Contact in flexo plate first

Max Goldbart
Friday, November 17, 2017

Packaging repro and graphics management firm Contact Originators has completed a project and launched what it says is the world’s first 2.8m-wide flexo plate with 0.2mm register, utilising its MagnaForma mounting software.

The mounted multi-piece photopolymer flexographic plate, which Contact says enables corrugated printers to utilise the full width of their presses, was designed and manufactured by the Bredbury, Stockport-based firm and is said to be dimensionally accurate to 100μm across a 2.8m width.

Intended for high-volume runs of up to 20,000 in the likes of the beverage packaging market, chief executive Steve Mulcahy said that initial beta testing at an unnamed leading UK corrugated converter from May had thrown up a 48% yield improvement, and the product has now been rolled out commercially, although performance analysis is ongoing.

MagnaForma retains a 0.2mm register across the print and butt join even when used on solid colours, which general manager Nick Mitchell said is 1mm more than a normal 2.8m-wide plate. He also said that recent trials had revealed a 45-minute saving per print run for a converter, “unlocking additional capacity and volume with every pass”.

“The customer gets a conformity report to know there is confidence in the plate and to know it all fits,” said Mitchell.

“It allows us to produce up to 2.8m-wide and hold tolerance of 0.2mm across five or six colours, no one has ever done that before because they’ve never had the capability of doing that.” 

Contact has now supplied the plate to around five UK companies, with a European rollout slated for next year after certain logistical challenges have been met. 

“It’s not for every printer but if they have a job running on large machines every week then it will be a product used for the big runners,” added Mitchell. 

“The drinks market is a main market where we see it being a real advantage, saving time on press. 45 minutes saved is massive.” 

Last year, Contact, who works with the likes of Flint Group, MacDermid Graphics Solutions and DuPont, passed Flint Group’s FlexoExpert certification programme


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