Polyflex is a company that keeps a close watch on developments with anilox as well as the consumer packaging market as a whole. Production Manager, Stuart Baylis says “A Brand Manager judges a brand’s success largely based on sales achieved, and not only the visual appeal of the packaging. Equally a printer or convertor judges success on the efficiency and increased throughput of a press, and not only the appearance of the print” He explains further “However the right ink/ anilox/ plate combination is critical in achieving the vibrancy and intricacy of the designs which brand owners are approving. It is well known now that a consumer buying decision is made within seconds, and this decision is largely based on the three factors of brand recognition, attractiveness and packaging functionality”.
Emmanuel Narainsamy, the Polyflex Process Manager says that convertors are looking for increased efficiency in the nonproductive set-up times of a job, as well as print consistency during the run. This is best achieved from the optimum combination of ink/ anilox/ plate and the compatibility with the press condition. “But there is no ‘silver bullet’ “he says. “The success of a plate depends on its ability to release ink onto the substrate, and this is very dependent on the ink transfer rate of the anilox. This is a significant contributing factor in the efficiency of the press”
Stuart agrees. “We find that the anilox/ plate impression is as important as the plate/ substrate impression. The convertor is looking to optimize press speed and reduce ink consumption. This can be achieved through the anilox releasing the right amount of ink onto the plate and it, in turn, releasing the right amount onto the substrate, whilst maintaining the required density and thus vibrancy of the design”.
The Polyflex team also keeps a close watch on the development of digital printing in the consumer-packaged market. The team maintains that new plate and anilox developments are helping traditional flexo printing to successfully maintain an edge on digital printing through improved efficiency, colour control and throughput speed. Expanded colour gamut or fixed palette printing as well as flat top dot plates are examples of developments finding increasing support in the market.