Gateway Packaging Company improves Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) with Asahi Photoproducts AWP™ Water-Washable Plates by 53%

Unique Clean Transfer technology of Asahi AWP™ plates improves quality, productivity

Tennessee-based Gateway Packaging Company has chosen to partner with CTGA and Asahi Photoproducts after an exhaustive search for an improved platemaking process.

Gateway operates three manufacturing locations serving the United States and Canada and produces packaging for consumer packaged goods manufacturers and industrial packaging for the food, agricultural, chemical and charcoal industries.

As a leading high-end printer/packaging converter and the largest pet food packaging provider in North America, Gateway Packaging is continually seeking ways to improve products and solve problems for its customers. By switching to Asahi AWP™ flexographic plates with Clean Transfer, the company has taken another step long its path of continuous improvement. Gateway also installed an Asahi AWP 1116 PD Processor as part of the revamping of its platemaking process.

“With the variety of flexographic plates and platemaking solutions available in the market, we wanted to do a thorough evaluation to ensure our investment decision was the best possible choice,” said Tharrin Akers, Prepress Manager. “With that in mind, we benchmarked solutions from the leading players, ultimately bringing our selection to the top two, including Asahi Photoproducts. As a final test, we ran a number of production jobs using plates generated by CTGA to compare efficiency with our current process, and we were very pleased with the results achieved using the Asahi solutions.”

The production test was run on an F&K 20six flexographic press using 40-pound coated white paper and solvent inks, with a run length of 675,000 feet (205,200 meters). The press ran at 1,400 feet per minute (427 m/min.). The run using competitive plates experienced a total 

production time of 483 minutes or 11 hours with a total plate cleaning time of 177 minutes and a requirement to clean plates every 2.5 rolls of media at 32 minutes per time.

“When running the Asahi plates,” Akers explained, “we were able to run the press at a 17% higher speed – 1,640 feet per minute (500 m/min.) – and only had to stop for plate cleaning once. And that only required cleaning two plates, consuming 20 minutes. The result was a total production time of 432 minutes or 7.2 hours and an astonishing 53% improvement in Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE).”

As a result of these tests, Gateway decided to make a significant investment in a new platemaking department, implementing Asahi Photoproducts AWP™ water-washable plates and adding a Kongsberg cutting table, a Glunz & Jensen Concept 401 ECLF Exposure Unit, and the Asahi Photoproducts AWP™ 1116 PD Processor. Gateway estimated a payback period of 10 months for this significant investment based on the productivity and quality gains it would deliver.


The result was a total production time of 432 minutes or 7.2 hours and an astonishing 53% improvement in Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE).

Asahi AWP™ plates feature Clean Transfer Technology, which allows a kiss-touch printing pressure setting. It makes use of low plate surface tension, made possible by a specially engineered Asahi polymer chemistry, to inhibit liquid flow. The ink forms a globule, with a large contact angle and high pinning point. This results in a cleaner and more homogeneous ink transfer from plate to substrate, helping flexographic printers meet the ever-increasing quality demands of their customers. It also ensures precise register and fewer press stops for cleaning or plate changes, increasing Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

Pictured:  Tharrin Akers, Prepress Manager Gatweay (left), David Bell, Technical Sales Representative CTGA (right)

Visit With Asahi At Labelexpo Europe 2017

Visit with Asahi Photoproducts at Labelexpo Europe 2017 and learn about all the exciting advancements in flexo plate material and equipment they’ve made this year.  Asahi will be in Brussels at the Expo on September 25-28 at Stand: 5A34.

“We are looking forward to exhibiting at Labelexpo in Brussels in September, and we hope you will join us there. This is a special venue for us, since Asahi Photoproducts Europe began operations in Brussels, our home city, in 1974. During Labelexpo, we are planning some very exciting events for you and our distributors to add even more value to your Labelexpo attendance.”

– Akihiro KATO, Managing Directory, Asahi Photoproducts

Read Asahi’s article on Tips For Preparing For Labelexpo 2017.  Here’s a snippet below:

Before You Go

Take the time to assess your operation and identify any gaps you find in operational efficiency, quality or the ability to produce jobs profitably. Document these gaps with as much quantification as possible. This will be the baseline against which you can measure the potential or actual improvements investments can deliver.

Make a list of the suppliers present at Labelexpo Europe who are likely to have solutions that can close these gaps. Map out a logical pathway through the show to ensure you are able to visit all of them.

At the same time, be sure to allow yourself time to explore new areas of opportunity you might not have considered. And don’t forget that this is a terrific opportunity to network with your peers to gain insight into how they have addressed moving their businesses forward.

Areas of Opportunity

There are several areas of opportunity that apply to most firms, even if they have taken significant steps to improve operations. It seems that there are always opportunities to do even more. Consider these:

  • Improve Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE). Downtime is deadly. Take a page out of the Colognia Press book – the company went from about 20% uptime to more than 50% uptime by simply changing out its plates and platemaking system. “With the flexo plates we were using, we had excessive stop times to clean or replace plates,” says Bohdan Holona, Manager of Desktop Publishing. “For long-run jobs, this meant half of the time to produce the job was downtime. Now we can run a full 10 kilometer job without stopping. We even ran a 22-hour job with one set of plates, no stops, and very consistent quality from beginning to end. It’s been amazing!”
  • Consider implementing fixed color palette printing. By shifting to a process printing approach using up to seven ink colors, you can minimize the need for acquiring, managing and storing a large inventory of spot color inks. Using a fixed palette of inks means even more improvement in OEE, as makeready and job changeover times are significantly reduced, since there is no need to wash up the press between jobs. Plus, using a fixed ink palette also makes it easier to run combo jobs. Of course, process printing with up to seven colors requires plates that deliver precise registration and clean ink transfer to assure excellent quality in the highlights and midtones while still delivering required ink laydown for solid areas.
  • Find a partner willing to invest in you. Unfortunately, there are too many suppliers in the marketplace that consider a sale to be “one and done.” To truly transform your business, you need to find suppliers that have demonstrated they truly partner with their customers. This is where talking to your peers can be helpful. If you are interested in a particular supplier, ask for references, and then follow up with them. You’ll quickly find out whether customer experiences live up to expectations.

Visit With CTGA At InfoFlexo 2017. BOOTH 524

We’re excited to see you all in Phoenix in a couple weeks for InfoFlex 2017.  Make sure to stop by the CTGA booth and speak with one of our representatives about all the exciting new products, technologies and news in our lineup.

Speak with one of our technical sales reps about our exclusive line of Asahi Flexo Plates and their Pinning For Clean Transfer technology which has been winning awards for excellence worldwide in 2017.


Asahi Customers Sweep Flexographic Technical Association of South Africa Awards

Judges praised tight register, successful combination of solids and screens on the same plate and more

Tokyo, Japan & Brussels, Belgium, February 23, 2017 – Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, is pleased to announce that its customers claimed a total of 24 awards, including eight Gold awards, in the 2016 Flexographic Technical Association of South Africa awards competition.

The FTASA Print Excellence Awards have been held in South Africa since 1997; first under the auspices of the Institute of Packaging and later independently. This competition focuses on printing quality and not innovation, design or origination, although the printer’s skill in implementing these is taken into consideration. Judges in this competition apply very high standards in the judging process.

“We were extremely pleased with the performance of our customers in this prestigious awards competition and extend our congratulations to them,” said Dieter Niederstadt, Technical Marketing Manager for Asahi Photoproducts. “A common comment from the judges across many of the Asahi customers who were recognized with awards identified the tight register achieved with Asahi plates, as well as good solid ink laydown and very fine highlight dots, as key criteria in their analysis. In several cases, they also mentioned the ability to achieve fine dots and combined solids and halftones on the same plate. This feedback validates the efforts Asahi has made to bring best-in-class high-performance flexo plates to the market.”

Of particular note is the excellent performance of Golden Era Printers, who captured a total of 12 awards for New Era Labels, New Era Packaging and its Flexo Division, including four Gold awards. All Golden Era plates were made in-house, and the company used a variety of Asahi plates, demonstrating the value of the breadth of the Asahi product line in producing a wide range of quality applications.  These included Asahi TOPTM, DSHTM and DSETM flexographic plates.

Other Asahi customer award winners included:

  • Taurus Packaging with four awards. Plates used included Asahi TOP and DSF, and plates were produced by Polyflex.
  • Constantia Afripack DLC for its Tiger Brands Symphony Hazelnut White Chocolate flexible packaging, achieving a Silver award using Asahi TOPTM plates produced by Polyflex.
  • DCB Plastics for its Gold Award for Bob Martin Complete Condition Meaty Chunks Lamb Flavor (Dog Food, 1.75 kg) flexible packaging using Asahi TOPTM plates produced by Polyflex. In granting the award, the judges declared, “This job leaves very little room for error.” The company also received a silver award for the 8 kg version of Bob Martin Complete Condition Lamb Flavor dog food.
  • ITB Manufacturing received three awards, two Gold and one Silver. The company used Asahi TOP plates produced by Polyflex.
  • Flexible Packaging Converters used Asahi TOPTM plates produced by Polyflex to achieve a Bronze award.
  • Amcor Flexibles was awarded a Gold for its Spar Instant Full Cream Milk Powder flexible packaging produce with Asahi TOPTM plates from Polygraphics.

“This outstanding performance by these companies demonstrates that flexographic printing is here to stay and continues to evolve. We are proud of their hard work and happy to be able to contribute to their success,” says Sachin Sukhlal, Technical Sales Manager at Decoflex in South Africa, one of Asahi’s most successful distributors. “As packaging design becomes more complex and increasingly graphical, the ability to deliver perfect register and clean white highlights with good ink density and laydown in the solid areas is critical. Also, Asahi plates are unique in their ability to produce fine dots and combined solids and halftones using a single plate. All of this adds up to higher flexographic quality and improved OEE for faster cycle times and profitability.”

Asahi’s solvent-washable AFPTM-TOP flexo plates embody a unique design that ensures the highest possible quality print with the least amount of press downtime. Its Pinning Technology for Clean Transfer ensures exceptional print performance and enhanced press profitability. Asahi’s AFPTM-TOP flexo plates were used in 18 of the 24 award-winning applications.

Asahi AWP – NO VOC’s! Boost Your Productivity, Efficiency & Sustainability


Improve your sustainability, productivity and efficiency with Asahi AWP

While flexography has always been a more efficient and cost-effective printing process, the challenge has been to close the quality gap between offset and gravure printing. Lately, another factor has come into play—the environmental impact of the product itself. A low product carbon footprint not only helps your company’s image—it also reduces energy consumption and its associated operating costs.

The challenge has been to create a more environmentally friendly plate making system without losing the benefits and advantages of quality or efficiency. Meeting that challenge, and surpassing all expectations is Asahi’s AWP Flexo Plates Material and Platemaking Equipment.

Let the Asahi AWP system make 2017 your company’s best year yet!

AWP 2530 Compact

The all new AWP™ 2530 Compact flexo plate processor is Asahi’s smallest AWP™ machine solution for manual operation.

AWP 2530 Auto

The new ALL-IN-ONE AWP™ 2530 Auto is designed for the challenging demand of the highest quality customer.

AWP 4835 P

The new Asahi AWP™ 4835 P plate processor is designed for the challenging demand of the middle size customer.

AWP-DEF Flexo Plate

Water washable plate with Asahi’s Pinning for Clean Transfer technology.

Traditionally, water washable plate quality has been considered second-best when compared to solvent plates. The Asahi AWP plate does more than match traditional solvent photopolymer plates—it outperforms the best digital plates currently available for flexo. For the first time a digital photopolymer plate can hold extremely small stable dots— smaller than those of solvent processed plates—and its stability on press is superior to solvent plates.

Contact CTGA Today & Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet

If you’re interested in learning more about the Asahi AWP Platemaking System, AWP Flexo Plates, AWP Equipment or any Asahi Flexo products distributed exclusively in the U.S. by CTGA, contact Correct-Touch Graphic Arts today and speak with one of our technical sales representatives.

Asahi and CTGA Help Label Impressions Produce Award Winning Label

Article from

Orange County, CA-based Label Impressions took home the top prize in the Flexography – Line & Screen, Tone/Prime category at the recent 2016 TLMI Annual Label Awards competition. The company had recently completed several upgrades to improve its quality, sustainability and profitability in line with emerging industry trends.

“This recognition validates our investment decisions,” says Jeff Salisbury, CEO. “We have moved to a new 30,000-square-foot facility with electrical and landscaping upgrades that improved our efficiency and sustainability. We have been using Asahi TOP Premium flexo solvent-wash plates with Pinning Technology for Clean Transfer, which was a significant contributor to our ability to achieve this prestigious award. Our thanks go to Correct-Touch Graphic Arts (CTGA) and Asahi Photoproducts for their partnership and support.” Salisbury reports that Asahi and CTGA have been important partners as the company reconfigures its business. Both, quality and throughput were improved by the Asahi TOP Premium plates, making this award possible.

After a recent installation of a new Asahi AWP 230W Water Wash Plate Making System, the company also expects to reduce VOC’s by 85%, setting a new milestone for Label Impressions in terms of quality and environmental sustainability. “In addition,” he adds, “gray water from the water wash system will be used to drip irrigate our landscaping, important in California where water is precious and conservation is a must.”

The winning label printed with TOP featured high-resolution graphics as well as small type that needed to be extremely legible to comply with regulations and ensure brand integrity. “Our congratulations go out to Label Impressions and our distributor, CTGA, for this honor,” says Dieter Niederstadt, Technical Marketing Manager at Asahi Photoproducts. “We are pleased to be able to support our customers, helping them to stay ahead of the game and maintain a competitive advantage while also being considerate of the environment. Label Impressions is a great example of this partnership at work.”


HUGE Summer Sale on Esko


It’s been a hot summer, and it’s about to get even hotter with this once in a lifetime offer from CTGA on some of Esko’s most popular products!  Don’t miss your chance to take 20% off your purchase of Esko software licenses, 2530 & 4835 CDI’s or Kongsberg DFS Cutting Tables.

This is a chance for some HUGE SAVINGS on products from Esko that can bring your level of success to the next level!  Contact CTGA today and find out more about this incredible deal, but hurry, the sale ends on September 30th.

To take advantage of this deal on Esko products, contact your CTGA sales rep for more information immediately.  Again, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but it won’t last forever so act quickly!

Fixed Color Palette Printing From Asahi – The Next Big Thing For Flexo

Original article from CTGA found here

Asahi is helping to lead the way with the next big step toward quality and efficiency for flexography –  the fixed color palette printing technique. This approach typically uses CMYK, or CMYK + Orange, Green and Violet or Blue. The latter, also referred to asExtended Colour Gamut (ECG) printing, can match a wide array of spot colors (virtually eliminating the use for them, and deliver better quality than CMYK alone.

Flexography has made huge strides in recent years, achieving quality that rivals offset and gravure. And now the technology is poised to move to the next level, making it even more competitive with alternative printing technologies.  And Asahi is at the forefront of this movement.

As the exclusive U.S. distributor of Asahi flexo plates, the team here at Correct-Touch Graphic Arts is proud to be a part of the next big thing for flexo!


Experts estimate that fixed palette printing using the seven colors (CMYK + Orange, Green and Violet or Blue) can match as many as 80% or more of the 1,729 named Pantone spot colors.  Which makes it incredibly efficient during the production process.

ECG printing provides the ability to combine jobs from multiple customers on the same run.  It also means less press washing and setup time since the same inks are being used from job to job.  Less down time, less waste and faster print runs means a more efficient use of your time and money every time!

Read the complete article here

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