Acme chooses Kodak for new Cape facility
DURING March, as South Africa was preparing for a massive lockdown, Acme Graphics was in the process of establishing a flexo plate manufacturing facility in Cape Town, to complement its Johannesburg and Durban sites, propelling the company into national manufacturing status.
Says Hauke Liefferink, Acme Graphics MD: ‘Brand owners and packaging converters can now use our services countrywide, without the need to travel or ship plates. This is especially important in the new world we’re entering where travel is restricted.’ As part of this development an important purchase was a Kodak Flexcel NX System, supplied by Thunderbolt Solutions.
As the business is recognised as an essential supplier to the packaging industry, the installation of the new system could not be delayed until the end of the lockdown. So, despite the limited assistance available from riggers, air conditioning technicians and other services, Thunderbolt had to meet the April 1 deadline.
During commissioning, the Kodak system, now under the Miraclon brand (PPM, April 2019) was put through its paces to test capabilities, and cloud-based automation for file preparation was set up according to Acme Graphics’ stringent quality controls. According to Hauke, these tests were successful and surpassed his expectations.
The system’s TIFF Assembler Plus software provides the necessary tools to prepare TIFF files for platemaking.
Downstream applications are automated in the workflow, by additional data inclusions to the files before ripping, and the software recognises this during the layout preparation phase, with automatic selection of DigiCap patterns and Hyperflex options. ‘The system gives us the biggest range of plate choices in the South African marketplace,’ claims Hauke. ‘We can process conventional digital plates, flat-top dot plates with or without surface engineering, and Kodak Flexcel NX plates with ink saving DigiCap technology. We can also offer digitally modulated screening, enabling printing up to 500lpi and the option of converting an existing flexo press to a CMYK digital press,’ he adds.
Flexcel NX plates are proven to be robust and consistent in the manufacturing process, allowing for additional quality controls to be put into place before exposing a plate, and time after time results are reproduced to Miraclon’s exacting standards. This advanced plate processing equipment allows fine detail to remain on the plate after it’s exposed, processed and finished. Tests have shown that although the plate is rated at 300lpi, minimum dots remain printable at 500lpi which confirms the quality of the polymer used to manufacture these flexo plates.
Acme Graphics Cape Town will be managed by Jason Stiles and his team, who have decades of experience in the field.