A conventional printing process
Flexographic printing uses a flexible relief plate featuring a raised image of the requested design. Modern technology has drastically reduced the amount of time required to make flexographic plates. Using CTP – Computer to Plate – technology, a plate can be ready shortly after sending the image from the reprographic program.
These plates are then wrapped around a print cylinder and the cylinder is mounted to the machine. An anilox roller will then provide ink to the plate, and the plate will transfer this ink to the substrate. Each plate will have a different colour ink, and combined they create the final image.
The core colours are known as CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. This is also referred to as “Four Colour Process”. This colour gamut is then expanded using spot colours, pantone colours, or increasing to a “Full process”, usually with seven colours: CMYK, Orange, Violet and Green. Varnishes and added extras, for instance Cold Foil or Lamination, are also applied through flexographic printing. The product must then be cured which can be achieved through a variety of technologies such as: UV, LED, Hot Air, Infrared, E-beam, to name a few.
Flexographic printing is a conventional print process which transfers ink to substrate via relief plates and print cylinders. Technology is ever advancing to reduce the time required to make flexo plates and to cure the final printed product. Flexographic printing is currently the most common form of industrial printing found worldwide.
In recent years, flexographic printing has had major advancements in technology. Recently, Edale have launched AiiR: Autonomous, Inking, Impression and Registration. AiiR fully automates the print and registration process, reducing the level of operator intervention required, leading to fewer errors and a higher quality final product.