Packaging design | Flexographic printing | Printing plates

Printing plates

In the late 1950 was presented entirely new manufacturing technology of the printing plates. It is based on soluble plastic, which hardens under influence of UV light. Since then, many materials have been developed for photopolymer plate production. A thick layer of photopolymer on a metal or plastic base is exposed through a negative film with ultraviolet light. The transparent areas of the film allows to illuminate photopolymer which will transforms the ink to the material. Illuminated Polymer strenghtens. The remaining unexposed areas are washed away. This is analogue production.

Digital manufacturing process is reduced to avoid negative film production. Meanwhile, computer controlled laser beam creates a negative on the polymer surface.

The final result of production - printing plate containing relief surface, which is applied directly on the printing machine's roll.


How the printing forms are made in analogue way

Photopolymer is stimulated by exposing UV light from the base side.

Negative film is applied. Transparent areas will form the printing surface. Meanwhile non transparent areas will be equal to non printable surface.

Polymer is exposed with UV light. During this process the UV light penetrated through the negative film strenghtens photopolymer. Unexposed surface remains soft.

Photopolymer is washed with brush and water or a special solvent. During this process the unexposed areas are washed away.
The printing plate is dried to eliminate the moisture.

The last stage - the final exposion with UV light. Now the whole printing plate is strenghtened.



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