Asahi Photoproducts and Esko have showcased their breakthrough, fully automated flexo platemaking line CrystalCleanConnect at this year’s virtual.drupa event.
Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, has collaborated with Esko, the global developer of integrated software and hardware solutions for the packaging and labels markets, on the innovative flexo platemaking solution. CrystalCleanConnect fully automates the entire flexo plate production, from imaging to plate cutting, reducing the number of steps in the flexo platemaking process from 12 to just one which equates to a reduction from 36 min operator plate making time to only 2,5 min.
“With CrystalCleanConnect we have brought together key hardware and software technologies from both organizations to deliver a number of breakthrough advantages from design to print,” said Pascal Thomas, Director of Flexo Business with Esko. “CrystalCleanConnect delivers a cleaner, more environmentally balanced operation that simplifies the flexo platemaking process, improves safety and boosts print quality consistency.”
According to Pascal, CrystalCleanConnect offers operational as well as environmental benefits to businesses. “With the removal of so many process steps, there’s an immediate 90% reduction in required operator time, which not only eliminates the potential for human error but also delivers immediate efficiency gains. Quality is assured through Asahi and Esko technologies working in complete harmony, and the combination of improved efficiency and quality delivers an average increase of 25% in press OEE.”
A holistic approach to connecting technologies
Dieter Niederstadt, Technical Marketing Manager for Asahi Photoproducts stated: “Flexo needs to simplify its processes while improving quality, consistency and profitability. In doing so, flexo can create new business opportunities and positively transform into a printing technology in balance with the environment”.
“This breakthrough innovation is different in many ways to other solutions on the market,” Dieter said. “It is not just an assembly of available plate making processes delivered inline, but rather a holistic approach to connecting technologies, up and downstream of the prepress value chain, using an intelligent automation hub as the backbone and heart of the solution. CCC is truly pushing boundaries to the current scope of plate automation delivering a mount-ready plate as well as being the first automated production solution without the need of VOC based washout solvents in the plate making process.”
Pascal Thomas added: “At Esko, we have long been dedicated to improving the platemaking experience, in terms of quality, productivity and connectivity. Together with Asahi Photoproducts, we are taking the flexo platemaking process to a brand-new level, enabling our customers to be even more competitive while also ensuring they can meet today’s demands for flexible and sustainable supply. With CrystalCleanConnect, our ultimate objective is to improve our customers’ overall business performance and profitability.”