Prepress Optimization, Print Quality Management (PQM) and the Total Supply Chain

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A Plateroom Larger Than an NHL Hockey Rink, Meets the Needs of Brands & Converters Alike

SGS & Co has platerooms around the globe. All are stacked with an impressive collection of flexographic plate imaging, exposure, and processing technology. But the granddaddy of them all is the plateroom at SGS Minneapolis.

At just over 18,000 sq. ft.—larger than an NHL Hockey rink and NBA basketball court—it ranks near the top on the list of highest throughput facilities in North America. It’s also one of the most technically advanced and is able to produce flexographic plates for just about any application. SGS & Co VP Operations Rick Best explains: “It’s the technology and versatility needs of our customers that drove the expansion of the plateroom to its current size.”

A partial list of items in the “great hall” follows:

  • Digital flexographic imagers
    • CDI Crystal 5080
    • CDI Spark 5080 #1
    • CDI Spark 5080 #2
    • Kodak ThermoFlex 5080
    • Laser Ablation Rubber
  • Flexographic plate exposure units
    • XPS Crystal LED 5080 #1
    • XPS Crystal LED 5080 #2
    • DuPont 3000 ETL (multiple)
    • Kodak FLEXCEL NX
  • Flexographic plate processing units
    • Vianord EVO Inline (multiple)
    • DuPont Cyrel 3002 Inline
    • DuPont Cyrel FAST Thermal Processor (multiple)
  • Flexographic plate cutting

Toward an Increasingly Automated Future…

SGS & Co has been a leader in flexographic plate making automation from the beginning. “The first technology to be automated was plate processing,” reflects Manufacturing Manager Chuck Schoen. “We installed DuPont solvent-based inline systems, as well as FAST thermal processors as soon as they became available.”

Today’s inline plate processing enables an exposed plate to be loaded on the front end, then processed, dried and finished to a final press-ready plate on the back end. “The next area to be automated will be plate imaging and exposure,” adds Schoen. The Esko CDI Crystal and XPS Crystal will be connected to the plate processing system for full lights-out automation. “With the evolving labor shortage, automation is about economics and productivity,” states Best. “It’s also about quality… Fewer human touch points means less chance for error.”