In recent years, the Ahmedabad region of Western India has seen good growth in the number of flexo presses. The adoption of digital plates and gradual decline in usage of analogue plates is an established trend that Ankit Graphics has strengthened. It is providing digitally imaged plates to narrow web label, wide web CI flexo, corrugated, flexible film, container, paper cup, and notebook printers and converters for the past year.
Founded by Bakul M Darji, a gold medallist in printing technology from the RC Technical Institute in Ahmedabad, Ankit Graphics began as a prepress and flexo plate trade shop in 1987. In 2008, after completing polymer engineering from Napier University in Scotland his son Ankit joined the firm named after him.
In June 2014, Ankit Graphics installed a Dainippon Screen flexo CtP device – the Screen Platerite FX 1524 for suppling flexo plates to label and flexible packaging printers as well as corrugators. Ankit Graphics became the first buyer of Hybrid Software’s Packz in India. DuPont’s Cyrel DPR digital flexo plates are being used. “Our association with DuPont is almost two decades old,” says Ankit Darji.
Productivity after going digital
One of the biggest reasons for Ankit to go in for plate digitalization was to raise productivity and decrease the complexity of platemaking. Also, availability of films was becoming an issue. “We wanted to go in for mass production and for that we needed to raise productivity and reduce the complexity involved in platemaking. That is when we decided to move from analogue platemaking to digital plate making. And in the last one year our productivity has witnessed a significant boost. The confidence level of our clients has gone up for our work,” Ankit Darji states.
With many processing steps eliminated in digital platemaking, productivity has almost doubled for Ankit Graphics. Elimination of various steps has also resulted in substantial reduction in errors.
“Less steps mean less errors. With digital plates we have seen error rates dropping by as much as 40% in many cases,” Darji explains, adding that dot gain has come down from 7 to 8% in analogue plates to about 1.5 to 3% in digital plates.
The Packz software has helped Ankit to carry out prepress correction for rendering and output of the files for flexo plates and generate multiple jobs with good quality and consistency. “With this new machine, we can now offer plates imaged at 4,800 dpi resolution with special flexo dots,” Darji says.
As more and more flexo presses get installed in Ahmedabad, the demand for flexo plates is bound to grow. Ankit Graphics currently supplies plates primarily to the narrow web label segment but is confident it will be able to register a bigger foothold in the wide web market as well. “As I mentioned earlier, our clients’ confidence in us has grown since we started making digital plates. Currently, we get more support from the narrow web segment but we will win the confidence of wide web players as well,” Darji says optimistically. “We have all the latest technology, whether it’s the CtP system or the DuPont digital plates and we will invest in more technology as the need arises.”