Overview of the hottest flexographic printing mark

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At the end of the 19th century, the British used a rotary rubber plate printing machine to print simple trademarks, paper bags and words on packaging paper. Because aniline dye was used to make ink, it was called aniline printing. Soon, it spread to Europe and the United States in the early 20th century. Through the improvement of ink, printer and dryer, simple patterns and words were printed on cellophane, which was quickly recognized by the society. Around 1940, the United States invented the crinkle roller, which greatly improved the printing quality

1952, at the printing conference held in Stockholm, Sweden, the title of aniline printing was completely rejected, and the participants agreed to change it to flexography. At that time, it was discussed that because photosensitive resin had sprouted and polyethylene and polyester had appeared, the carrier used as substrate was greatly increased. Therefore, flexography's application path was flexible and could be suitable for printing for various purposes. Therefore, it was named. Without understanding its background, domestic translators literally translated it into flexographic printing, which has been passed down and is still in use today. In the first half of the 20th century, after being used to print transparent non absorbent packaging material cellophane, its application expanded rapidly, involving polyethylene and various synthetic resin films. As a printing method of packaging materials, it laid a foundation in Europe and the United States

II. Current situation of flexible printing in Europe, America and Japan

the market share of water-based printing in the United States accounts for about 65%. The proportion in Europe is about 36%. Japan is only 3%. Although Japan does not have as many flexible printing equipment as Europe and the United States, why is there such a big gap? First of all, because of the different values of packaging. The so-called flexographic printing is a kind of letterpress printing, which uses a soft version. Simply put, it is a roller like stamp. Although the accuracy of this method is lower than that of gravure printing, it is cheap and easy to operate. But in Japan, what people want is a fairly exquisite package printed matter without any stain or color difference. In Europe and the United States, a slight defect is not a problem, and it can still be calmly displayed. It is this difference in values that leads to the very different status quo of flexible printing in the two places

secondly, the use of chemicals in Europe and the United States is quite strictly controlled, and the total amount control of the industry is implemented. The total amount limit does not refer to a single enterprise, but to the entire industry. For printing, it is not just gravure printing, but all types of printing enterprises are included in it. For example, after a new printing enterprise is completed, it cannot start production without obtaining the right to use it. The production can only be carried out after the transfer or purchase of the right of use from other enterprises, which has led to the emergence of a large number of environmental friendly flexible printing enterprises in Europe and the United States. In addition, since the printing plants in Japan have not adopted independent restrictions on the use of toluene, MEK and other chemicals, it is difficult for them to enter the strictly controlled European and American markets

III. The development of flexible printing in Japan

Japan introduced this technology from the beginning of the 20th century to print corrugated paper, paper bags, etc. unlike Europe and the United States, it has not been used in the field of flexible packaging materials and cartons at first. Due to dissatisfaction with the quality of flexible printing and the already introduced gravure and offset printing technologies have met domestic needs, flexible printing has not been well popularized in Japan, Even in the past 20 years, it has almost stagnated. With the continuous improvement of flexographic printing technology, it has caught up with gravure printing and offset printing in terms of environmental protection and printing quality, which has attracted more and more attention from the printing industry in Japan. Therefore, flexographic printing has developed by leaps and bounds in recent years

in recent 10 years, flexible printing has become the mainstream printing method in Europe and the United States. In Europe, if the output voltage of the amplifier is unstable, the carton printing will increase at a high speed of 4 ~ 8% per year. At the same time, in the field of flexible packaging printing, there is also a clear trend from gravure printing to flexible printing. Japan has gradually realized the advantages of flexible printing in environmental protection and production efficiency, but its enthusiasm for use is far from as high as in Europe. Especially for those customers who pay attention to the printing restoration effect, many people still think that the effect of flexible printing is not as good as offset printing and gravure printing. But in fact, with the advance of CTP of flexible printing and the emergence of toothless transmission structure flexible printing machine, substantial development has been made in improving accuracy. With the arrival of a new round of printing equipment renewal cycle, a large number of newly introduced flexible printing equipment provide a hardware guarantee for the future development of flexible printing technology in Japan

IV. application scope of flexible printing

more and more enterprises are trying to achieve commodity differentiation through the color of packaging, so that people have higher and higher requirements for the degree of printing delicacy. Flexible printing can give full play to its advantages in color restoration, no matter for uneven, flexible and thick printing carriers

flexible printing is directly printed on the printing carrier after water-based ink or UV ink is applied to the high elastic resin letterpress with a certain thickness by the embossing roller. Therefore, flexible printing has strong adaptability to materials with poor surface smoothness (such as corrugated paper) and films, fabrics, non-woven fabrics, etc. In addition, the multi-color (such as 8-color) printing of flexible film and film has a good performance in color reduction. At the same time, flexible printing is very suitable for thin and uniform coating printing. It is possible to further improve the accuracy by overlapping coating various resins and drugs. In recent years, with the progress of materials used for flexible printing and printing technology, exquisite color printing products can be produced through high-speed printing. Needless to say, the stable display of fine small characters has also significantly improved the expressiveness of the sense of hierarchy. For example, the number of printing lines with 150 lines can represent a hierarchy of 2-98%

v. what kind of material can flexible printing be printed on?

if the two-stage amplification, the most suitable printing material for flexible printing should be corrugated cardboard. It is generally believed that about 80% of the corrugated board on the market is printed by flexible printing. A major feature of flexible printing is that it uses soft plates. Up to now, the rubber (resin) plate with a thickness of 7mm is generally used for flexible printing, so as to avoid the impact of uneven surface materials like corrugated cardboard on printing. In addition to corrugated board, it can be said that flexible printing is the most difficult to expand the configuration for materials with poor smoothness, such as non-woven fabrics and paper napkins

as most of the above-mentioned prints require only about 65 lines of printing accuracy, many people feel that as long as the flexible printing products can be seen clearly, there is no requirement for printing quality. However, recently, flexible printing is not limited to those rough and difficult printing materials. Like offset printing and gravure printing, this new printing method is increasingly accepted by traditional printing

at present, it is not only corrugated paper, paper bags, shopping backpacks, packaging paper and other packaging materials, but also paper containers such as cosmetics and snack boxes and liquid beverage paper containers such as milk bags. Flexible printing is used for soft packaging materials such as fast food noodles and snacks, diapers and rice bags. Flexible printing is also used in packaging materials, paper bags widely used in commercial and medical fields, as well as labels, paper napkins, non-woven fabrics, tapes, bellows, etc., which have been used for a long time. In fact, not only the corrugated board will leave a fatal security risk, but flexible printing is gradually favored in the field of flexible packaging

flexible printing for printing materials with high smoothness (printing materials that do not require high softness of plates), quite thin plates can be used. For example, if 1.14mm ~ 1.70mm is used, products with more than 150 lines can also be printed. Some can even reach the printing accuracy of 200 lines

VI. flexible printing is "mother's choice"

from destroying and polluting the environment to caring for "people" and "the earth". With the enhancement of people's awareness of environmental protection, flexible printing can fully comply with the requirements of laws and regulations in this regard

although flexible printing can use water-based ink, UV ink, solvent ink and other printing inks, flexible printing has been highly recognized in Europe and America because it can use environmentally friendly water-based ink. Flexible printing has gained overwhelming market share in some printed materials that directly contact human body, especially in the packaging of food and pharmaceutical products. At the same time, due to the small amount of ink used and the small amount of residual solvent, it is especially suitable for the printing requirements of food packaging. In addition, because water-based inks use alcohol based solvents, there will be no problem in product safety

in 2002, Japan's Saitama Prefecture promulgated environmental regulations, and all kinds of plate making for printing became the objects of control. Chiba Prefecture, Tokyo and other places are also preparing to issue corresponding regulations. With the recent enhancement of national environmental awareness, environmental friendly flexo printing is more worthy of our expectation

v. unparalleled high productivity

another advantage of flexible printing is its high productivity. The flexible printing machine can complete the integrated production from roll paper to post-processing at an unprecedented high speed. With this, the flexible printing machine can achieve uninterrupted continuous processing including post printing processing, thus greatly improving the production efficiency. Recently, multi variety and small batch printing has gradually become a trend, and flexible printing just conforms to this trend. At the same time, because of its integrated production, it has more advantages in quality control

when we see the finished printing products, we often hear such exclamations, "is this really a product produced by flexo printing?"

in recent years, the thickness of corrugated board has become thinner and thinner. There is a fine corrugated paper that is a little thicker than ordinary paper. Direct printing on corrugated board makes the advantage of flexible printing more and more concerned. Those who are engaged in the production of food related cartons (folding boxes) and flexible packaging, and who are trying to achieve commodity differentiation through outer packaging color, please be sure to try flexible printing

information source: Murata laser roll (Shanghai) Co., Ltd

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