Acme Digital Colour for Flexo Presses

Converting your flexo press into A DIGITAL COLOUR PRESS running at up to 400m/min.

In this article we will explain how a press you most likely already own, can be converted into DIGITAL COLOUR PRESS, running exponentially faster than other digital presses on the market and at much lower cost.

First, we need to explain the marked difference between:

Acme Digital Colour and Extended Colour Gamut

For some time now the flexo industry has been abuzz with regards to printing with an extended colour gamut or “ECG” – a fixed inkset (generally CMYKOGV). The premise is essentially to eliminate spot colours, thus to avoid washups (ink changes) on a flexo press, thereby increasing the productivity of a press. In theory this sounds great. In practice Extended Colour it faces some formidable obstacles:

  • Confusion over print standards – Does one print to PANTONE ECG standards or something else?
  • If one is printing to a standard, washups are required when switching from surface to reverse print or between substrates
  • High cost of investment into aniloxes to achieve print standards on different substrates
  • Which PANTONE guide to match to – PANTONE Plus Coated or Uncoated or PANTONE ECG or PANTONELive?
  • What if one cannot achieve required CMYKOGV densities?
  • What if one is printing on speciality paper such as is used for wine labels with a potential colour gamut somewhere between coated and uncoated paper?
  • Delta E tolerances – Some spot colours can be matched within a DE of 2 and others within a DE of 7. What then is acceptable and enables a “pass” on-press?
  • Contract Proof and print is NEVER exactly the same, so what is good enough?
  • Job appears “flexo printed”

Acme Graphics does not advocate for the use of Extended Colour Gamut printing in the way it is being promoted. We believe its implementation into flexo printing diverges from the method it has been used successfully in other printing systems. We ask “why”? Why not follow the “gamut” logic of printing without spot colours, where it has been used with great commercial success? An example is digital presses. Digital presses have wildly differing gamuts and “extended gamut” or achieving a “standard” is not a pre-requisite to the viability of a digital press.

Acme Digital Colour is “Any Colour Gamut” printed to “no standard”. This is very different to “Extended Colour Gamut”. We want to avoid the term “printing with a fixed ink set” as this is (incorrectly) used synonymously in relation to ECG and is mostly understood to imply printing to some standard.

Acme Digital Colour is a completely different take on “eliminating spot colours”. It draws upon our extensive experience in the colour management of digital presses and patents we have in place to make it work.

What are some of the benefits?

  • No print standards required
  • Works with as few as 4 print stations
  • No or minimal investment into aniloxes required
  • No washups are required when switching from surface to reverse print
  • Works on any substrate
  • Brand owners approve jobs online as digital art
  • When brand owners request a contract proof for colour, they are provided with our patented Light/Middle/Dark standard contract proof
  • Press operator prints within Light/Middle/Dark standard
  • Job appears “digitally printed” – Flexo printed with “Acme Digital Colour”

What does a printer need to do, to print with Acme Digital Colour?

  • Achieve reasonable print registration
  • Continue to use the same substrates, inks and printing plates as used in the press fingerprinting process
  • If a new substrate is to be used, it must be fingerprinted
  • Avoid dirty or worn aniloxes, doctor blades and ink contamination
  • Check ink primary batches for consistency in the ink room
  • Never adjust inks on-press
  • Never change aniloxes
  • Check substrates for consistency upon issuance
  • Replacement aniloxes manufactured to same specification
  • Apply best practices when setting plate to anilox and plate to substrate impression
  • Follow exactly our process flow with regards to decision making in determining which jobs are suited for printing with “Acme Digital Colour”

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