DuPont Cyrel Solutions’ Lightning LSH Plate, a 2022 FTA Technical Innovation Award Recipient

Elaborating on points made, they say, “The invention allows plate makers to increase their efficiency on high-end and high-cost LED exposure units, while matching or exceeding the quality levels that have only been achieved with much longer exposure times. By bringing down the cycle time to the same level of other processes (imaging, washout, etc.), Cyrel Lightning plates allow a streamlined manual incremental or inline-automated plate making process without unnecessary bottlenecks.”

DuPont Cyrel Solutions 2022 FTA Technical Innovation Award Lightning LSH Plate
Magnified view of the dot as it is incorporated on DuPont Cyrel Solutions Lightning LSH plates

R&D team members also believe, “UV LED-optimized photopolymer plates are the true key to the success and future dominance of LED exposure technologies. LED costs are expected to come down and lower use of actinic fluorescent tubes, which will reduce overall energy consumption, as well as the environmental impact due to avoidance of mercury in the lamps. …It is crucial that energy source and UV-curing material (the photopolymer plate) are made more compatible. Adjusting the plate formulation for this light source is the way to go for optimal productivity and quality and to best utilize the high energy efficiency, uniformity and repeatability of the LED exposure. This allows plate making, and thus the flexo printing process, to increase its reliability and attractiveness to print buyers.”

Simply put, DuPont argues, “LED technology is gaining more space in this market and taking flexo printing to a higher level of quality and consistency. Flexographic printing and plate making are on a constant journey to improve capabilities and performance to achieve higher and higher levels of quality and consistency. Recent developments in UV LED technology have opened the doors for LEDs to be used in curing inks and also in the flexographic plate making process. In flexo terms, we are forming fine elements and surface structures, while photopolymerizing the bulk of the material sufficiently for stable shoulders and acceptable through-cure. Photopolymer plates used for printing and the process of making these, are a deciding factor for the print quality that can be reached.”

Optimal Benefits

Several advantages attributable to the use of Cyrel Lightning plates have been documented, as the result of selecting the optimal photopolymer and exposure parameter combination. Namely:

  • Standardized production
  • High consistency
  • Less operator interference
  • Fewer operator errors
  • Enhanced automation
  • Day-to-day repeatability
  • High quality
  • Flat top dot profile
  • High productivity
  • Crisp reproduction of the smallest features on the plate
  • Advanced screening and patterning
  • Excellent tonal range
  • Sharp type
  • Open reverses
  • Low dot gain
  • Long life and extensive run length when required

User Experience

One pioneer to adopt the UV LED technology in its prepress operation is Cyber Graphics, Memphis, TN. It made an external evaluation of the new photopolymer plate. “In flexo, we constantly talk about driving process optimization, so having a plate that is tuned for LED exposures, driving throughput, while still delivering the printing quality that we expect, was a great benefit to our business,” states Kevin Bourquin, VP operations. “The LSH plate delivers the same consistency that we want from a manufacturing process, in a much faster time.”

DuPont Cyrel Solutions 2022 FTA Technical Innovation Award Color Experts
Chespa, Poland, a flexographic trade shop known for pushing quality limits on promotional print samples, combines Cyrel Lightning LSH plate technology with an Esko XPS and 7-color expanded gamut solvent inks, reverse printed on transparent PET, with Apex International GTT anilox rolls.

An Esko XPS Crystal unit allows Cyber Graphics to hold the smaller features needed to produce higher-level packaging that rivals gravure and digital printing. “Having the best of both worlds—in plate and equipment—is going to benefit the industry from the quality and consistency standpoint,” Bourquin maintains. “All of this can be achieved when selecting the optimal photopolymer and exposure parameter combination. The industry needs to focus on the LED technology, as this is becoming the main exposing technology, because of what it does in terms of consistency. …We can deliver high-quality and faster results, across different packaging mediums and span the entire prepress process—from concept to press. When packaging graphics are designed with print production in mind, we can speed time-to-market and reduce costs.”

About the Contributor

DuPont Cyrel Solutions offers a broad range of flexographic solutions that optimize the quality, productivity and sustainability of printers/converters and trade shops. A pioneer in the thermal processing technology, DuPont counts 40+ years of experience and high-level expertise in flexography, and it continues to deliver innovative solutions and best-in-class technical support to make customers thrive.