Following the success at DRUPA 2012, this new series of flexo printing plates will debut in the Americas from September 11 thru 13 at the labeling show in Chicago
The roots of innovation
Going back more than six hundred years, most of us know that the world of industrial printing owes its origin to Johannes Guttenberg in Germany. With the newly developed Laserline printing plates for flexo, we can see that the spirit of innovation still continues to flourish in that country. ContiTech, a division of the major German corporation, Continental AG, based in Northeim, Germany has amassed wide-ranging competence and know-how in the offset printing business. This has enabled the company to jump-start the development of a brand-new industrial process for manufacturing its Laserline series of flexo printing plates. Aimed at the flexible packaging industry, these are supplied to the market as roll goods for direct laser engraving.
Enter four new flexo printing plates
Right now, there are just four thoroughbreds in the Laserline stable.
Between them, these plates embrace the full range of market application needs for flexo printing.
The plate systems with integrated substrate comprise a print layer, a compressible layer, which neutralizes the forces acting on the printing nip and the baser layer.
All the products are supplied as 30-meter rolls (depending on thickness) in widths up to 2,100 mm and in various thicknesses. This permits the user to cut off only as much as he needs for a particular job. Thus waste is greatly reduced.
For production of the flexo printing form, the rolls are merely mounted in the lengths actually required depending on the job to be engraved. This not only saves on the cost of plates (less waste) but also considerably reduces the time required for direct engraving. Blister-free, secure mounting of elastomer plates with a compressible base, which is cut to length from the roll, is done with a few simple steps.
All Conti Laserline flexo printing plates show significantly more durability than many peer products, due to their long service life and low abrasive wear.
The key features of the Laserline series at a glance:
Conti Laserline CSC
Designed especially for printing flexible packaging and labels, the CSC plate has a black, ethylene propylene diene monomer (M-class) (which we all know by now as EPDM) rubber layer. This rubber has a hardness of 65° Shore A and a surface roughness (Rz) value of 7.0 μm. It is available in thicknesses of 0.76 - 2.84 mm.
Featuring a unique integrated compressible layer, this plate does away with the need for expensive foam adhesive mounting tapes. The compressible layer ensures a good seal as well as high impact resilience (no material fatigue in the base) on the printing machine.
On high-speed machines in particular, this represents a considerable advantage, guaranteeing a stable and even ink transfer during the print run.
Moreover, the CSC flexo plate -
Conti Laserline CSX
The all-round CSX plate for printing flexible packaging and labels consists of a black EPDM rubber layer, as described above (CSC). This one does not have the compressible layer, but retains all the features and benefits which are attributed to the CSC series.
Conti Laserline CCX
Developed specially for printing onto corrugated board, the CCX not only has a peel-off styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) surface but also an integrated compressible layer. This helps to minimize any washboard effect on all of the most commonly used types of corrugated board. Similar to the CSC, the compressible layer also does away with the need for expensive foam adhesive tapes.
It is supplied in material thicknesses of 2.84 - 4.20 mm, the grey SBR cover layer and engraving layer have a hardness of 35° Shore A and a surface roughness (Rz) of 12 μm.
Similar to the CSC and CSX, this printing plate is dimensionally stable and demonstrates consistently sharp impression quality, ideal ink transfer – particularly for water-based inks – and high-resolution engraving.
Conti Laserline CSL
Specially designed for lacquer coating applications, the CSL plate features an integrated "peel-off" layer optimized for this purpose. The Laserline CSL is suitable for all solvent-based, water-based and UV curing coating systems.
This plate does not have the compressible layer.
Paramount Keystone - Engineering Green Value
Now that we’ve talked about the products, let’s take a look at what is behind them.
Engineering Green Value is the guiding principle behind ContiTech’s singular commitment to sustainability. Environmental and climate protection as well as sustainable business activities for the benefit of present and future generations are paramount keystones.
As one of the world’s leading companies in the field of rubber and plastics technology, the roll material manufactured by ContiTech Elastomer Coatings is to the highest tolerances and quality specifications. The various steps in production utilize a new calendar technology.
Commensurate with their Green Value principles, this new technology is completely solvent-free – setting them apart from the conventional, which is both complex and problematic. The composition and hardness of the elastomer material and the surface finish of the ContiTech Laserline roll material are harmonized for direct engraving and flexo printing.
As you have already read in this article, there are currently just the four printing plates, designated CSC (with compressible layer), CSX, CCX (with compressible layer) and CCL. These are at the forefront of a continuous dedication to supply the needs of the flexo market. The mother company’s structure encompasses a wide range of synergies in the complex field of industrial production of rubber-based products. These synergies will further support future endeavors of ContiTech Elastomer Coatings in supplying the flexo market with additional innovative products.
These will include flexo sleeves in a form which will possibly revolutionize conventional applications – and that is something really worth looking forward to!