Imageworx – A new 3D motion and security label flexo process
THE NETHERLANDS • Utilized in offset printing for years, lenticular printing is not a new process, however recent extrusion advancements and a major reduction in lenticular film thickness have allowed for a new market to emerge for flexo printers. Imageworx has developed a design/imaging technique that works in concert with the high resolution capabilities of Kodak NX plates.
Jeff Toepfer from Imageworx explains: “In the USA, lenticular products have been around for decades. They were produced with a sheet-fed offset print process and much thicker, non-flexible, lenticular lens materials. Just recently, we began developing art with brand new roll-fed lens films that conform to the thickness requirements for product wrap and roll-fed dispensing requirements of pressure sensitive labeling. The effects that can be translated through the film are incredibly attractive, and the detailed security images built at Imageworx are nearly impossible to recreate. Our goal was to create designs that draw immediate consumer attention through motion optics, and to develop cost-efficient security brand protection labels to protect the authenticity of highly counterfeited Items.”
Lenticular printing consists of a combined image information behind a lenticular film of rod-shaped or lenticular lenses. These lenses filter the image information, depending on the viewing angle.
This new roll-fed lens film uses micro lenses (a technology that is also used for 3D displays), to magnify printed micro images and show illusion of depth, movement or the ability to change or morph into a new image as the label is viewed from different angles.
New in this case is the resolution. The vertical lenses per inch on the film are three to five times higher in frequency than a typical lenticular film and are thin enough to be used as a wrap-around label. With 1:1 linear pixel processing capabilities down to 2.6 microns and high-resolution Kodak NX plates, Imageworx has developed a design/imaging technique that works in concert with the remarkable resolution capabilities of this plate.
New advancements in flexo plate imaging along with the print capabilities of the MPS EF press have resulted in a new process of manufacturing security and 3D motion flexo roll labels. Creating lenticular images at high resolution required a printing press that can print a microscopic line with limited impression and dot gain. Jeff explained: “I’ve seen an ongoing issue with dot gain and over impression when printing high resolution lenticular flexo projects. It is very important to limit the amount of ink transfer and line thickness gain to produce a desirable result. What I found most impressive about the MPS EF series press was that it produced the minimum amount of ink transfer required while maintaining ideal densities, and it was surprisingly able to produce a similar result at both 60 and 200 m/min (197 and 656 fpm).”