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  • 21 Apr 2021

Esko and Asahi partner for platemaking automation

Esko and Asahi Photoproducts have launched fully automated flexo platemaking line CrystalCleanConnect delivering environmentally friendly operation with improved safety and boosted print quality consistency.

Esko and Asahi Photoproducts have launched fully automated flexo platemaking line CrystalCleanConnect delivering environmentally friendly operation with improved safety and boosted print quality consistency.

‘With CrystalCleanConnect, we have brought together key hardware and software technologies from both organizations to deliver a number of breakthrough advantages from design to print,’ said Pascal Thomas, director of flexo business at Esko. ‘CrystalCleanConnect delivers a cleaner, more environmentally balanced operation that simplifies the flexo platemaking process, improves safety, and boosts print quality consistency.’

CrystalCleanConnect fully automates the platemaking process, from imaging and exposure to plate production, reducing the number of steps needed from 12 to just one. According to the company statement, this equates to a reduction from 36 minutes in platemaking and plate cutting to just 2.5 minutes of operator time to complete all processing steps.

‘With CrystalCleanConnect, the operational benefits to businesses are as pronounced as the environmental benefits,’ said Thomas. ‘With the removal of so many process steps, there’s an immediate 90 percent reduction in required operator time, which not only eliminates the potential for human error but also delivers immediate efficiency gains. Quality is assured through Asahi and Esko technologies working in complete harmony, and the combination of improved efficiency and quality delivers an average increase of 25 percent in press OEE.’

Dieter Niederstadt, technical marketing manager for Asahi Photoproducts, added: ‘Flexo needs to simplify processes while improving quality, consistency, and profitability. In doing so, flexo can create new business opportunities and positively transform into a printing technology in balance with the environment.

‘This breakthrough innovation is different in many ways to other solutions on the market. It is not just an assembly of available platemaking processes delivered in-line, but rather a holistic approach to connecting technologies up and downstream of the pre-press value chain, using an intelligent automation hub as the backbone and heart of the solution. CCC is truly pushing boundaries to the current scope of plate automation delivering a mount-ready plate as well as being the first automated production solution without the need for VOC-based washout solvents in the platemaking process.’

‘At Esko, we have long been dedicated to improving the platemaking experience in terms of quality, productivity, and connectivity. Together with Asahi Photoproducts, we are taking the flexo platemaking process to a brand-new level, enabling our customers to be even more competitive while also ensuring they can meet today’s demands for flexible and sustainable supply. With CrystalCleanConnect, our ultimate objective is to improve our customers’ overall business performance and profitability,’ concluded Thomas.

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