At PPC Flex’s Payson, Utah location, the verdict is in on a year’s beta-testing of the new FLEXCEL NX Ultra 42 Solution from Miraclon, and it’s very positive. Simmy Coscia, PPC’s Director of Prepress & Design, is delighted with “the consistency, stability and productivity” of the larger-format addition to the FLEXCEL NX Ultra VOC-free and solvent-free water washable plate making solution.
PPC has been a FLEXCEL NX Technology user since 2011. Impressed with the consistency, high quality and on-press efficiency benefits of FLEXCEL NX Plates, they desired these characteristics in a water washable environment. In 2016, PPC became a beta site for the FLEXCEL NX Ultra 35 Solution. Based on FLEXCEL NX Technology and thanks to Miraclon’s patented Ultra Clean Technology, FLEXCEL NX Ultra Solution is the first water wash solution to solve the fundamental challenge of ‘inconsistency’ traditionally associated with water processed flexo plates. It delivers high performing plates in a low maintenance environment.
With the print performance of FLEXCEL NX Ultra plates proven to meet the high expectations of the PPC team they were eager to expand to a larger format, and in 2022 the company upgraded to the new FLEXCEL NX Ultra 42 Processor, enabling efficient, high volume plate production.
“The FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plates perform really well across a multitude of print applications and the solution delivers a number of benefits,” continues Simmy. “In prepress, plate makeready is fast, simple and straightforward— we can produce a finished plate in less than an hour. Not only do we now produce even more plates per shift, it’s also less of an issue if for any reason we have to remake a plate during production.”
Simmy expands on the production benefits they’re enjoying too with FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plates, and confirms that they match up to the solvent processed FLEXCEL NX Plates they started out with: “On press, as long as the anilox is clean and the substrate ready, we just mount the plate and run. We reach color and registration quickly and can run the press more efficiently with less press stops, which allows us to run the press faster and maximize press capacity.”
FTA Award recognizes that water washable plates can deliver the highest quality
Plates produced by the FLEXCEL NX Ultra 42 Solution were used to produce PPC’s entry to the 2023 FTA Excellence in Flexography Awards, which won both a Gold Award in the wide web category and ‘Best of Show’ — the first victory for a job printed with a water washable plate in the prestigious Awards program. The FTA judges’ verdict highlighted the print quality of the entry — VetIQ Skin & Coat/Calming/5-in-One Soft Chew Bags — noting its “great tonality and saturation, excellent registration and super-crisp images.”
Entering a print job for an industry award usually takes time and effort, as the team weighs the merits of each entry and decides which best demonstrates what the business is capable of. Simmy Coscia found it a much easier task: “To be honest, I think any of the jobs we produce could have won — that’s how good the FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plates are. Our entry just happened to come off the press the day I was putting the submission together.”
She adds that in addition to the plentiful benefits the FLEXCEL NX Ultra 42 Solution brings to their prepress and printing process, it is also helping PPC win work previously printed gravure. “Around 30% of our customers are at the premium end of the market and until recently utilized gravure printing to produce their packaging. However, printing with FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plates allows us to beat gravure hands-down on quality any day, meeting and even exceeding customer expectations.”