Reproflex3 expands plate services with ThermoFlexX 80-D imager

Ypres, Belgium, 6th October, 2016 – Reproflex3, which specialises in providing pre-press for FMCG packaging along with premium flexographic plates, has expanded the production facilities at its Newcastle site with the installation of the UK’s second dual-head ThermoFlexX 80-D digital flexo plate imager. The implementation coincides with an increase in the use of nyloflex® photopolymer plates from Flint Group, which is now the parent company of ThermoFlexX following its acquisition of Xeikon.

“We’ve been winning an increasing amount of pre-press and plate business from printers operating wider flexo webs than we have in previous years,” says Reproflex3 joint managing director Andrew Hewitson. “It was reaching the point where we needed to invest in a larger digital flexo plate imager and one that also provided significantly faster throughput. The ThermoFlexX 80-D meets these criteria plus a great deal more.

“The phenomenal imaging speed of 12 square metres an hour, combined with the imager’s ability to handle flexo plates from any manufacturer, has resulted in the ThermoFlexX 80-D quickly proving itself to be an extraordinary workhorse. At the same time, it provides us with the ability to output at resolutions of up to 5,080 dpi, enabling the finest detailed work to be produced. Within days of its implementation we were able to deliver plates much more quickly to our customers and speed is critical in today’s market.”

ThermoFlexX software MultiPlate, which enables fast job set-up and remakes, is included in the system package. This has been interfaced with Reproflex3’s existing Kodak workflow, a task made simple by the completely open architecture of ThermoFlexX imagers. Reproflex3 receives files from printers throughout the UK as well as mainland Europe and once processed through the Kodak workflow jobs are sent as 1-bit TIFF files to the imager.

“The ThermoFlexX 80-D is packed with features that enhance productivity and quality while making it easy to operate. For example, the ability to mix resolutions on one plate or to use partial plates and to handle a wide range of hybrid and surface screening technologies makes the imager extremely flexible and cost effective. The latter has also been enhanced by the use of Flint Group’s nyloflex® photopolymer plates, which offer a highly competitive option.

“The ThermoFlexX engineer trained our plateroom manager over the few days it took to install the imager and he has since trained other staff. Many of them have said how straightforward the imager is to use, with the FlexTray system being a real aid to loading large plates with the minimum risk of damage. The ThermoFlexX vacuum slider system is a clever device, which has reduced running costs by allowing partial plates and smaller jobs to be quickly mounted and imaged.”

In addition to its premises in Newcastle, Reproflex3 has opened state-of-the-art pre-press and platemaking facilities in Bristol and Dubai. All three sites provide a huge array of pre-press services, from fingerprinting and press profiling to comprehensive artwork and colour management, proofing and platemaking. Strict standardisation throughout all procedures ensures consistency of output across the sites.

“We work closely with printers, convertors and brand owners, from initial discussions about design to the final printed product,” says Andrew Hewitson. “At our main plant in Newcastle we service the flexible packaging, corrugated and label sectors. We’re increasingly seeing a trend for flexible packaging to be printed using flexo presses, rather than gravure, and this is bringing significant new work to our door as we specialise in serving the premium end of the packaging sector.

“We’ve been extremely impressed by the quality of output from the ThermoFlexX 80-D and so have our customers. The imager will play a vital part in our future growth. We have plans to extend the current two shifts to three, which will allow us to provide around the clock platemaking services. This is just one of the areas we are looking to invest in and we expect to be making some exciting announcements over the coming months, so it’s very much a case of watch this space!”