Lscher and MacDermid launch Accent flexo plate

Simon Nias
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lscher has partnered with MacDermid to launch Accent, a new flexo coating plate for packaging and commercial print applications that can be imaged like a normal litho plate on Lscher's XPose! UV platesetter.

The two companies intend to make it possible for printers and packaging companies to produce high quality flexo coating plates in-house on the same UV CTP equipment they use to image their offset printing plates.

The Swiss pre-press manufacturer said that the plate would allow litho printers to add value to commercial print and packaging applications by applying a spot or knock-out varnish or special lacquer in line on their offset presses.

Lüscher added that printers needed the same responsiveness for coating plate production as they have from their onsite litho plate production but said that "the level of investment and the related infrastructure in flexography is out of reach for most printers".

The manufacturer also said that flexo plates may require solvents and solvent recycling facilities that are excluded up front in terms of investment by printers and claimed that plates imaged using a plotter "are more expensive as a consumable and require specialised cutting equipment, dedicated driving software and [manpower] to remove manually the cut out zones".

A spokesman said: "The coating plate developed by Lüscher and MacDermid enables the integration of coating plate manufacturing by offset printers. The printer uses its existing UV offset CTP to image the coating plate as a simple new application in addition to its current offset plates.

"The coating plate is registered during imaging with the same means and accuracy as for the offset plates and is washed out with industrial water with simple to operate dedicated equipment."

Lüscher said that the Accent plate was designed to be used with aqueous and UV coatings in both packaging and commercial print applications. It is supplied by MacDermid as an uncured calibrated elastomeric layer on an alunminium plate.

It is punched and imaged in register using Lüscher's XPose! CTP in the same manner as an offset printing plate. The areas where UV laser light penetrates the polymer layer become insoluble, while the remaining areas are washed away during development.

Lüscher said that it had developed additional proprietary software to enhance the imaging capabilities of fine 3D details with adequate shoulders and reverses. This software is included as a new module in its current CTP driver package.

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