Agfa & Flint Group flexo plates

Improving print quality in flexography


Agfa India and Flint Group Printing Plates organised a flexo meet and conference in New Delhi on the 17th of January 2008 to discuss ways to improve print quality in flexography and the latest techniques in making high quality flexo plates.
Starting off the proceedings, P. Manohar, head of Agfa India’s Graphic Arts Business Group, welcomed all participants to the meet and said the objective of the conference was to share the latest developments in flexo plates and plate-making from Flint Group Printing Plates. He was followed by Ajay Sadhu, who presented a profile of the Agfa-Gevaert Group. Graphic Arts represents 50 percent of their overall business with Healthcare and Materials accounting for 43 per cent and 7 per cent respectively. This division had a turnover of Euro 1.7 billion in 2006 with Europe accounting for 54 per cent, North America 18 per cent, Asia/Oceania/Africa 21 per cent and Latin America 7 per cent.

Claus Peter Witt, the Regional Technical Director of Flint Group Printing Plates then made a presentation on Ways to Improve Print Quality in Flexo. The essence of his talk was that it is very important to choose the right plate for the application and the important factors that influenced this choice were its hardness, thickness and chemical structure. He talked about the whole range of flexo plates offered by Flint for printing on substrates ranging from paper and board to polymer films to corrugated fibreboard and showed slides on the improvements achieved in print sharpness, dot sizes, control on dot gain and consistency by their latest generation of plates, especially those made from new-generation photopolymers.

He also explained some common defects that crop up and how these could be avoided.
The final presentation by Rahul Tikoo, Agfa India’s Business Manager for Packaging, highlighted the Requirements for making a Good Quality Flexo Plate. He once again stressed the need to use the right plate and processing conditions, which should be worked out in consultation with plate suppliers like Flint. He explained the various processes available for developing flexo plates and their relative merits. He also explained Flint’s latest developments towards achieving better print quality with slides showing the improvements achieved. He introduced Akash Kamble, their Applications Specialist for Packaging, and talked about their plans to visit and study all flexo installations to develop individual recommendations for optimisation of print quality.

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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– Naresh Khanna

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