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Flexicon AG expands its flexo platemaking capacity with large-format KODAK FLEXCEL NX System from Miraclon

  • September 09, 2019
Flexicon-01

Flexicon AG describes itself as one of the world’s leading providers of prepress and premedia services in the consumer goods and packaging industries. With its headquarters in Halle, Germany, and subsidiaries in North America, Asia and Russia as well as several sales representative offices, Flexicon supplies all common flexo plate types to major flexo packaging printers in both Europe and the rest of the world.

Since Flexicon was established in 1986, the emphasis has been on producing plates of the very highest quality for even the most complex designs. Their team’s extensive know-how and experience have been accumulated in primary packaging, PoS materials and the steadily growing corrugated packaging segment.

Delivering the highest quality plates around the globe
The Printer Business Unit, headed by Ulrich Rosendahl, is the company’s intermediary between design agencies, brand owners and retailers on the one hand and plate manufacturers, printers and assorted technology partners on the other. Parallel to this, Flexicon has successfully developed direct global business over the last few years with brands such as Procter & Gamble, Mondelez, Essity and Danone, and has six Brand Business Units for various consumer goods.

FLEXCEL NX Plate technology is the answer to satisfy market requirements
A KODAK FLEXCEL NX Wide 5080 System from Miraclon, which can produce flexo plates in sizes up to 1270 x 2032 mm – the largest format available –, went into operation at Flexicon in May 2019. This investment further complements the company’s existing flexo plate production in the premium sector and now also allows packaging printers access to flexo technology.

Rosendahl explains how the FLEXCEL NX System expands Flexicon’s platemaking capacity: “Thanks to the FLEXCEL NX Plates, we’re now in a position to meet the constantly rising demand in this area while continuing to use our trusted LAMS imaging systems for the rest. Many printers love FLEXCEL NX Plates as they are not only easy to handle, but also extremely stable and longer-lasting in their experience. The plates also guarantee very high print quality. Attributes such as stability against process fluctuations or good reproducibility are regularly mentioned in the same breath as FLEXCEL NX. As a service provider, we endeavor to comply with our customers’ wishes, which is why it was a logical step to widen our expertise in flexo plates with the KODAK FLEXCEL NX Plate technology. We can use it to give the market exactly what it wants and cooperate with printers regardless of their preferred flexo process.”

In the meantime, the FLEXCEL NX System at the headquarters in Halle produces in two shifts, or three if need be. An investment in a second system could be on the cards in the future if the reception in the market stays sufficiently positive.

Premium class among digital flexo plates
Flexicon positions FLEXCEL NX System manufactured plates in its premium class. Apart from their intrinsic flat top dot structure, the company cites the Advanced DIGICAP NX Patterning, which controls the delivery of ink to media in a targeted way as a condition of high printable densities, as one of the principal benefits. The outcome: superior print contrast with more depth and brilliance in the images. As Flexicon sees it, the shorter make-ready and longer washing intervals during production are other advantages of the FLEXCEL NX Plates for printers.

Driving the transformation of flexo
After just a few months of using the FLEXCEL NX System, Flexicon already supplies FLEXCEL NX Plates to valued, longstanding Flexicon customers  and leading European flexible packaging printers. Global players like Amcor, Mondi and Coveris as well as premier packaging producers with the highest quality expectations such as Elif, Nordfolien and Neemann are just a few examples.

A systematic approach in their transition to flexo was adopted. To begin with, a benchmark test was carried out and evaluated for each packaging printer using 1.14 mm thick FLEXCEL NXH Plates and a standard test chart from Miraclon. This was followed by fingerprinting with customized test charts.

Since then, these packaging producers have all started testing their first jobs on FLEXCEL NX Plates. Rosendahl sums up the reactions so far: “Spot on the mark in every respect. Smooth preparation followed by a successful premiere with results that lived up to the high expectations on all counts, and in some cases exceeded them. There’s definitely more to come!”

Encouraged by the excellent feedback, Flexicon is now considering using FLEXCEL NXC Plates in cooperation with customers for printing on corrugated board.