According to Antalis, flexographic printing technology is growing in popularity globally.
Kevin Tucker, National Sales Manager, Flexographic at Antalis, said, ‘Originally, flexographic printing was rudimentary in quality, but this is certainly not the case today.’
Over the past decade, Flexographic printing’s quality has improved and this has enabled it to compete with gravure printing. ‘Where we are seeing growth is in the area of packaging, in particular food packaging,’ he explained. This is due to the growth in population in the world, especially in Africa and the need for lower cost packaging. He added that Flexographic Printing is a great solution for packaging because of its wide variety of printing applications, ranging from printing on corrugated, plastic, and many other materials, for example cereal boxes to labels and toothpaste packaging.
He mentioned that the Flexographic printing process also gives you an almost complete product at the end of the process as it includes lamination, varnish, die cutting, foiling and embossing, etc.
Tucker, who has been with Antalis for over two years, but who has played a role in the print industry for 22 years, has a vast knowledge of the Flexographic process that begins at pre-press from his years as a designer. ‘I started in the industry preparing artwork for customers and converting artwork to be Flexo-friendly. From there I moved through the functions, from quality control (for ISO 2001 and 2859), plate making, and ink mixing as well as other roles in the Flexographic industry,’ he said.
It is this knowledge of the complete process that made him the ideal candidate to advise and provide customers with a flexographic printing and plate-making solution. Before being appointed National Sales Manager, he was part of the Johannesburg Sales Division for Flexographics. In his new position, he is responsible for Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg areas as well as the product management of Antalis’ suppliers for Flexographic products and solutions, DuPont and Esko.
The improvements in the field keep coming. ‘There is also exciting news from DuPont which will be commercially available in the third quarter this year, DuPont will release its Cyrel EasyPlate with ‘flat-dot’ technology built into it. This means a better image with improved quality without the need for expensive workflows or equipment.’
‘DuPont’s DSP plate or (surface engineered plate) has a chemically treated surface which allows for a higher ink density and smoother ink lay-down for improved quality,’ he added.
Esko, the supplier for CTP systems, also has its CDI (Cyrel Digital Imager) that allows for high quality digital flexographic plates, which before were only achievable in offset or gravure. Esko also offers high definition output (HD and full HD), giving a superior image quality print. ‘It also offers full work flow solutions, which include 3D proofing solutions such as Esko Studio. This provides customers with a 3-Dimensional proof allowing customers to better view their product, for example packaging like a bottle with a label around it or a folding box. Esko also provide specific plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop that allow for automated corrections of designs for the Flexographic print process,’ Tucker added.
Antalis is committed to the Flexographic industry and regularly support the FTASA Awards that honour flexographic printers in South Africa for excellence in print.