An area of platemaking that is gaining renewed attention is plate processing for corrugated, multiwall and single wall packaging. Martin Stewart, MD of Polygraphics (a member of the Polyflex Group) explains “With the focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly packaging, brand owners are exploring board based packaging” This is increasing demands for these outer cartons to feature high end graphics with full colour palettes and ever more intricate designs, which match what is currently seen on plastic packaging. The large cylinder sizes of convertor’s presses, and the flexibility (spongyness?) of the materials add complexity to the platemaking and mounting.
Polyflex has supported this trend with various investments, including the recent acquisition of Corr-o-flex from Neopak, and they now support carton board converters out of their Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Nairobi plants. Martin continues “There are various challenges with producing plates for these substrates. Extensive cushion mounting is required to minimise the chance of damage to the board during printing and the sheer size of the plates present other problems. We can process plates up to 2m x 1.2m and our clients will often request that we nest, or group a number of designs on a plate”
Grouping different designs is known traditionally as producing slugs, which are then clamped together. Polyflex has invested in Konsberg tables to allow for automated mounting. This facilitates mounting accuracy down to microns. These diecut tables also allow for prototyping of samples. “We can replicate construction, print and material at proofing stage” says Martin.
Priven Narainsammy, Gauteng Regional Manager of Polyflex adds “We are able to achieve real simulation of print by proofing on our Bieffebi mounter/proofer. Dot gain, distortion and material are all able to be replicated on the pull proof supplied to our customers with their plates”