Market survey – Three questions to Pascal Thomas from Esko
GERMANY • How is the current and future status of flexo printing forms? Our sister magazine Flexo & Gravure Global have asked several suppliers of printing formes and prepress service companies for their opinions. Pascal Thomas, Esko’s director of flexo business, participated at this market survey talking about flexo plate-making processes, further optimisation potential as well as Industry 4.0.
Is there any further optimisation potential for flexo plate-making (plates, sleeves) processes?
Pascal Thomas, Esko: Yes, there are, primarily in the following two areas:Productivity and, consequently, imaging quality, are determined by the LAMS layer. With a more sensitive LAMS layer for fibre lasers, the same imaging productivity can be achieved with a lower laser performance, reducing CTP machinery costs. (…)
Industry 4.0 – a huge topic. During drupa 2016, suppliers like Esko, Vianord and AV Flexologic introduced solutions for the further automation of the flexo plate-making processes. Do you consider this as indicative of a trend towards a sustainable change of the whole flexo industry?
Pascal Thomas: (…) In terms of automation, the entire platemaking process will soon become fully automated. Once a plate has been placed on the CDI, it will not need to be touched again until the production process is completed. In this case, a process of nine steps will be reduced to one single step! This fully automated plate production will be launched in Italy in the summer of 2017. There is a huge amount of interest, and many will (or must) follow this example to increase efficiency and reduce costs.