French book printer achieves improved quality and improved sustainability with Asahi water-wash flexographic plates
Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, today reported that French book printer Imprimerie Floch is using its certified Carbon Neutral AWPTM CleanPrint Water-Washable flexographic plates to not only improve its sustainability position but to also improve the quality of its printing for its customers.
Founded in 1929, Floch initially began using Asahi Photoproducts flexographic plates in the 1980s. As the company worked to keep up with the latest printing technologies, Floch upgraded an Asahi AWF 110 plate processing unit in 1997 to enable the production of very thin 0.85 mm plates by APR resin washed with water. “At the time,” said Hubert PEDURAND, Floch’s president, “there were no special book plate manufacturing units available. Although the APR resin solution is intended for the manufacture of corrugated plates ranging from 1.7 to 8 mm in thickness, working with Asahi, we were able to adapt the equipment to our needs, and that served us well for several decades.”
In 2022, Floch representatives visited an Asahi customer to see even newer technology – a CDI plate imager, solid plates and an automated cutting table. “After seeing this solution in action,” Mr PEDURAND added, “we were ordering Asahi AFPTM-TOP plates from a reference trade shop to print pages with solids or screens, and we were so happy with the results that we ultimately brought platemaking in house. In 2023, we purchased an ESKO CDI plate imager and an Asahi 4260 PLF plate processing unit, as well as began using Asahi AWPTM-DEW CleanPrint water washable plates. With this solution, we are able to produce nearly 9,000 square meters of plates per year in house, giving us more control over the process and delivering exceptional results.
“The Asahi team was terrific to work with, installing the system in less than two weeks. By the end of the second week, we had produced 93 plates and printed three books with the AWPTM-DEW plates, which are certified Carbon Neutral. We – and our customers – have been absolutely delighted with the production improvements we have been able to achieve, including higher quality, faster plate production, less makeready waste, fewer press stops due to plate cleaning, and, of course, a much more sustainable printing process. It was truly an important step for our business and has positioned us as one of the most sustainable book printers in France.”
In addition, Floch is among the first in the world to install the cutting-edge Asahi AWP-LOOPTM Wastewater Recycling System as part of its AWPTM CleanPrint flexographic plate processing solution. This enables the company to reduce its wastewater output by up to 70% and W350 washout detergent use by 50%, further decreasing Floch’s environmental footprint. In traditional water-wash plate processing, one square meter of flexo plates requires use of an average of approximately 10 liters of water. The AWP-LOOPTM system reduces the wastewater to approximately 3 liters and maintains 70% of the water inside the closed-loop system. Asahi will soon be announcing the ability to use dishwashing detergent instead of industrial detergents in the platemaking process, increasing sustainability for its water-wash plates even more. The ultimate goal is to use pure tap water in the washing process without any detergent, a goal Asahi engineers are working toward achieving by 2024.