Flexolution expands into the wide-web flexibles market

Italian prepress service provider, Flexolution, recently installed a second Kodak Flexcel NX Wide imaging system from Miraclon to keep up with production and demand as the company expands its services to include wide-web printing. Producing stable, high-performance plates, the system will continue to benefit customers by enabling faster start-ups and delivering high print densities that will save ink and reduce waste, while producing exceptional print quality.

Luca Ferrari, director at Flexolution, says: “Flexolution is known in the narrow-web sector for the high quality and efficiency we deliver with Flexcel NX Plates and we started to receive many requests from the wide-web market too. I knew that if we were going to try and break into such a competitive market, we needed the best technology that could deliver the highest quality.

Flexolution managing director Luca Ferrari.

“The only possible technological choice was Flexcel NX Technology, which sets the market benchmark for the highest quality – in line with our philosophy – by using the most reliable system for flexo flat top dot polymer plates while improving optical density and print quality. We wanted to be sure we had a stable, repeatable plate that would allow us to reproduce the pixels with an optimal resolution.”

In 2018, Flexolution installed a Flexcel NX Wide 4260 System with a 1067 x 1524 mm plate format and, in 2021, another Flexcel NX Wide 5080 System with a 1270 x 2032 mm plate format. The larger format also brings additional benefits, like allowing the company to optimize the plate space usage, reducing waste and increasing productivity.”

Satisfied and loyal customers

Mr Ferrari explains how he gets the most out of class-leading technology such as a Flexcel NX System: “Commercial success as a prepress service provider depended first and foremost on the availability of the provider and on their ability to listen. This approach has allowed us to become a global consultant for larger companies to carry out feasibility studies from the earliest stages of product development. Our plates are 100% customized for each customer, so we create customized colour profiles for their specific printing press and fine-tune colour profiles to offer a stable plate so that it can print as close as possible to ISO standards”.

Printers obviously appreciate his efforts as they return time and again, while orders for wide-web jobs are also continuously increasing. Flexolution’s core market, which currently provides almost two million euros in revenue, is the food packaging sector and there are many label makers and flexible packaging printers who specify Flexcel NX plates. “A good example of the benefits they enjoy is a flexible packaging printer that recently produced 400 thousand metres of material and said the plate was stable and performed perfectly for the full length of the run”, adds Mr Ferrari. “Flexcel  NX Technology has also enabled us to be very competitive with gravure, thanks to the higher optical density achieved with Digicap NX Patterning Technology.”

The secret: DIGICAP NX Patterning Technology

Thanks to the Digicap  NX Patterning Technology, a micro surface texturization pattern is applied to the surface of all elements on the Flexcel NX plate with the result that, as Luca explains, “a greater pattern density and a reduction in ink volume is achieved, which translates into a better quality of highlights, while printers experience reduced start-up times and ink savings because, with Flexcel NX plates, they go straight into the production run.”

Digicap NX Patterning Technology also takes full advantage of Kodak SquareSpot Imaging Technology and its optical engraving resolution of 10,000 dpi that allows printers to reach a higher level of stability, accuracy and reliability in their printing operation.

Flexo – a competitive advantage over offset, gravure and digital

When Flexolution was established, its customers were competing with offset printing. “But now,” says Mr Ferrari, “considering the decrease in print run lengths, they also compete with digital. So, to give our customers the competitive edge, we have to supply the right plates that enable reduced make-ready times and fixed palette printing. Flexcel NX Plates enables us to do so. We are also investing in colour management software, which allows us to convert colours from Pantone to four-colour process jobs, demonstrating that this transition is not only possible with digital printing but also with flexo.”

For labels, it is now possible to produce greater brightness with flexo than with offset, thanks to the stability of the Flexcel NX plate. Flexcel NX Technology offers major benefits for flexible packaging too, as Mr Ferrari reveals: “Predominantly thanks to the decrease in print run lengths and the continuous change of jobs, Flexcel NX plates have allowed us to be very competitive with gravure thanks to the higher ink densities delivered by incorporating Digicap NX Patterning. In fact, some customers have successfully switched jobs from gravure to flexo.”