Asahi Photoproducts, a pioneer in flexographic photopolymer plate development, reported that Excelsior Marking, located in Akron, Ohio, has adopted Asahi Photoproducts’ AFP™-R reduced solvent flexographic plates for its service bureau business to support printing of flexo graphics for its customers. The company, founded in 1905, is a marking products company that, in addition to producing flexographic printing plates, also offers metal engraving, metal stamping and more. Its 19 talented team members work to provide exceptional services to its trade customers.
‘We have used numerous Asahi products in the past,’ said Brian Collins, Excelsior’s Technical Sales Manager. ‘This included AFP™-DSF, the AFP™-BFT family of plates, AFP™-TOP and AFP™-TSP. The AFP™-R plate is the first one where we have worked with Asahi’s distributor Wikoff Color Corporation. In addition to the AFP™-R plate, we are still using the flat top BFT and medium hard DSF plates, as well.’
The AFP™-R plate is a solvent washable plate with reduced environmental impact and improved pre-press and press productivity. It can save 30% in solvent use and is 50% faster in platemaking, saving time and energy. This is another milestone in Asahi’s sustainability journey, reinforcing its dedication to continuously improving product development in balance with the environment. This is a hard flexo plate for high quality flexible packaging, label and paper applications, featuring several improvements when compared to a standard solvent-wash plate.
Why Use AFP™-R Flexo Plates
Tami Warlop, Excelsior’s Graphics Manager, noted that key drivers for switching to the Asahi reduced solvent plate related primarily to the faster processing time. ‘With these plates, our plate turnaround time is about an hour to an hour and a quarter faster. The washout and drying times are cut in half compared to other material we use. And I will say that the number one thing we are seeing with the AFP™-R plates is the consistency. We rarely have to change the setting for the relief from box to box, which is huge for us. With other products we have tested, the exposure times may change for back exposure from batch to batch, costing us time and effort to get the quality we need.’
Collins noted that another key factor was to be able to offer Asahi’s CleanPrint technology to clients. ‘This is important to them,’ he added, ‘because they achieve better press efficiency since they rarely have to stop the press for plate cleaning and thus the plates last an average of twice as long. Some are using solvent inks, while others are using UV inks, with both types of clients being very happy with these plates.’ Collins reported that flexo platemaking comprises about 50% of the company’s business.
CleanPrint plates from Asahi Photoproducts have been specifically engineered by Asahi’s chemical engineers to transfer all remaining ink to the printed substrate, reducing make-ready time, ink consumption and press stops for plate cleaning, while delivering exceptionally consistent quality.
Another benefit for Excelsior is that the company has gained new customers as a result of working with Asahi Photoproducts and Wikoff, through adding these new plates.