Esko has added a Letterpress option for metal-backed plates to its HD plate imaging technology. This means that brands can print plastic and metal packaging such as beverage or aerosol cans with a wider tonal range, along with a significant increase of detail and improved productivity.
Thomas Klein, VP Hardware Business at Esko, explains: “The primary difference is that a special digital Inline UV curing system was developed for steel-back platemaking, and that the Esko CDI imager is delivered with a magnetic drum.”
The digital Inline UV head uses a UV LED light source and delivers 4000 dpi imaging, which gives sharper lines and has easier to read positive and reverse text. Esko also claims that it will deliver sharper screening dots, finer highlights and smooth gradients over the whole tonal scale.
By engineering the UV light output to the characteristics of the steel backed polymer plates, HD Letterpress allows steeper shoulders of the printed dots – ensuring much finer highlights and truly smooth vignettes in print. Because the UV exposure is now integrated within the imager rather than on an external light table, any waste due to dust, finger prints or daylight exposure is eliminated.
The HD Letterpress should image plates from most of the leading plate vendors. The standard CDI Letterpress imager can be field upgraded to the HD Letterpress spec. The HD Letterpress CDI is up to six times faster than traditional direct laser engraving technologies. Esko also says that ink transfer is improved, so press operators won’t have to wash out plates so often.
The new HD Letterpress imager is available now worldwide and will debut at the Label Expo show tomorrow.