Asahi Photoproducts’ customer FFP Packaging Solutions won the ‘Best in Show’ at the recent EFIA Awards 2020. FFP’s entry won Gold in the category ‘Flexo on Film – Reverse Print Wide’ using Asahi’s AWP – 1.14 plates to achieve its high-quality results. FFP’s entry ‘Juicy Meat Company, Large Beef, Easy Cook Pouch’ was acclaimed for superior design and excellent quality printing in CMYK, achieving exceptional density in the black areas alongside soft highlights.
Paul Hesketh, Print Development manager at FFP says, “Everyone at FFP is absolutely delighted to have won this year’s ‘Best in Show’ at the EFIA awards.” As a leading flexible packaging innovator and converter with 50 years’ experience, FFP is unique in comparison to many other companies in their sector as they produce their plates in-house. Hesketh explains, “To take control of plate production we needed to find the best plate technology and a supplier and partner we could work with. Our relationship with Asahi supports our strategy to provide consistently high-quality products. We purchased Asahi’s AWP 4835 water-wash plate processor around 5 years ago and Asahi supplies us with the raw polymer so we can manufacture plates in-house. We decided to produce AWP-1.14 plates after extensively researching the market, we found that Asahi plates gave us consistent and excellent quality results every time, with good ink lay-down and superior ink densities – perfect for very high-quality work and challenging designs. The results we are able to achieve with this plate are so good, we offer them to our customers under our ‘Platinum Print’ brand.”
The print team at FFP Packaging Solutions quickly recognized the technical difficulty in achieving soft highlights and strong vibrant colors from the CMYK on challenging designs such as the winning entry. The design on the Juicy Meat Company pack is predominately a dense black with contrasting lighter shades in the product images. To produce award-winning designs FFP also has to focus carefully on its color management processes – they use IQC color management software and X-Rite spectrophotometers to measure digital tolerances.
Hesketh continues, “We have a great design and color management team at FFP but at the end of the day, high-quality results are a lot to do with the plates and the way we set them up. The success of the end product is down to achieving the correct balance with the plate, the ink system and the anilox and the key objective is to perfectly match the proof. We found the AWP1.14 plate offers excellent quality and color consistency when used in conjunction with solvent-based ink systems on our Windmöller & Hölscher high-speed Miraflex CI flexo printing press.
All FFPs award entries are selected from the production Print that comes off their presses on a daily basis. There is no special preparation made to produce an award-winning piece of print. Hesketh explains, “I regularly see great print coming off the end of our presses and think – I’ll keep that.” These samples build up throughout the year and when its time to send the entries for the awards, Hesketh and his team review and select the best and the most appropriate print from the samples. He works on the principle that everything they produce for their customers is top quality and good enough to win an award.
Hesketh concludes, “We take awards seriously. Within our industry, we regard EFIA as the most prestigious organization. We have been members for many years and won many awards but it was very satisfying indeed this year to receive their award for ‘Best in Show’. Working in-house is fundamental to FFP maintaining the highest levels of quality products in a challenging and ever-evolving market. To do that we had to carefully consider our choice of technology partner. We chose to partner with Asahi and use their AWP plate 5 years ago and we are still winning awards with it. We did look at other suppliers but we are very glad we went with Asahi as we believe their plate technology is top class. We strive to be the best and use the best equipment available which is why we use Asahi’s AWP plates. Our competitors can’t compete.”