When we refer to the necessary tools used in the flexographic process, we must do it from two points of view, one, from the design area and the other, from its production, both go hand in hand at the time of the manufacture of a cliche or plate flexographic.
To work on the designs that will later be sent to be produced, it is necessary to install programs on the PC or Mac computer that adapt to the type of work to be developed, the basic ones being:
- CorelDRAW, Is a vector graphic design computer application, developed by the Corel corporation, it is designed to perform multiple functions such as drawings, layout, web advertising, launched in 1989.
- Adobe Photoshop, Is a photo editor program, developed by Adobe Systems in 1986, can edit and compose raster images and supports various color models: RGB, CMYK, CIELAB, solid colors and halftones.
- Adobe Illustrator Is a vector graphics editor, it works on a drawing board, its main function is the creation of highly professional illustrative graphic material.
- Artpro, Is a packaging prepress editor for Mac, with more than 20 years in the market. Offering technology dedicated to addressing prepress hot spots. It supports industry standard file formats and can be integrated into any packaging workflow.
- TIFF Assembler Plus, Is a program developed by Kodak that offers the possibility to control the cutting margin around external or built-in masks, camera masks with labels to simplify the cutting configuration, travel direction control to support blade cutting beveled. It has advanced label and label placement options and supports the Esko Line Editor clipping mask in LEN file conversions.
- Esko Bitmap, With this program you can digitally verify the ripped data, checking its content and printability before output, likewise, you can preview lineatures, angles, line thickness, dot gain, resolution, minimum dot size and many other data of the job itself.
- Agfa Apogee, It is a workflow software that offers to maintain an overview of PDF files, allowing you to control each phase of the production process from a single user interface.
- VisualRip, is a workflow software developed by Caldera, which offers to allow users to operate various devices through large-format printing and print-to-cut production.
With the design process ready, we will address the minimum necessary tools (machinery) involved in the elaboration of the flexographic plate, for which we name some manufacturers according to the development of the process:
Display Machines: in them the polymerization and / or hardening of the image areas engraved on the plate is achieved, it is the first step of any prepress process and depending on the manufacturer the process between one machine and another is relative. For example we have:
CDI: in this machine the plates are subjected to a vacuum, in order to achieve a better adherence to the cylinder and the conditions of the engraving in general are defined. Some of the many manufacturers that currently exist we can name you:
Washing Machines: this machine cleans the cliche or flexo plate: it brushes, rinses and cleans the liquids to which it has been exposed. Then, according to the thickness and type, the speed at which the process will be carried out is selected.
This is one of the machines with more manufacturers available on the market, in addition to those mentioned above, we present this group of companies that are dedicated to manufacturing this machine, with an excellent finish:
Oven: it is in charge of baking the plate, exposing it to heat, depending on the thickness and type. We mention some of the manufacturers specialized in this type of machine:
Finishing Machines: this eliminates stickiness and provides resistance to the plate. Exposing it to two types of radiation from lights. Among some of the manufacturers that we can mention:
As you can see in the manufacture of a cliche, or flexographic plate, a series of tools of the highest technology, knowledge and experience are involved, with the sole objective of achieving high quality prints.