Contact first to install Esko digital plate screening tech

By Rhys Handley, Friday 22 December 2017

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Contact Originators has become the first corrugated company in the UK to invest in Esko XPS Crystal technology for flexo plate imaging.

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Mitchell (R): "We are very proud to be the first"

Installed over the summer at the firm’s Stockport premises, the Crystal digital screening unit is a digitally controlled UV LED exposure device that provides near simultaneous main and back exposure in a single operation.

Plates are placed onto the glass surface, where back and main exposures by LED UV light technology allow control with no further operator intervention. The consistent light source is designed to deliver image consistency and perfectly formed dots.

Contact general manager Nick Mitchell said: “We are proud to be the first in corrugated.

“We needed a new exposure unit and instead of going for the standard UVA bank light option felt the XPS Crystal LED unit would take the quality and consistency of our flexo plates to another level and futureproof us for process automation in platemaking.

“The Crystal technology will be used on all work types but we feel the biggest benefit will be for our high-quality post-print customers, pre-print customers and flexibles customers where the Crystal’s ability to hold finer details on plate consistently will improve print results.”

As part of a complete automated platemaking system linking to a CDI imaging unit, the Crystal is designed by Esko to produce “a superior flexo plate for the corrugated market, capable of imaging at the highest quality levels”.

Contact has a history of firsts and innovations, including the launch of MagnaForma – the world’s first 2.8m-wide plate for corrugated printers with 0.2mm register.

Mitchell said: “With more and more corrugated convertors pushing into pre-print and litho, the tolerances in corrugated have got finer and finer but the machines have also got bigger and bigger to produce quality and volume.

“Our software and equipment allows these printers to guarantee fit at fine tolerances over the largest width presses, enabling them to produce quality and large volume.”

The firm currently has a patent pending on another internal development and regularly beta tests plate technologies, software and equipment.

Its tech portfolio takes in two large-format CDI imagers, three exposure frames, two large-format processors, and two large-format AV mounters.

With 54 staff, Contact turns over £5m from its 1,500sqm headquarters in Stockport.

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