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5 ways FLEXCEL NX can change how you print


When FLEXCEL NX launched in 2008, we knew the technology had the potential to change the game. But it was printers and pre-press specialists who soon showed what it was really capable of. Winners from the Global Flexo Innovation Awards showcase five different benefits of FLEXCEL NX TECH.

Print on whatever you want

FLEXCEL NX’s unique capabilities to optimize ink transfer can enable high-quality print on pretty much anything – from the notoriously taxing corrugated cardboard to kraft paper, plastic films and even cellophane.

“You can surface-print on PE, reverse-print on PET, surface-print on breathable paper or aluminum foil, or just paper,” says Anand Patel of Ahmedabad-based Pentaflex. “We’re doing it all.”

When Patel invested in flexo and adopted FLEXCEL NX technology, he realized there was a huge untapped opportunity in the reverse-printed laminate market in his region. He was soon pioneering sustainable packaging for salt, using a PE+PE laminate that was beyond the capability of gravure. “Reverse-printing using flexo was almost unheard of in India,” says Patel. “But by combining our Bobst press with KODAK FLEXCEL NX technology, we could offer brands much higher quality in the reverse-printed space — with the added advantage that the pack was recyclable.”

Turn jobs around faster

Flexo is known for its versatility and for the convenience of multi-step inline processes but it hasn’t always had the best reputation for quality.

Italy’s Z Due has addressed that issue head-on with their clients and used FLEXCEL NX to move many of their jobs away from offset and gravure to flexo. Corrugated packaging that was previously printed in offset, and then required other offline steps, was produced directly in flexo on the corrugated cardboard with a speed of 5,000 sheets per hour and no loss in quality. The result: its customers are getting their packaging to market faster.

Print at a high quality

FLEXCEL NX’s unique printing dot profile offers stability and cleanliness in printing, reproducing fine details, a wide tonal range and smooth solids, with consistent results, run after run. It can enable a step-up in capability even on machines that don’t appear extremely efficient, with results that would otherwise seem inconceivable.

Using FLEXCEL NX, Italy’s Z Due managed to achieve high quality printing on B Wave cardboard. It produced around 15,000 packages per hour, with the common washboarding effect reduced to being almost imperceptible. Another success was a black box that showed off the NX plates’ quality both in the highlights and in the dark areas, and which showed nuances that fade to zero without hard breaks – another common defect in flexo.

“It was very difficult and challenging to reach similar quality levels with other types of plates used in the past,” says Andrea Mingozzi, who co-owns Z Due with his brother, Lorenzo.

Improve the rest of your workflow

Knowing you’ve got fast, robust, optimized plates as your foundation, you can then invest in other elements and trust that you’ll extract maximum value, earn your investment back, and secure more lucrative work.

UK-based Reproflex 3, which creates flexo packaging for blue-chip FMCG brands, customized its workflow around FLEXCEL NX in just this way. “We had an anilox specially designed for it,” says Andrew Hewitson, Managing Director at Reproflex 3. “And we developed our own, patented cell surface technology to transfer the optimum amount of ink. Of course, the imaging is important, but to me what’s also remarkable is how the rest of the flexo supply chain has got on board — the inks, aniloxes, plate mounting systems, and so on. That’s a formidable combination and it’s the reason flexo is winning work from gravure.”

“That’s a formidable combination and it’s the reason flexo is winning work from gravure.” – Andrew Hewitson

Save money

These are increasingly cost-conscious times. With flexo, not only are the inks relatively inexpensive, but you can do everything from printing to coating, die-cutting and foil stamping in one pass through the machine. This gives it a huge cost advantage over other processes. FLEXCEL NX plate technology also allows you to reduce the number of printing colors, which means less waste in plates and raw materials, while still achieving excellent print quality. And you can get that quality even on low grammage paper and thinner films, reducing the substrate’s weight, a desirable trait as paper becomes increasingly expensive and transportation costs increase.

Read more about the Global Innovation Award winners and the way they are using FLEXCEL NX to innovate.