Digital Magazine

Apex International Hosts Repro Supplier Meet

Apex International, a global leader of anilox and embossing technologies hosted a successful Repro Supplier Meet July 26, 2023 at its production facility located in Sinnar, Nashik. The event was well attended by leading reprographic and plate suppliers across India, and was dedicated to highlighting challenges faced by repro houses in relation to anilox technology.

“In light of the current and future trends in flexography, it has become increasingly evident that a high level of integrity is required among key stakeholders in the flexo ecosystem,” stated Mangesh Bhise, Director Sales-Asia Pacific & ME. The event provided scientific facts related to the manufacture and measurement of anilox engraving, pros and cons of ECG compared CG, and opportunities the flexo industry has if suppliers unite.

Flexography, as a printing process, relies on a multitude of variables where design, repro and anilox play a vital role. Since this event was designed to demonstrate how the anilox capabilities influence the flexo process there was no focus on plate and ink specialty surface patterns or pigmentation.

Nick Harvey, Technical Director, highlighted the importance of an anilox roll in mastering quality print production. “The anilox is a very technical product. If not controlled, it will result in an anilox that can be measured as the same values of line screen and volume but could deliver totally different amounts of ink transfer and color.”

In addition to cell geometry, the same line screen with hexagonal cells can be manufactured with different volume and different cells shapes. Whereas GTT 2.0, the patented open slalom channel engraving, is always produced to have the optimum opening to depth ratio.

Demonstrating the consistency of GTT, Apex included a live volume measurement demonstration on three separate anilox (GTT S) using the MicroDynamics 3DQC. Results proved that channel shape, size, finish and volume are extremely consistent measuring at 4.21 cm3/m2, 4.24 cm3/m2 and 4.28 cm3/m2.  

“This level of consistency is a key benefit of GTT. To be able to achieve this level of repeatability in the engraving gives the flexo process a firm foundation to build on, which will result in faster changeovers, less waste, higher quality imagery, and enable ECG or CG to be adopted easier,” stated Dhanraj Patil, Managing Director.

Consistent engraving delivers consistent and predictable ink density. Apex performed live printing to demonstrate consistency using three GTT C3.5 anilox using the same unit, plate, and ink. Pushing the demonstration to the limit, Apex chose to print black (the most challenging of YMCK). The density achieved across the samples were 1.29, 1.26 and 1.35.

While Apex is aware the required ink density for black should be around 1.45 to 1.6, for the purpose of proving consistency, this test demonstrated a perfect example of benefits from the GTT engraving.  

(Printers have many sets of conventional anilox that can be tested the same way to evaluate the anilox performance. It is important to acknowledge that the anilox is the foundation and not the single solution a print process needs to be in control.)

Acknowledging the ever-evolving print industry landscape, Mr. Harvey discussed the rising popularity of digital print due to shorter runs and personalization. However, he asserted that flexo has a unique edge in the form of embellishments with textures and 3D effects that can attract customers and open new markets for label printers.

He explained, “By adopting YMCK you can still achieve 835 Pantone colors which is an area that has not been explored sufficiently. Printers can cater to high value products and markets by utilizing the remaining print stations for label and packaging embellishment elements.”

He demonstrated the use of matte, gloss, and tactile lacquers to produce raised, paper feel, and 3-D effects whilst using the standard flexo units inline.

For further information, visit www.apexinternational.com.


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