Mission Labels invests £100k in UK's first ThermoFlexx CTP

Simon Nias
Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mission Labels has made the leap from film to CTP with a £100,000 investment in the UK's first ThermoFlexx flexo imager from Belgian manufacturer Xeikon.

The West Sussex-based printer has installed a ThermoFlexx 30, AV Flexologic exposure equipment and associated front-end software, as well as investing in a new art and design studio.

Technical director Dave Humphrey said: "We had reached the stage where we needed to make the leap from film setting to the latest digital platemaking technology. ThermoFlexx delivered the imager during December along with a RIP and the necessary software and by Christmas we were in full production.

"The results have been outstanding. Not only has the quality of the image on the plate taken a huge jump forward, we are able to turn work around much more quickly, while makeready and start-up waste on the presses has also been reduced significantly."

The ThermoFlexx 30 can handle plates up to 635x762mm and can expose any plate with a LAM (Laser Ablation Mask) layer, including flexo, letterpress and dry offset, ablative film and digital screen (Gallus Screeny).

The platesetter has a standard resolution of 2,540dpi although Mission Labels specified its device with the optional second output resolution of 5,080dpi, which allows screen rulings of 250lpi for fine detailed work including demanding vignettes.

Mission Labels financial director Fiona Warwick said: "We'd held off [from investing in CTP] because we were getting good quality plates off the platemaker we had previously, but as film has got more expensive it didn't make sense to keep holding back.

"We've also got some clients that have a requirement for higher quality work – things like really in-depth flowers on a toiletry label that went down to nothing in places. We could only go down to 3% with our old platemaker so the breakaway on vignettes could be quite harsh. With the CTP you can't see the break."

Warwick added that the company would look at investing in a third flexo press in the next 12 months, to complement its two existing Nilpeter FB-3300 eight-unit presses, which are five and six years old.

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