Go Digital - increase press uptime through digitalization of your pre-press
By going digital in pre-press you can significantly increase efficiency, eliminate unnecessary errors and consequently boost your narrow-web press uptime.
Rieks Reyers, marketing & sales manager for graphics at Stork Prints, explains how this works.
The shift from analogue to digital
The conventional film-based pre-press procedure for rotary screen printing has served labeling, packaging and security printing companies well over the last two decades. But now a shift is taking place from analogue to digital. Film-based engraving is gradually disappearing from view. Big players like Kodak and Fuji have stopped supplying the market, and no one is making new
film plotters any more. Digital engraving of screens is already being carried out by larger narrow-web printers, and it is only a matter of time before the entire industry makes the switch. By going digital you eliminate many inherent drawbacks of using films. They become damaged relatively easily during use or
transport - through scratches, dents or fingerprints – and can deteriorate while in storage. Inaccurately mounting films on the press leads to misalignment which is often not detected until production has started– a costly mistake. And
using films during pre-press can be labor-intensive, time-consuming and necessitate considerable amounts of chemicals.
Three digital engraving options
Stork Prints offer three main options in digital pre-press: the rotaLEN, a one-of-a-kind direct engraver for in-the-round processing of Stork Prints RotaMesh
screens. With its one-step, ecological-friendly and chemical-free imaging process it reduces labor time by up to 45 percent while increasing quality
The rotaLEX, a compact and inexpensive desktop unit which uses laser exposure to engrave RotaPlate screens (for non Stork Prints systems) held in position on a magnetic drum.
The hybrid Helios system is compatible with both types of screen and can engrave flexo, dry offset and letterpress relief process plates, making it
suitable for a broad range of applications.
We even offer an upgrade kit for the rotaLEN, so you can insert a magnetic drum and engrave RotaPlate as well as RotaMesh screens.
Benefits of digital
With digital engraving your pre-press workflow changes completely. There is much less manual operation, which reduces the possibility of human error – and also means you can deploy personnel for other productive tasks. The turnaround time for screens is much shorter, and typically only takes 15 minutes with the rotaLEN. Fewer chemicals are required. Repeat imaging is simple and 100 percent predictable; simply call up the archived digital file and engrave a screen which is identical to its predecessor, down to the last pixel.
Even the reusability of screens increases as there are less process steps involved in engraving them.
We have already provided digital engraving solutions to leading label printers like RACO and CCL Label, as well as to banknote printers throughout Europe. What is unique about our offer is that we supply the equipment as well as
the screens, so you have a single supplier for all your needs, which also makes it much easier for us to address any issues which may arise.
Flexibility in financing
Of course, we realize that choosing an advanced digital engraving system can represent a major capital investment for your company, so we offer flexibility in financing. For example, it is possible to initially pay (substantially) less, and then to compensate through the screens you consume over the subsequent years. A number of our customers greatly appreciate this approach.
Increasing your productivity
The press is your most valuable asset; it's essential you maximize the amount of time it spends in production. By switching to digital you increase reproducibility while eliminating errors and inefficiencies in the pre-press process – which in turn means you can go a long way towards increasing your productivity.
This article was previously published in Labels & Labeling Yearbook.