An in-depth look at Xeikon’s ThermoFlexX 80 Flexo Imager

by Tony White

In advance of its debut at Labelexpo Europe 2013, flexo expert Tony White took a look at the new ThermoFlexX 80 large format Flexo Imager. This system joins the ThermoFlexX range of CtP machines and includes some of the latest technical innovations needed to meet the demands of today’s marketplace.

Xeikon has a long pedigree of more than 20 years involvement in developing advanced Computer to Plate technology. It was less than two years ago that the company decided to enter the flexo CtP market by introducing a range of machines which had already gained a foothold in the market. In addition Xeikon used the basis of an already familiar name ThermoFlexX to add to the prestige of the brand and coined the new name ThermoFlexX.

Xeikon carried out some extensive research into exactly what technology the flexo pre-press customers required from a flexo CtP range of machines. This guided the research and development team to come up with a whole raft of technological innovations which will stretch far into the future and make the machines extremely competitive for many years and meet the ever increasing demands for higher and higher quality from the flexo process.

With Labelexpo Europe on the horizon, Xeikon has chosen to introduce their new modular platform, the ThermoFlexX 80, which offers the latest technical innovations and can be updated as new developments are introduced. The machine is presented in the ThermoFlexX house colours of red and black which immediately identifies it as a member of the impressive ThermoFlexX range of CtP machines.

The open access technology of the ThermoFlexX machines means that the units can be seamlessly integrated with ANY workflow system currently available and allow further technological developments to be introduced in the future.

Two main topics of discussion which usually arise when dealing with CtP technology are Resolution and Speed. The ThermoFlexX 80 offers a range of 5 resolutions 2400, 2540, 4000, 4800 and 5080 dpi. Any two from this range can be installed on current machines and automatically switched by using “hot” folders.

Speed of plate production is the other very hot topic. Currently the output is about 4m./hour. However some very important speed developments will be introduced in the near future by using a dual head exposure system. This will mean that the ThermoFlexX 80 will be capable of a very impressive 12m./hour output whilst maintaining the very high quality associated with this machine. Therefore by the middle of 2014 an increase in speed of more than 40% will ensure that the machine offers a very competitive speed quality ratio.

The ThermoFlexX 80 can accept plates up to 1270 x 2032 mm and plate thicknesses from 0.73 to 6.35 mm making it a very useful and versatile unit for trade houses and the larger narrow web printer. Halftone screens up to 175 lpi can be achieved at the 2540 resolution and up to 250 lpi at the 5080 resolution making it the ideal for many current flexo applications.