Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, today announced that British Daventry-based Creation Reprographics has been using the premium quality Asahi AWP™ flexographic plate system for the past three years with excellent results.
Designed for high quality print performance, the AWP water wash plate outperforms the best digital plates currently available for flexo. For the first time, a digital photopolymer plate can hold extremely small stable dots – smaller than those of solvent processed plates – and its stability on press is superior to solvent plates, with numerous associated environmental and waste reduction benefits.
Matt Francklow, owner of Creation Reprographics, said: "Sustainability is truly coming to the fore in print. With this high quality water wash plate, it’s the final check for retailers. At Creation Reprographics, we have positioned ourselves in the premium segment of the market, competing head on with gravure in Europe and serving those customers that demand the best in the UK.
"Our AWP results are simply unrivalled – consistency, slightly raised ink density and better lay down, good minimum dot, and speed to press are all achieved – making the printer’s job easy. The system works across all substrates, and we see a real demand for this level of performance in premium flexible packaging applications – a growth area in the industry. Converters looking to move away from gravure and offset are truly surprised by what AWP can achieve."
Extensive plate trials and live commercial production jobs have proven AWP’s ability to print down to a 10 micron dot, using classic round dot screening. With the latest screening technologies, the plate is able to reproduce a vignette fade to zero. Due to this quality leap, customers are able to successfully transfer production from offset or gravure to flexographic printing.
Francklow continued: "At Creation Reprographics, we pride ourselves on our approach to environmental sustainability, and AWP fits with that ethos perfectly. We’re investing in energy management solutions across our sites and even looking at whether we can collect, filter and recycle our rainwater to do the washing of these plates. Even pens get recycled here!"
Alan Coker, creation business development manager, commented: "Reducing waste in the plate making game is critical to your profitability. Throwing polymer in the bin is just not acceptable. Asahi’s supports our AWP plate technology investment with preventative maintenance and machine audit visits. And they are on hand 24 hours a day, delivering technical solutions quickly and accurately whenever needed, maximising our production efficiency.
"Our customers are delighted as well. Since the plates do not suffer from distortion due to solvent swelling or increased temperature, we are achieving better registration and consistency on press. With the start-up time absolutely minimised, we’re making plates in less than 1.5 hours. Combine that with suitability for 4-colour process set applications, and you have an extremely compelling value proposition."
The Asahi AWP technology has been designed from the outset as an environmental plate solution minimizing wherever possible waste of precious resources. The system is water washable and does not rely on harsh solvents. The water is also reused in the process, being filtered and recycled through the plate processing system. The system is also free from the harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions that are typically generated by solvent and thermal processes.
The entire plate manufacturing process does not generate any waste other than unexposed polymer residues, which are collected as ‘dry cake’ and safely repurposed as a combustive agent for incineration waste plants. AWP plates do not absorb much water, reducing the drying time of the plate by up to two to three times that of solvent cleaned plate systems. This results in cost and space reductions for the plate making room, as energy-demanding hot air dryers are not required.