Neuefeind GmbH of Ochtendung, Germany, is a provider of technology services encompassing all aspects of the flexographic packaging process, far in excess merely of prepress and platemaking. The family-run firm employs 20 specialists, and in terms of turnover its business divides into roughly 60% direct printing on corrugated board, 20% preprint corrugated and 20% flexible packaging.
Neuefeind operates a FLEXCEL NX Wide 5080 System from Miraclon, which allows flexo platemaking in formats of up to 1270 x 2032 mm. Customers in various sectors of the packaging printing industry profit not only from the higher print quality that comes from production with FLEXCEL NX Plates but also from improved efficiency, productivity and stability on press.
Depending on the job and the printing application, Neuefeind can supply both press-ready FLEXCEL NXC Plates for printing on corrugated and FLEXCEL NXH Plates in different thicknesses for other uses. According to Sven Neuefeind, Technical Director and Quality Management Officer, customer feedback regarding the FLEXCEL NX Plates is invariably positive, and indeed many clients are reluctant to accept anything else. DIGICAP NX Patterning, which enables maximum control and stable ink transfer in combination with Advanced Edge Definition (AED), is decisive criterion when it comes to getting the most out of the FLEXCEL NX Plates. Neuefeind confirms that choosing the optimum DIGICAP NX surface pattern can make all the difference. The company has its own selection strategy here, which was developed specifically for this purpose and takes account of the press parameters.
FLEXCEL NX – more than simply more quality
When asked where the advantages of the FLEXCEL NX Solution lie for printing on corrugated, Peter Schreier, Customer Service Director, mentions the example of a longstanding customer who does most of their business in the premium segment with coated top liners: ‘Our FLEXCEL NXC Plates were the catalyst for that client’s tremendous leap in press productivity because they permitted significantly longer cleaning intervals, even with fine screens of 150 to 175 lpi. The client is similarly excited about the plates’ printing results, notably in the highlights.’ Numerous customers in the corrugated sector have testified to the FLEXCEL NX Plate technology’s other positive effects – the higher ink densities and better opacity on coated top liners, the improved ink laydown during overprinting (e.g. type on background, particularly with metallic inks) and the option that is opened up thanks to the different DIGICAP NX surface patterns of selectively controlling the ink volume transferred on presses with only one set of anilox rollers but corrugated print jobs with varying types of top liner.
Peter Schreier cites an example from the flexible packaging segment: ‘By switching to FLEXCEL NX Plates, our customer realised a double-digit increase in productivity on an older press model. Plate cleaning intervals have been all but eliminated, even during temporary print stoppages. We also found on-press behavior to be very stable in the highlights, which is good for print quality.’
FLEXCEL NX’s capabilities have repeatedly helped Neuefeind win orders for flexo from other printing processes, for instance from digital as illustrated by a recent example at a paper napkin production plant. ‘The customer wanted a subject to be printed in digital-like quality. The challenge was that the image to be printed consisted simply of multicolored rings with gradients approaching a tonal value of 0%. The whole thing was rendered even more difficult by the fact that, owing to the press configuration, it was not possible to exchange the anilox rollers in order to adjust the pick-up volume,’ Peter Schreier explains. ‘However, by applying our specific NX strategy, we managed to print the subject using Maxtone hybrid screening on FLEXCEL NX Plates such that no tonal breaks or ink build-up was visible.’
All of this is clear evidence that Miraclon’s KODAK FLEXCEL NX Solution has developed into an indispensable production tool for Neuefeind.
Forward-looking partner to packaging printers
Neuefeind GmbH was founded in 1993 by Dieter Neuefeind, who is still Managing Director to this day. Over the decades, the business has evolved from a small, craft-based specialist to a technology-oriented service provider with four separate divisions: Neuefeind Prepress covers prepress, data organisation and platemaking while Neuefeind Support assists users with all printing-related matters, Neuefeind Academy caters for the printing and marketing sector’s growing demand for customised training and Neuefeind Innovation focuses on future issues relevant for the printing and packaging trade, the aim being to formulate suitable solution strategies for the company and its clients. Neuefeind has several industry certifications, including a quality management system certified to DIN EN ISO 9001. Miraclon certification as a Certified Partner for KODAK FLEXCEL NX Plates is likewise planned for later this year.