Esko and Asahi unveil automated flexo platemaking solution at virtual.drupa

Esko and Asahi Photoproducts have collaborated for the release of a fully automated flexo platemaking line, CrystalCleanConnect, at this year’s virtual.drupa event.

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 2.5 min.

“With CrystalCleanConnect we have brought together key hardware and software technologies from both organisations to deliver a number of breakthrough advantages from design to print,” Esko flexo business director Pascal Thomas said.

“CrystalCleanConnect delivers a cleaner, more environmentally balanced operation that simplifies the flexo platemaking process, improves safety and boosts print quality consistency.”

According to Thomas, CrystalCleanConnect offers operational as well as environmental benefits to businesses.

Together with Asahi Photoproducts, Thomas said that Esko is taking the flexo platemaking process to a new level, enabling customers to be even more competitive while also ensuring they can meet today’s demands for flexible and sustainable supply.

With CrystalCleanConnect, the companies’ objective is to improve their customers’ overall business performance and profitability.

“With the removal of so many process steps, there’s an immediate 90 per cent 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 per cent in press OEE.”

Asahi Photoproducts technical marketing manager Dieter Niederstadt said 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,” he said.

“This innovation is different in many ways to other solutions on the market. 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.”

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