Color Engine combines CMYK profiles with patented special color profiles. These special colors are profiled and stored in a database, resulting in superior special color matching for digital proofing. Using Color Engine, Flexografix was profiling the Epson proofer to customer presses. “It was game changing for us,” says Cooper. “We were delivering our customers a proof less expensively, with much better color accuracy, and also much quicker.”
Keen understanding of its customers’ challenges led Flexografix to Esko screening and Imaging Engine in 2007. Imaging Engine lets Flexografix customize and build their own screens, based on our customers’ unique applications. With better highlight screening, users get the benefits of a constant manageable dot size without the “grainy” effect often complained about in other transitional screens. It also eliminated the hard flexo edge, allowing graphics to softly fade to zero while holding onto striking highlight detail.
“Our customers were struggling with designer files that needed to fade to zero,” says Pavett. “We were running a minimum dot — usually 2% — to avoid a hard flexo edge. But, by doing so, we were contaminating colors that were not in the designers’ intent. With Esko screening, we could drop to .5% dots, dropping even to solid white. Vignettes and drop shadows are softer, and there is improved consistency between press runs.”
Flexografix, realizing they were onto something big, created a side-by-side printed package. One used the customized highlights, while the other didn’t. “We took the sample to a certain brand owner, showed the two samples, and asked her which one she liked,” explains Cooper. “The brand owner selected the custom highlights, and we ended up creating packaging of over 400 product SKUs for that customer. Both the customer (converter) and the brand owner were happy with the end result. We were able to avoid the hard flexo edge and produce a soft black to white fade. There were drop shadows everywhere—but it all worked out beautifully.”
In December 2011, Flexografix installed its second CDI, a 4260 with HD Flexo. “Our original CDI is bullet proof. From 2002 to 2011, we imaged over 14,000 sheets of photopolymer with minimal maintenance and negligible downtime,” says Pavett.
Faster and faster
Flexografix’s latest CDI was brought on board to meet customer requirements for faster turnarounds. “Customers need plates fast,” notes Cooper. “By going to a larger format, a bigger size, we increased capacity.”
Nine months into their new CDI, the Flexografix team has been testing HD Flexo, optimizing the best screens for its customers. HD Flexo combines 4000 dpi HD optics with unique screening technologies to achieve sharper and more accurate imaging. The result is excellent print quality and simplified plate production because the high-resolution optics delivers sharper imaging of text and lines and more clearly defined, better shaped screen dots.
The company is also experimenting and building samples using Equinox, Esko’s system for implementing extended color gamut printing.
“We are looking to offer an expanded color gamut as an alternative to Pantone spot colors,” says Cooper. “If we can improve the appearance of a package, reduce customer setup time, and save money – that creates a stronger bond between us and our customers. Using Equinox, the converter doesn’t have to change the inks, and images will look better because you’re enhancing the color gamut with orange, green, and blue.”
“We know what the product will do for our customers,” explains Pavett. “They can get 30-40% more press capacity with extended gamut because they won’t be changing inks, saving set-up time, making them more competitive and increasing their profits. That’s a pursuit in process that we hope, in 2012, will come to fruition.”