CLEAN PRINT: THE HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE NAMING CONVENTION

Since Asahi first brought to market its innovative flexographic plate technology that enabled complete release of ink onto the substrate for a cleaner image and fewer press stops for plate cleaning, our thoughts about the value of the technology have evolved. Our customers remember that we initially called this technology Pinning Top Dot technology, since we were thinking about it from a technological perspective. Over time, we began to realize, based on customer experience, that the value went well beyond the ink transfer to the increased quality and productivity it enabled when looking at the entire process from the plate room to the press room. We also wanted a naming convention that was more descriptive; thus, the naming changed to Clean Transfer Technology.

Now, after several years of field experience with this technology, and as we migrate it to other plates within our portfolio to address a wider array of applications, we have come to understand that the value of the technology goes way beyond the quality and productivity benefits it enables. There are significant environmental benefits as well, especially with our water-washable family of

plates. Not only does it eliminate the need for volatile washout solvents in the platemaking process, speed up the process to consume less energy and deliver the same high quality and press productivity (OEE) our customers have come to expect, but the technology reduces makeready times and waste as well as the amount of time the press needs to run. All of these benefits add up to a much cleaner platemaking and flexographic printing process than can be achieved with any other plates on the market. CleanPrint embodies all of these things and aims to make flexographic printing “CLEANER”.

That means that using Asahi’s AWPTM family of water washable flexo plates delivers significant benefit, from both a quality and sustainability perspective. Water washable plates are now well-positioned to completely replace solvent-based platemaking workflows for most applications. This results in faster platemaking, improved OEE on press, higher quality and longer lasting plates, reduced or eliminated VOCs, and no need to manage or dispose of toxic chemicals.

CleanPrint plates from Asahi, then, not only produce cleaner printed images, but they do so in a much cleaner, more environmentally balanced way. Some of the benefits include:

  • Significantly reduced platemaking and on-press time results in a reduction in power consumption.
  • Plates last longer and don’t require press stops for cleaning, further improving press OEE.
  • Faster run up to color and more consistency throughout the run means less waste of expensive packaging substrates.
  • Full transfer of the ink from CleanPrint plates to the substrate creates significantly higher printing quality at less cost.
  • Elimination of VOC solvents in the plate processor also making the workplace safer in better balance with the environment.

Get the details www.asahi-photoproducts.com/en/resource/46

Asahi Photoproducts to Unveil CleanPrint™ at Labelexpo Europe 2019

The absolute best way to make flexographic printing a CLEANER technology (and more profitable!)

Tokyo/Brussels, 28 May 2019 – Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, today reported it will be again exhibiting at Labelexpo Europe, scheduled for 24 to 27 September in Brussels. Asahi will be located on Stand 5a34 at the show and will be displaying its full array of flexographic plates. Featured at the show will be Asahi’s CleanPrint™, a technology which has evolved over time to become the industry benchmark for CLEAN flexographic printing.

“Since Asahi first brought to market its innovative flexographic plate technology, which enabled complete release of ink onto the substrate for a cleaner image and fewer press stops for plate cleaning, our thoughts about the value of the technology have evolved,” said Dr. Dieter Niederstadt, Asahi’s Technical Marketing Manager. “Not only do we continue to improve our plate quality and performance, but we have also learned from our customers that the value of the technology goes way beyond the quality and productivity benefits it enables. Not only does it eliminate the need for volatile solvents in the platemaking process, speed up the process to consume less energy and deliver the same high quality and press productivity (OEE) our customers have come to expect, but the technology reduces makeready times and waste as well as the amount of time the press needs to run. All of these benefits add up to a much cleaner platemaking and flexographic printing process than can be achieved with any other plates on the market.”

Read full release and download documents

Asahi Photoproducts at EskoWorld 2019 with enhanced plate Portfolio

Attendees will learn how Asahi CleanPrint™ significantly improves Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) across the entire flexographic production process

Tokyo/Brussels, May 23, 2019 – Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, today announced it is again attending and sponsoring EskoWorld 2019, scheduled for 24 to 26 June in Nashville, Tennessee. During the event, Asahi representatives will be speaking with attendees about the OEE advantages of Asahi AWP™ water-washable plates, as well as their effect on improved environmental sustainability.

“We began using Asahi AWPTM-DEF plates in 2010,” said Gene Martin, Plant Manager at The Robinette Company’s Bristol TN plant. “At the time, it was taking us three hours for the platemaking process with solvent plates. With the Asahi AWPTM-DEF plates, the first time out in the platemaking process was one hour, with each additional plate in 20 minutes, increasing our platemaking capacity by 33%.” Since Robinette only uses Asahi plates, this is a substantial time saving in the plate room.

Read full release and download documents

CTGA: Celebrating 20 Years Of Being Your Source For Quality Flexo Plates

It Began With A Simple Goal

For 20 years now, CTGA has been a top source for Flexo Plate Material and flexographic printing products and equipment in North America.

We started this business with a simple goal, to supply our clients with the highest quality flexo plates, and help boost flexographic printing to the top of the printing industry.  To accomplish this goal we partnered with Asahi, a company we saw having the foresight to innovate flexo plates and bring improved quality, productivity and sustainability to flexo.  It was the best decision we could’ve ever made, as Asahi plates have taken Flexo by storm since then, and achieved a new level of success for our clients who use them.

From there we built out the rest of our product catalog with products and equipment from the top brands in the world, Esko, Glunz & Jensen, Tesa, Techkon,  Beta Industries, CGS Oris and our own Green Dragon line.  Together with our complete line of Asahi flexo plates and equipment, we believe we offer the best and most comprehensive product catalog in the business.  And, our clients’ success over the years backs that up.

Asahi Flexo Plates

The outstanding performance of Asahi Flexo Plates is the result of over 30 years of technological development in the field of photopolymer plates for flexo printing. In that time, Asahi has grown to become a leading manufacturer of digital and analog printing plates for the flexo market. They’ve achieved this by setting the highest standards in product development and manufacturing, while continually breaking new ground in advancing technologies to improve print quality, cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability.

AWP-DEF

Asahi AWP Water Wash Flexo Plate

AFP-TOP

AFP-DSF

Introducing Green Dragon Products By CTGA

We Carry The Top Brands In The World

ESKO

TESA

Techkon

GLUNZ & JENSEN

BETA INDUSTRIES

CGS ORIS

Printing Plates and Their Impact on Sustainability

Original article from flexography.org

As the technology for flexographic printing continues to evolve, both quality and efficiency are improving. In order to remain competitive, flexographic printers must stay informed about the latest developments.

Once a sort of “halfway point” between offset and gravure, flexo has come into its own in recent years, in many cases taking volume that might otherwise have gone to one of those print processes, or even digital printing. This is due to its improved quality and ability to profitably produce the shorter runs the market often demands.

Another big change is around environmental sustainability issues, of increasing importance to many brands. Historically, most of the sustainability concerns revolved around the plate making process:

  • Was the process using water, solvent or thermal imaging?
  • How much solvent and energy were required to make plates?
  • What types of toxic chemicals were used?
  • What were the costs associated with managing, storing and disposing of them?

Recent customer experience takes the discussion in another direction: With the right plates, many environmental issues are minimized—not in plate making, but in the printing process. At the same time, quality goals can easily be met and press uptime can be significantly improved. This is important for several reasons:

  • With a higher uptime standard, a flexo press will deliver more throughput. More jobs and more volume through the press equates to more revenue and profit
  • When the press is down because plates need to be changed or cleaned, not only is more time consumed, but also more waste is generated as the press once again comes up to color
  • Less print production time translates to less energy usage, improving the environmental footprint of the print job and helping keep costs in line
Left, a classic plate with a more hydrophilic surface; right, a Clean Transfer Technology plate with a more hydrophobic surface

Water-Washable Plate Benefits

The challenge for plate manufacturers has always been to create a more environmentally friendly plate without losing the benefits and advantages of quality and efficiency. Water-washable plates were developed to meet that challenge and to help printers and converters approach their operations from a much more holistic perspective. In addition to delivering excellent quality, these plates ensure a lower CO2 footprint in print production with a much higher press OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency). Average improvement in OEE with water-washable plates is 33 percent.

In flexographic printing, highlights can usually cause two potential problems. The first is the highlight breaking point, which prevents a vignette from printing smoothly to zero. Photopolymer flexo plates usually start printing highlights at 5 percent to 8 percent due to dot gain, in the best cases. This means that gradations in vignettes suddenly break at that level, producing a visual contrast with the substrate; a visible breaking point or line well recognized as a print fault in the industry.

This breaking point is virtually eliminated using water-wash technology due to its smaller dot size, low dot gain and high dot stability, especially when used in combination with the latest generation of screening technologies. Extensive plate trials and live production jobs have proven the plate’s ability to print down to 2 percent to 3 percent using classical round dot screening. With the latest screening technologies, the plate is able to reproduce a vignette fade to zero.

Noteworthy benefits listing out as improved press uptime and OEE, reduced waste, profitable production of short runs and faster time to market are making flexography more competitive against offset, gravure and digital print. Industry awards continue to bring the process validity and forge flexo’s recognition as packaging’s preferred print method.

Gateway Packaging: OEE Up 53%

With less downtime, faster run-up to color, minimum waste, lower energy costs and consistent quality throughout the run, water-wash technology is improving flexography’s sustainability footprint. The experience at ProAmpac’s Gateway Packaging illustrates these points.

Many now say plate making is the central focus of the bigger picture view of flexography’s environmental sustainability initiatives. Here is one story to illustrate the point.

Based in White House, TN, Gateway Packaging (who ProAmpac acquired in May 2018) is a high-end printer/packaging converter and the largest pet food packaging provider in North America. The company is continually seeking ways to improve products and solve problems for its customers. To meet that goal, Gateway recently completely revamped its flexo plate making process.

“With the variety of flexographic plates and plate making 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 two, including Asahi Photoproducts. As a final test, we ran several production jobs using plates to compare efficiency with our current process, and we were very pleased with the results.”

Read the complete article on flexography.org

 

 

Label Impressions, The Most Eco-Friendly Label Company In The World With Help From Asahi AWP

CTGA customer Label Impressions, Inc. remains one of the greenest label companies in the world today, and part of that is due to it’s use of Asahi’s AWP Water Washout Flexo Plates and Equipment.  In their commitment to stay eco-friendly and sustainable, Label Impressions began working with AWP and never looked back.  They immediately saw an increase in productivity, quality, profitability and sustainability with AWP.

But that’s not the only way Label Impressions has achieved the greenest label company status…

In addition to operating a 100% wind powered, carbon neutral facility, Label Impressions is the exclusive supplier for tree-free, stone paper labels. They also offer 100% Post Consumer Waste (PCW) recycled labels, biodegradable labels with biodegradable adhesives, and we even create our own drinking water from the humidity we reduce in our manufacturing area.

Label Impressions, Inc. is dedicated to keeping our environment healthy “one label at a time.” As an industry sustainability leader, Label Impressions has been instrumental in developing several green label materials and environmental standards. They are currently the ONLY label printer to be certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) and to be awarded carbon neutral status through non-profit CarbonFund.org. Label Impressions’ president, Jeff Salisbury, is a contributor to the industry’s L.I.F.E. program (Label Initiative For the Environment) and a regular speaker on environmental packaging and manufacturing solutions.

 

CARTOTECNICA POSTUMIA CHOOSES ASAHI AFP™-DSF DIGITAL FLEXOGRAPHIC PLATES FOR QUALITY, PRODUCTIVITY

Tokyo/Brussels, September 21, 2018 – Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, today reported that Cartotecnica Postumia, a producer of square-bottom bags for the food industry, customized shopping bags, and printed paper rolls for use in automatic packaging machines, relies on Asahi AFP™-DSF digital flexographic plates for delivery of the highest quality to its global customer base demands. Cartotecnica Postumia, who recently celebrated its 50th year in business, has used Asahi plates for 25 years now, using nearby repro house Thema Studio for plate production.

“Thema Studio is an expert, perfecting its repro quality over the years,” says Managing Director Pierluigi Gava. “Great communication between our company and Thema Studio along with excellent Asahi plate technology is the secret to our success. Thema Studio tells us that, while they do test other plates from time to time, these do not perform as well as the Asahi plates, requiring press stoppages for cleaning during runs and exhibiting other quality issues. We trust their advice!”

In recognition of the quality the Asahi plates helped the company achieve, Cartotecnica Postumia was honoured with a 1stDiamond Award for narrow web flexo print on paper and labels by FTA Europe in its second edition of the FTA Europe Diamond Awards in May 2018. Cartotecnica Postumia’s entry was printed in seven colours plus water-based matt varnish with a UV gloss varnish overcoat. “I am not sure we could have produced this award-winning entry without the quality we achieved using Asahi DSF plates,” Gava adds. “The Asahi AFP™ DSF is the best plate in the market for high quality paper printing on substrates ranging from abrasive kraft paper to coated liner.”

Benefits of Asahi Plate Technology

Asahi’s AFP™-DSF digital medium hard plate elevates printing results to a new level of quality. It is designed for use with abrasive substrates for good highlights combined with excellent ink transfer. Its optimized balance of solid ink laydown and highlight dot printing produces incomparably good ink coverage with low dot gain in the mid tones and brilliant highlights at maximum printing speeds, with particular suitability for flexible packaging printing on film and paper with the water-based inks exclusively used by Cartotecnica Postumia.

ASAHI PHOTOPRODUCTS TO EXHIBIT AT LABELEXPO AMERICAS

Repost from asahi-photoproducts.com

A focus on quick, consistent and highest quality creation of plates with Asahi AWP™ flexographic plates

Tokyo/Brussels, August 2, 2018 – Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, today announced it will be exhibiting at Labelexpo Americas 2018, scheduled for 25 to 27 September at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. Asahi will be located in Stand F6479 at the show. The company will be showing its AWP™ family of water-washable flexographic plate solutions featuring Clean Transfer Technology, including its new AWP™ -DEW plate with washout speeds 2.5 times faster than previous plates, making it ideal for on-demand platemaking and a more efficient flexographic operation in even the busiest plants.

“At the show, we will be showing flexographic print samples printed using AWP™ plates imaged on an Esko Crystal XPS system whose simultaneous UV main and back exposure produces highly consistent digital flexo plates,” said Makoto Nagata, Sales Manager Overseas for Asahi. “We are looking forward to welcoming visitors and sharing information about the possibilities created with the quick, consistent, and highest quality creation of plates using the Asahi AWP™ family of plates.”

Asahi experts will also be available to speak with visitors about the Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) benefits of Asahi AWP™ plates. “Printing operations stand to reap huge benefits from moving to AWP™ plates,” adds Mr. Nagata. “Companies like Czech-based Colognia Press are seeing press uptimes of more than 50%, up from 25% with their previous plates, and even report running a 22-hour job with one set of plates, no stops, and with very consistent quality from beginning to end. In our experience, AWP™ plates make these types of results very achievable for flexo printers.”

Read complete article on asahi-photoproducts.com

Asahi Photoproducts to showcase its Clean Transfer Technology at Gallus Innovation Days

Tokyo, Japan & Brussels, Belgium, May 29, 2018 – Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, today announced it will be attending Gallus Innovation Days for the first time. The event takes place in St. Gallen, Switzerland, from 26 to 28 June 2018, the third Open House event hosted by the well-known Swiss manufacturer. Asahi Photoproducts will be showing its AWP™ DEF/DEW plate solutions featuring Clean Transfer Technology, exhibiting in Hall 1 as a Gallus partner.

“Gallus is without doubt a leading manufacturer of flexo presses for labels, continually broadening its portfolio,” says Dr. Dieter Niederstadt, Technical Marketing Manager at Asahi. “We believe there is great potential for synergies with Gallus in terms of innovation and quality. Our popular water washable AWP™ plates are industry leaders in UV flexo printing and are especially suitable for printing operations who wish to produce their plates in-house.”

Asahi’s Clean Transfer Technology has been developed with fixed colour palette printing in mind, delivering the quality and precise register this printing technique requires. All future Asahi plates will be equipped with Clean Transfer Technology, delivering the outstanding quality and overall equipment efficiency (OEE) demanded by leading converters in a highly competitive market.

Asahi’s AWP™ DEF/DEW plate technology provides a viable alternative to conventional flexo printing plates. Its water washable printing plate technology does not require high temperatures or VOC-based solvents. It provides high register accuracy, making it particularly suitable for printing with a fixed colour palette and enabling odourless production. In addition to saving time and money and reducing waste, it also supports energy savings, whilst assuring exceptional quality and brilliant prints.

Clean Transfer for real-life flexo applications

Colognia Press, based in the Czech Republic, has recently discovered how AWP™ plates with Clean Transfer Technology can lead to significantly higher productivity in flexo printing. The company uses Gallus presses and water washable flexo plates and was able to increase machine availability by 110%, simply by switching to an Asahi plate production system. The previous flexo printing plates had caused lengthy downtimes for plate cleaning and changing. The Asahi solution enables Colognia Press to print practically any job up to several kilometres long without having to stop the machine. Even a 22-hour job ran without interruption from start to finish, maintaining consistent quality with the same set of plates.

ASAHI PHOTOPRODUCTS TEAMS WITH ESKO TO BRING IMPROVED OVERALL EQUIPMENT EFFECTIVENESS (OEE) TO FLEXO PLATEMAKING

Tokyo, Japan & Brussels, Belgium, May 24, 2018 – Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, today announced it will be attending EskoWorld for the first time. Asahi will be located in the Innovation Center at the show, scheduled for 5 to 7 June at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio, Texas.

“In our fast-paced and rapidly evolving industry, efficiency, waste reduction and speed to market are critical,” said Stephan Doppelhammer, Asahi Photoproducts Europe Business Development Manager. “By partnering with Esko, we bring together solutions from two world-class companies to create a faster, more efficient and more consistent workflow in flexographic platemaking. Esko Equinox is ideal for converting separations to fixed palette printing, while Esko’s Crystal technology reduces the number of platemaking steps required and is making the process more consistent. By adding Asahi’s AWP™ water washable plates with Clean Transfer Technology to the mix, Asahi and Esko customers can take OEE to a brand-new level of efficiency while boosting print quality and reducing their environmental footprint.”

Voice of the Customer

Gateway Packaging, a leading high-end printer/ packaging converter and the largest pet food packaging provider in North America, recently restructured its entire platemaking process with Asahi Photoproducts solutions as the core element. The company performed extensive testing that led up to the final decision. “When running the Asahi AWP™ Clean Transfer plates,” explained Tharrin Akers, the company’s Prepress Manager, “we were able to run the press at a 17% higher speed – 1,640 feet per minute (from 426 m / min. to 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 7.2 hours instead of 11 hours in the past and an astonishing 53% improvement in Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) over our previous process.”

Clean Transfer Technology: The Details

A feature of many of Asahi’s flexographic printing plates, Clean Transfer Technology enables a clean ink transfer and prevents ink accumulating on the plate surfaces and shoulders in screen areas. This leads to fewer cleaning intervals and reduced press downtime, as well as significant quality improvements. Precise plate register achieved with Asahi AWP™ plates ensures very high quality process printing with a fixed color palette, minimizing the need to use and manage spot color inks.

Clean Transfer Technology 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.

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