Flint Group announces new automatic flexo plate processing line

Leading-edge automated plate processing

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Flint Group
Flint Group's new automated plate processing equipment

The revolutionary fully automated plate processing line consists of equipment modules which were announced earlier by the group; Catena – E (UV LED exposure), Catena – W (solvent plate processor), and Catena – DLS (dryer, light finisher and plate stacker combination with robotized plate transport).

Catena means ‘connected chain’ and just as the name reveals, the Catena+ line is a modular system, which can join together for various levels of automation. A Catena-DLS module can be connected to a Catena-W for automatic plate-processing. The Catena-DLS has 10 drying units, 7 stacking positions, and a light finisher. The robotic movement ensures that plates are fully finished with no operator intervention after loading into the washer.

“We are proud to announce the Catena-DLS, the missing piece on our way to fully automated flexo plate processing. In combination with our ThermoFlexX imager, the recently released Catena-W and the Catena-E UV LED exposure, we provide state-of-the-art, fully automated and integrated flexo plate processing system, which allows our customers to produce flexo plates at the lowest total cost for every application“, explains Uwe Stebani, general manager Xeikon Prepress. “And in combination with our groundbreaking ThermoFlexX Woodpecker surface screening software and best-in-class Flint Group flexographic plates, we enable our customers to rival any other system in the market.”

Catena+ brings the whole chain together, resulting in leading-edge fully automated flexo plate making. Once the operator has removed the cover sheet the plate is automatically loaded into the imager and is completely processed and fully finished with no further operator interventions needed, eliminating any damage caused by manual plate handling.

Designed as an open system, Catena+ allows easy loading of plates from other imagers into the Catena-E LED exposure unit. Plates from other exposure frames can also be easily loaded to take advantage of the highly productive WDLS.

The full line Catena+ also includes Catena Cockpit, which provides a highly visible status report on plate processing, progress, and expected time of completion.

With Catena ProServX software, the machine health status of all modules is constantly monitored, thus, enabling a new level of pro-active support and maintenance. The need for physical service-interventions is minimized.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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