The company uses KODAK FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plates to meet printer demands for short lead times and quality and productivity optimization.
Open-mindedness for technical innovations is a key factor in the DNA of the U. Günther GmbH. The packaging prepress service provider with a total of 125 employees, headquarters in Hamburg and printing forme production centre in Greven (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania) has been using the latest technologies since its foundation in 1968 to stay at the top with its range of services. With this in mind, the company recently expanded its packaging flexo printing plate portfolio as a beta test user of the new KODAK FLEXCEL NX Ultra solution developed, manufactured and supplied by Miraclon.
Printing Plate Manufacturing: Sustainability and Maximized Productivity
The KODAK FLEXCEL NX Ultra Solution offers the specific technology benefits of Miraclon's proven FLEXCEL solutions, but with solvent- and VOC-free, water-based processing of FLEXCEL NX Ultra sheets in the FLEXCEL NX Ultra 35 processing system. In addition, the speed of the FLEXCEL NX Ultra solution is also impressive, as a ready-to-print plate can be produced in less than an hour. This means a significant increase in plate throughput for the printing plate service provider.
FLEXCEL NX Ultra plates combine efficiency and sustainability in printing plate production with top quality in printing and optimum behaviour in the printing press. With these attributes, the Miraclon solution not only offers noticeable improvements to the cliché manufacturer, but also to the packaging printers, as the example of U. Günther's cooperation with Siegfried Pohl Verpackungen GmbH, Troisdorf near Cologne, shows.
Faster service for printers due to shorter process time
The company Pohl, a family business founded in 1966, produces film packaging for customers from trade and industry throughout Europe and produces in flexo printing on a Fischer & Krecke eight-colour press as well as a new Uteco six-colour press. Due to the order structure there are relatively short planning periods at Pohl with often only two days lead time. The management therefore expressed the wish for greater flexibility and shorter delivery times for the flexographic plates. U. Günther has been supplying the packaging manufacturer with flexographic printing plates for around five years. "We were able to meet this requirement with the new FLEXCEL NX Ultra plates due to their fast production," explains Patrick Bülow, the responsible account manager at U. Günther. "The shorter process time brings us closer to the printers and enables them to better meet customer requirements".
Application benefits for printers right from the start
FLEXCEL NX Ultra sheets have convinced users at Siegfried Pohl Verpackungen GmbH in several respects. This starts with the preparation for printing. Jürgen Braun, who works in plate mounting, is pleased that the NX Ultra plates are odourless, i.e. do not smell of solvents due to their water-based processing. "That makes for a more pleasant working environment," he says. "In addition, the clichés are smoother and therefore offer very good properties for mounting on the sleeves.
For printing with FLEXCEL NX Ultra plates on the eight-color press, an existing ink profile created for FLEXCEL NXH plates could be used, so that no additional preparatory work was required. Likewise, no adjustments had to be made to the ink system or anilox rollers used.
Excellent printing properties and significant productivity boost
In printing, the FLEXCEL NX Ultra plates' properties such as a smooth print run and consistent printing behaviour with optimum edge sharpness, even at high print widths, are what make the printers so enthusiastic. In addition, it was possible to increase the printing speed.
Erol Yerlikaya, Print Shop Manager at Pohl, also emphasizes the excellent ink transfer of the plates throughout the entire run. As a production example, he cites a vegetable package with a visually invisible Digimarc barcode integrated into the print image. OPP film was printed with an eight-color motif in 60 screen with solvent inks and a consistent total print run was achieved with a run length of 75,000 meters.
Another advantage of the new flexographic plates is that they can be used for larger jobs in particular: cleaning intervals are significantly extended and cleaning of the printing plates is faster. "If we have to clean plates washed out with solvents every 6,000 to 12,000 meters, the FLEXCEL NX Ultra plates had to be cleaned at least 24,000 meters before we had to stop cleaning for the first time," reports Erol Yerlikaya. "Another positive aspect is that we get the NX Ultra plates clean within two minutes, because the built up ink dissolves more easily. On the other hand, we have to assume a cleaning time of five to six minutes per sleeve for the solvent plates. All in all, this means that using FLEXCEL NX Ultra plates increases the press's utilization rate and thus our productivity."
Wolfgang Pohl, Managing Director of Siegfried Pohl Verpackungen GmbH, sums up his company's experience with the new flexo plates as follows: "The short-term delivery of the plates improves our daily planning process. In addition, the stability of the print reproduction and the fine print resolution are absolutely convincing. Above all, the FLEXCEL NX Ultra plates make it possible to increase the printing speed, which is very welcome".
The Troisdorf-based company has been printing with FLEXCEL NX Ultra plates since June 2019, and it is already becoming apparent that this step marks the beginning of another success story for the Pohl company and its prepress partner U. Günther marks. Due to the excellent experience on the eight-colour press, the packaging manufacturer is now also planning to print with FLEXCEL NX Ultra plates on its new Uteco Flexorotation.