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MacDermid testing flexo CTP plate, system

N&T Staff Report

MacDermid Printing Solutions said it plans to test its latest generation of flexo plates at several undisclosed U.S. newspaper sites as well as assess performance of its new computer-to-plate technology.

The vendor’s NAPPflex III plates sport higher resolution and improved print performance plus greater imaging and processing efficiencies, the company said, adding that MacDermid engineers are developing a high-density foam cushion to complement the new plates.

Meantime, MacDermid, which first announced plans to develop flexo CTP systems in September, said it installed its first NAPPflex CTP unit with manual loading at a newspaper site in Italy as part of an evaluation project to determine the viability of the technology.


The system will be replaced with an automatic loading device this quarter, the firm said. MacDermid said the automatic flexo CTP system would have the capacity to image from 120 to 150 plates per hour. The manual system can process 80 plates per hour, the company said.

Finally, MacDermid said it’s working with Tech-Energy Co. to re-engineer the press supplier’s single-wide flexographic press to fix tension control issues that cropped up during a year-long test of the machine at The Recorder in Greenfield, Mass.

Tech-Energy in 2003 introduced the press, which is being marketed by MacDermid. The two-around shafltess press is aimed at smaller and mid-sized papers that want alternatives to offset printing.


Control issues

The Recorder placed the four-high flexo tower in the middle of its existing Goss Urbanite press. But the Urbanite’s analog drive and the flexo press’ digital drive yielded tension issues, MacDermid said. Technicians were unable to determine if the issues occurred because of the design of the tower or as the result of operating the flexo machine in-line with the Goss press, MacDermid said.

Late last year, crews from Tech-Energy removed the tower in order to evaluate the control problems, the firm said.

“We plan to monitor the Tech-Energy tests to see if they can demonstrate the print performance required in the time frame necessary for our press decision in Greenfield,” said Tom Brown, president of Newspapers of New England, which owns The Recorder. “We are totally committed to flexography as the best way to print a newspaper.”