fix the problem immediately or at least send the exact needed spare part to the customer,’ said Alex Downes, service engineer at Asahi. ‘If we didn’t have the appropriate part with us on a traditional service call, that often required an additional visit, leading to more cost and potentially a longer downtime. Now everything can be done quickly and in one step, often eliminating the need for any travel at all and getting the customer up and running quickly.’
Niederstadt, added, ‘Based on what we have seen in the start-up phase of this new service, we believe we can speed up our service and reduce the amount of travel by half. This will better utilize our engineers and provide higher quality service for our customers.’