Asahi and Esko Unveil Breakthrough Automated Flexo Platemaking Solution

CrystalCleanConnect - The Future of Flexo Plate Making

Tokyo, Japan & Brussels, Belgium, April 21, 2021 – Asahi Photoproducts and Esko have showcased their breakthrough, fully automated flexo platemaking line CrystalCleanConnect at this year’s virtual.drupa event.

Click the button below to view a pdf slideshow of the the launch of the CrystalCleanConnect at DRUPA:

Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, has collaborated with Esko, the global developer of integrated software and hardware solutions for the packaging and labels markets, on the innovative flexo platemaking solution. CrystalCleanConnect fully automates the entire flexo plate production, from imaging to plate cutting, reducing the number of steps in the flexo platemaking process from 12 to just one which equates to a reduction from 36 min operator plate making time to only 2.5 min.

“With CrystalCleanConnect we have brought together key hardware and software technologies from both organizations to deliver a number of breakthrough advantages from design to print,” said Pascal Thomas, Director of Flexo Business with Esko. “CrystalCleanConnect delivers a cleaner, more environmentally balanced operation that simplifies the flexo platemaking process, improves safety and boosts print quality consistency.”

According to Pascal, CrystalCleanConnect offers operational as well as environmental benefits to businesses. “With the removal of so many process steps, there’s an immediate 90% reduction in required operator time, which not only eliminates the potential for human error but also delivers immediate efficiency gains. Quality is assured through Asahi and Esko technologies working in complete harmony, and the combination of improved efficiency and quality delivers an average increase of 25% in press OEE.”

A holistic approach to connecting technologies

Dieter Niederstadt, Technical Marketing Manager for Asahi Photoproducts stated: “Flexo needs to simplify its processes while improving quality, consistency and profitability. In doing so, flexo can create new business opportunities and positively transform into a printing technology in balance with the environment”. “This breakthrough innovation is different in many ways to other solutions on the market,” Dieter said. “It is not just an assembly of available plate making processes delivered inline, but rather a holistic approach to connecting technologies, up and downstream of the prepress value chain, using an intelligent automation hub as the backbone and heart of the solution. CCC is truly pushing boundaries to the current scope of plate automation delivering a mount-ready plate as well as being the first automated production solution without the need of VOC based washout solvents in the plate making process.”

Pascal Thomas added: “At Esko, we have long been dedicated to improving the platemaking experience, in terms of quality, productivity and connectivity. Together with Asahi Photoproducts, we are taking the flexo platemaking process to a brand-new level, enabling our customers to be even more competitive while also ensuring they can meet today’s demands for flexible and sustainable supply. With CrystalCleanConnect, our ultimate objective is to improve our customers’ overall business performance and profitability.”

Visit www.asahi-photoproducts.com/en/CCC and www.esko.com for more information.

CrystalCleanConnect: The Big Reveal, Coming April 20, 2021!

Esko and Asahi to launch CrystalCleanConnect

The latest advance in the evolution of flexo platemaking.

Register online to experience Asahi’s next-generation, fully automated flexo platemaking line developed in collaboration with Esko.

CrystalCleanConnect offers a number of breakthrough advantages from design to print:

  • Reduces the platemaking process from 12 steps to 1
  • Delivers a 90% reduction in dedicated operator time
  • Secures excellence in print quality utilizing Asahi & Esko proprietary technologies
  • Achieves an average 25% increase in press OEE
  • Reduces ink usage by 20%
  • All delivered with a best-in-class environmental footprint!

We look forward to seeing you there!

About The Speakers

Dieter Niederstadt
Technical Marketing Manager @ Asahi Photoproducts

Dieter Niederstadt has 35 years experience in the printing industry. He started working in 2003 for Asahi Photoproducts where he’s picking up the role of Technical Marketing Manager since 2013. He’s member of the FTA and DFTA & past forum speaker and participant to various association working groups


Pascal Thomas
Director Flexo Business @ Esko

Pascal Thomas joined Esko (Barco Graphics) in 1996 and has held positions in customer service, product management and business development. He is currently Director of Esko’s Flexo Business, in which he leverages his technical and business knowledge to help determine the strategic direction for Esko’s flexo solutions to best meet the needs of flexo printers and plate-makers.

Asahi Photoproducts and Esko Join Forces

Asahi Photoproducts and Esko Join Forces to Educate Chinese Market on Flexo Platemaking in Harmony with the Environment

Tokyo, Japan & Brussels, Belgium, November 20, 2020. Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, today reported it extended its relationship with Esko through an agreement to install Esko plate imaging solutions in the Asahi Tech Center in Suzhou, near Shanghai. The agreement, which was entered into during All-in-Print China, will result in the installation of an Esko CDI Spark 4260 and an XPS Crystal 5080 in the Center.

These industry-leading plate imaging solutions are supported by an Asahi AWP 230W plate processor using Asahi AWPTM CleanPrint water-washable plates to complete the industry’s most balanced flexographic platemaking solution in harmony with the environment, delivering the highest possible quality for China’s demanding flexo customers.

“Asahi Photoproducts has worked together with Esko in China for a decade and this agreement takes the relationship to a new level in our ability to serve the rapidly evolving flexographic market in China,” said Yuji Suzuki, Asahi’s Senior Manager of Customer Technical Service.

Suzuki points out that high-end print quality is increasingly required in China, and many repro houses in the region still have difficulty making plates that deliver the best print quality. “One thing we will be doing in our Tech Center with the new equipment,” he says, “is creating test plates for potential customers so they can see for themselves that we can deliver the quality they need. We will also use the facility to do training and seminars for customers and potential customers.”

Esko will also have access to the Tech Center, offering the possibility to Asahi’s customers to learn more about how the Esko plate imaging system functions with Asahi’s AWPTM CleanPrint water-washable plates. “We are pleased to continue to grow our partnership with Asahi, especially in the highly competitive Chinese market,” said Rocky Zhou, General Manager for Esko in Shanghai. “The solutions being installed at the Asahi Tech Center will benefit both of our businesses as we work to continue to bring the latest state-of-the-art flexographic solutions to this region”.

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