Esko, Packaging & Commercial Print

Punto Grafico Produces Flexo Plates More Efficiently with the Help of EskoArtwork

Looking to boost performance, streamline workflows and attract new business, Punto Gráfico s.r.l. has turned to EskoArtwork, completely revamping its operations with the implementation of EskoArtwork's CDI 5080, HD Flexo, Digital Flexo Suite and a Kongsberg XL24 digital finishing table.

Located in Argentina, Punto Gráfico specializes in manufacturing photopolymer digital and conventional plates for corrugated and flexible packaging and labels. In its 15th year, the prepress service provider is the first South American company to use EskoArtwork's Digital Flexo Suite (DFS), which delivers a powerful set of tools for automated platemaking while reducing plate waste. The newest CDI works alongside a CDI Spark XT 4835, which the shop has used for several years.

"Our company's growth is the result of ongoing research and investment in cutting-edge technology, as we are committed to helping clients achieve their goals while minimizing costs," says Evangelina Perez, manager of Punto Gráfico. "We continually seek technological innovation so we are able to meet our customers' requirements, whether it's a simple project or a job requiring complex graphics with six colors."

It's a whole new world

EskoArtwork's industry-leading technology is having dramatic impact at Punto Gráfico, beginning with the Digital Flexo Suite for corrugated, which gives Punto Gráfico the benefit of a fully digital flexo workflow, from imaging straight through to plate-ready mounted carrier sheets. DFS, automatically and with computerized accuracy, sends a job to the imaging device, creates files for the cutting layout and data files for mounting--all in an instant. Next is the CDI 5080, allowing large-format corrugated jobs, once confined to an analog plate workflow, to enjoy the full benefits of an all-digital, filmless CTP system. HD Flexo, although not in full production mode, is already delivering incredibly high quality imaging, with line screens that range from 150-170 lpi. Last, but certainly not least, the Kongsberg XL24 finishing table provides ultra-precise cutting, quickly and on a variety of plate materials.

"With Digital Flexo Suite (DFS), CDI 5080 and the Kongsberg table, we've been able to improve productivity and quality, a necessity as we look to reach more customers," notes Evangelina.

The large-format CDI 5080 lets Punto Gráfico digitally image all of its plates, even jumbo size plates for corrugated jobs. Not only does the digital workflow improve turnaround and reduce costs, it also bumps up the quality level. The CDI 5080 is capable of holding a 1% dot, which is not possible with an analog system.

"The fact that we no longer have to make conventional plates is very important," says Evangelina. "Before (with the larger format jobs) we had to make conventional plates using analog films. We had to make the film, measuring the dimensions and manually combining many plates from the films. Then we had to physically carry the large plates to the UV exposure unit. Now, with the CDI Spark 5080, it's a completely digital workflow--we are going straight from imaging to processing. It is a vast improvement."

Large-format plates are produced in 40 minutes, instead of taking hours and hours. The CDI Spark XT 4835 is still up and running, imaging 1200x900 mm plates, while the CDI 5080 takes on the larger sizes, imaging plates in thicknesses from 1.14 to 6.35 mm for plates up to 1270 x 2032 mm (50x80 inches).

Precision cuts

The Kongsberg XL24 offers precise cutting of flexographic plates, for mounting on a carrier or a Mylar. "Before we had the Kongsberg table, we had to manually cut each plate patch by hand, which was a very slow process," says Evangelina. "It was also a waste of labor. Using the Kongsberg table provides a much better patch cut with exceptional precision. Patches are also more easily placed in their correct position because they are cut precisely. If the patch is exact, it will fit perfectly. Also, our customers are very happy with the quality of the beveled cut from the Kongsberg table--it is much improved from what we were able to do before. It also makes it easier for our customers."

Plate waste is also reduced, a combination of the Digital Flexo Suite's PlatePatcher module and the Kongsberg's precision. PlatePatcher minimizes overall plate consumption, automatically dividing large format layouts into smaller-size plate patches, adding crossmarks and reference codes for reassembly.

Punto Gráfico employs three different mounting systems, depending on the job and its level of complexity. Simple jobs can be accelerated through EskoArtwork's Plot & Cut system, with the Cyrel Macroflex and PreMount options used for more complex work. The Kongsberg table, notes Evangelina, is able to work easily with all three systems.

"In combination with the CDI and the Kongsberg table, the new PreMount workflow reduces plate and solvent use as well as the handling of digital polymer carrier sheets. Polymer plate material can be imaged and pre-assembled on Mylar, in perfect registration," explains Evangelina.

With the installation of EskoArtwork technology, Punto Gráfico has accomplished its mission: jobs are produced more efficiently, at a higher quality level, and at a lower cost. "Manual, analog workflows cause many errors," says Evangelina. "Our employees couldn't give each job their complete attention because they make a lot of films on a daily basis and each film patch has to be placed correctly on the right plate. Our operators work on many different jobs, and the manual process was susceptible to errors.

"Now the system is computerized," emphasizes Evangelina. "Everything we need is right there, in the computer. When the patches are made, our staff recognizes the registration marks made on each plate. They recognize which patches belong to which jobs, and there is virtually no way that a patch can be misplaced or positioned incorrectly."

Concludes Evangelina, "We are very happy with the new system."