Asahi Photoproducts, a leading worldwide flexographic plate manufacturer, recognizes the need for fast-paced packaging and label printing companies to deliver ever higher levels of graphic print quality, both consistently and profitably.
Asahi´s Pinning Top Dot (PTD) flexographic photopolymer plate technology ensures exceptional print performance and enhanced press profitability. Pinning Top Dot plate technology is incorporated in the AWPTM-DEF, AFPTM-TOP and AFPTM-TSP plates.
Asahi PTD plates achieve high quality print performance as a result of their engineered photopolymer chemistry design. With a very high plate resolution designed for fine text and minimum dots fading out to zero, the unique plate specification allows a larger total colour gamut to be achieved, particularly in highlight areas, providing more design flexibility and graphic quality.
In terms of the plate production process, the Asahi AWP™- DEF plate is processed with an environmentally sound water wash workflow. The AFPTM-TOP and AFPTM-TSP plates can be processed in a solvent wash process, fitting easily into any plate making environment without requiring any additional equipment investment. All PTD plate solutions share common quality features that ensure high quality consistent print production without colour shift.
Branded Asahi PTD plates also have a lighter printing impression which produce constant repeatability of print quality during a run, ensuring improved graphic consistency and print performance.
Pinning Top Dot plate technology from Asahi is specifically engineered to transfer all remaining ink to the print substrate. The science behind this beneficial property is simple; Asahi PTD plates have a lower surface energy than conventional solvent plates, enabling improved ink transfer to the print surface.
Successful flexographic printing is not just about high quality print performance. In today’s competitive flexo world, profitable production is key and this is where Asahi´s Pinning Top Dot plate technology ensures that performance creates value!
The Asahi engineered low surface energy plate design functions well with low printing pressure, also called "kiss touch" printing, which reduces dot gain and results in plates that last longer in the printing process. Less plate wear means reduced plate replacement costs for the printer. Reduced ink filling-in at the mid tone area during printing also means fewer cleaning intervals are required. And that means increased press production uptime.
Since the Asahi PTD plates do not need to be cleaned as often as conventional digital solvent plates, less press cleaning creates a significant step in profitability for users. They are able to benefit from an improvement in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) that can make a significant difference to the bottom line by both reducing cycle time and increasing the number of jobs that can be handled using the same resources.
Two additional areas of inefficiency in the modern print shop are plate availability and time to press, which are also both addressed by the Asahi AWP- water wash PTD plate solution.
Solvent-free production of the Asahi AWP- plate does not require the incorporation of a drying process; therefore, the plate can be delivered to press in approximately one-hour on average, minimizing the risk of press downtime due to unavailability of plates. This speed to press also makes it easier to use combination printing or ganging, popular in labels and flexible packaging printing applications.
In summary, the quality, flexibility and reduced cleaning requirements of the Asahi PTD plate solution ensure very high quality performance and enhanced productivity productivity. Also because ofpremium plate quality and durability, Asahi PTD plates are suitable to be used in the ever more popular Fixed Colour Palette printing process (also referred to as extended colour gamut printing).
A recent case study produced by the Asahi team indicated that is it possible to achieve a 33% improvement in overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) with Asahi PTD plates as compared with using a standard solvent plate in the same print production set up.
A flexible packaging film printer with a CI Press printing water-based inks was using an anilox roller with a volume of 4cm3/m2 at 400/cm and had an average press speed of 350m/min. Working a three-shift system, 240 days per annum, at a machine cost per hour of €350*, the company had a total operating cost of €2,016,000 per machine per annum.
Utilizing a standard solvent plate, the company was experiencing €987,840 of machine uptime cost and a non-production cost of €1,028,160. This equated to a Solvent Plate OEE of just 49%.
By simply migrating to Asahi PTD plates, the company reversed that trend, achieving a machine uptime cost of €1,310,400 and non-production cost of €705,600, securing an OEE of 65%.
The overall OEE advantage over the solvent plate was up to 33% or a savings of €322,560 per machine per annum.
Obviously OEE data varies from press shop to press shop and printer to printer with all of the variables that need to be taken into account, but the message is clear – the reduced downtime achieved via reduced cleaning and faster time to press using Asahi PTD plates delivered exceptional profitability and enhanced print performance, as promised.
Also as demonstrated in the example, Asahi PTD flexographic plates are a solution that can easily fit into any existing press shop environment with only the need for an additional water wash processor if the AWP PTD plate is used. This flexibility then enables the printer to react quickly to changing market requirements and trends whilst ensuring that business efficiency improvement is sustained.
Furthermore, the Asahi PTD plate solution can be used with high definition screening and microcell patterning technologies as well.
Performance creates value
In summary, printer operational efficiency is improved and the profit follows – performance creates value with Asahi flexographic Pinning Top Dot plates!
For more information on the Asahi Photoproducts line of digital flexographic printing plate solutions, please visit www.asahi-photoproducts.com.
* The machine cost per hour included the labour cost, machine depreciation, storage, machine space and overhead costs including electricity, water and gas.