FloChannel Flexo

A revolutionary flexo plate technology, recently launched into the market by Acme Graphics. With faster make-ready, reduced bounce, faster running speeds, better ink laydown, sharper text, greater impression latitude and higher line screens, up to 275lpi, it is packed with technology that changes the game.

The result puts flexo much closer to gravure. This was not possible previously, as getting anywhere close to the continuous tones present in gravure, was limited by low screen rulings and anilox and plate screen interference.

Putting your loupe over the screens will make you sit up straight quickly. Imagine a lot of little plus signs telling you what it will do to your bottom line. This isn’t AM, FM, XM or Digitally Modulated Screening. It’s something completely different. We’re calling it FloChannel Screening. It’s a screen, lined with channels, specifically designed with anilox ink transfer in mind.

Figure 1 - Conventional Screening
Figure 2 - FloChannel Screening
Figure 3 - Ink laydown when printed

This screening was developed over two years ago but required a flexo plate to hold every pixel. Tests were conducted with LED exposure but the required result could not be obtained, due to the low fidelity of the black laser ablative mask coated onto flexo plates. That’s when Kodak’s SquareSpot Imaging at 10,000 dpi was investigated and we realised it was a perfect match for our screens.”

The result looks like something printed by a digital press. The exception being your conventional press runs TEN times faster!! Note the improved detail and gravure-like tones.

Figure 4 - Conventional Screening
Figure 5 - FloChannel Screening

When printing with spot colours, it is possible for the first time to blend them with process inks at differing lineatures when required in order to accommodate the higher anilox volumes used for spot colour inks.

FloChannel screens are especially effective printing onto synthetic substrates, such as BOPP, PET, PP, Stretch, LD and Shrink, where surface tension adversely affects ink laydown. You have a more consistent ink laydown. This improves colour fidelity and ensures greater consistency across and around the web. Plates last longer too since we have larger highlight dots on the plate and improved ink transfer without over-impression. Dot dipping and over-inking is furthermore reduced due to the channel structure.

Below is an example on a particularly “difficult to print” shrink film. Notice the bad lay with conventional screening (left), compared to the consistency of the FloChannel screening (right).

Last but not least, the plate is a perfect match for Acme’s 4 and 7 colour fixed ink-set printing system, since moiré is impossible and colours remain unaffected by misregister.

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