Multi beam direct digital laser engravers supplied by Zed Instruments for flexo are claimed to achieve high print quality that enables the users to successfully compete with companies using ‘in the round’ photopolymer techniques.
One installation at Amsterdam trade house Neroc Prepack is said to be producing high quality flexible packaging with excellent results. According to Zed: “Printed bar codes achieve Class A category. Line screens of 60 lpcm and excellent reversals (down to 2pt text) are easily achieved, with printers reporting increased press speeds”.
Nerock’s operation, which uses seamless elastomeric sleeves and 1-bit TIFF files created
using Artwork Systems’ Nexus RIP, is said to demonstrate that high quality wide web flexible packaging using directly ablated sleeves (or plates) is a reality today. An advantage of direct laser engraving is its ability to produce below-surface highlight dots. This enables Nerock to achieve the imperceptible fading of gradation vignettes into the background, combined with
maximum possible tonal range. As laser engraved sleeves are finished to very fine tolerances, the company can supply sleeves with a lower than normal relief depth (0.45 mm) for higher engraving speeds of up to 0.6m2/hour.
At a second installation, hl-repro, in Hedensted, Denmark, are using Zed’s FlexoDirect software with both 1 and 8-bit TIFF files to screen grey files ‘on-the-fly’ at the time of engraving.
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