▲ Not only an import replacement, the latest Best on Show accolade also recognises another example of flexo’s ability to compete with gravure. A number of challenges were overcome in the transition to flexography, for a job previously gravure-printed in India. The use of matte varnish and the need for a higher opacity white pass placed a constraint on the number of colours available but smart substitutions and technical know-how allowed production in eight colours, compared with nine-colour gravure.
▲► Representing sponsoring company, Kemtek, Clive Jonathan (centre) presents the Best on Show trophy to DBC Wovens’ Andy Koo and Botselo’s Garth Hobson.
DBC Wovens weaves import replacement magic
For the third successive year, a division of the DBC Packaging group took the Best on Show citation in the FTASA’s Print Excellence Awards.
Recognised this time was DBC Wovens for taking up Botselo Holdings’ challenge to match the quality and replicate the look of a 12.5kg maize bag – previously
gravure printed in nine colours in India – using eightcolour flexographic printing.
As emphasised by DBC Wovens’ MD, Bruce Pender-Smith, most challenges occurred during the reprographic and printing stages. ‘Fortunately, we have excellent technical resources among our suppliers – including Repro Flex, Hi-Tech Inks and Flint Packaging Inks & Resins,’ he points out. ‘They worked tirelessly on different aspects of the project to meet the brand owner’s demands and create an import replacement product of which we could all be proud.’
Repro Flex director, Jamie O’Neill, takes up the story: ‘When the job was run on a gravure press in nine colours, it was reverse printed using a turnbar to register to attain a matte varnish appearance. As flexographers, we had to think about the job in a whole new way, using advanced software combined with traditional skills in terms of using spot colours instead of process colours,’ Jamie explains.
Kemtek’s packaging division supplies the Flint Nyloflex FTF Digital plates used for this job. According to Kemtek’s Steve Gordon, flat-top dots are created
by processing plates in the same way as standard digital plates. ‘But the flat-top dots are less impression sensitive than standard digital dots, resulting in
lower dot gain variation and improved production consistency,’ Steve remarks.
The winning entry was very much a team effort. Taking pride in their collaboration are Garth Hobson (Botselo Holdings), Bruce Pender-Smith (DBC Wovens), Johann Uys (Silverrocket Creative), Adrian Hobson (Botselo Holdings) and Jamie O’Neill (Repro Flex).
The Repro Flex team who worked on the winning entry: Craig Oliver, Prevern Nayager, Vikash Sahadeo, Manjeet Ramlagan, Jamie O’Neill and Roland Naidoo
In addition, the flat-top flexo plate is combined with a special, textured surface to eliminate the need for surface screening while ensuring even ink laydown and increased solid ink density with smooth, homogenous solids, uniform vignettes and soft fade-outs.
In Jamie O’Neill’s view, it’s these characteristics, along with advances in anilox technologies, that played an important role in overcoming the challenge of achieving a smooth vignette with the sunshine design fading into white. ‘Artwork and imagery is always supplied in CMYK so the first challenge for flexographers is to run the vignette in yellow and magenta with a hard break somewhere or to run a minimum magenta and yellow dot all the way to the top of the bag, which then starts looking quite pink,’ he explains. ‘We decided to retouch magenta out of the design and to run a warm yellow (Pantone 130C),
creating an illusion of whiteness to the naked eye. It’s also easier to control a percentage dot gain in a single lighter colour, rather than magenta and yellow.’
Another colour factor that came into play was the strong white required to replicate gravure-quality print. The full coverage caused drying problems between station one (white) and station two (warm yellow) on the Windmöller & Hölscher Miraflex AL press. Getting the job to run at an efficient production speed required several brainstorming sessions between Andy Koo of DBC Wovens, Eddie Naidoo of Hi-Tech Inks, Faried Jacobs of Flint Packaging Inks & Resins and Jamie O’Neill of Repro Flex.
To compensate for the high press speed, Flint developed a high-strength, fast-drying white ink, while Repro Flex adapted the Nyloflex plate’s polymer component to allow it to handle the abrasiveness of the solvents.
DBC Plastics: ongoing success
In both 2017 and 2018, DBC Plastics (DBC Wovens’ sister company) received the Best on Show award; and once again in 2019 enjoyed stellar success, taking one gold, two silver and five bronze medals.
The gold medal recognised Spar’s Pro-Balance dog food pack in the Flexible Packaging category (medium web on a wide-web press) for excellent detail in the halftones, the sharpness of the text and exemplary registration. This winning entry is printed on an Uteco Onyx 810 press using DuPont Cyrel Easy ESE plates from Polyflex and inks from Hi-Tech Inks.
Representing category sponsor, PPM, Glywnnis Wells presents the gold medal to DBC Plastics’ Rogan Robertson.
The printing of the job was a challenge but could not have been achieved without thoughtful repro, according to Andy Koo. There are many key design elements in this job, which were well planned out by the team at Repro Flex, making this difficult job possible.
Attending the FTASA Print Excellence Awards was a revelation for the Botselo Holdings team. As general manager, Garth Hobson, remarks, they hadn’t previously realised how great were the challenges in converting a job from gravure to flexo. ‘Our printing partners deserve all the credit in helping us to push our packaging’s boundaries,’ he enthuses.
Polyflex shows passion for platemaking excellence
Among long-standing and highly-valued sponsors of the FTASA Print Excellence Awards is Polyflex.
As an experienced specialist in packaging graphics, Polyflex is passionate about exceeding customers’ expectations, and extensive investments have gone into innovative technologies and training to ensure world-class flexographic platemaking. It’s not surprising, therefore, to find Polyflex high among platemakers/repro houses cited in the winning stakes.
For instance, among winning entries in the various corrugated categories, Polyflex helped Neopak to take gold and silver; and Mpact Pinetown to take gold. For liquid cartons, Polyflex was behind Tetra Pak Pinetown’s winning of two bronze medals; and featured strongly as the platemaker in the paper sacks & bags sector – where Nurscon Plastics and Taurus Packaging each took silver.
Polyflex also shone brightly in flexible packaging, being the platemaker responsible for DBC Plastics’, Nurscon Plastics’ and FlexoPack’s award-winning packs; plus silver for Siyakha Imperial Printing among self-adhesive labels. Says MD, Brett Pollock: ‘Congratulations to the 2019 winners. We’re proud to have collaborated with these prize-winning customers.’
According to Brett, it’s collaboration across the value chain – including brand owners, retailers, printers and converters, and industry suppliers – that ensures Polyflex provides a complete and professional ‘print to pack’ solution, shares knowledge and builds consensus. Polyflex’s goal is to execute graphic requirements for branded packaging quickly, efficiently and in a responsible manner that reduces all stakeholder risks, and exceeds expectations.
‘We look forward to ongoing collaboration with our customers to help them win more awards in the years to come,’ Brett adds. ‘We also encourage all suppliers to participate in next year’s FTASA and Gold Pack awards. These programmes go a long way towards promoting flexographic printing excellence and the responsible use of packaging,’ he maintains.
Enjoying the function was the Polyflex team: Jay Sewnarain (accounts executive manager), Brett Pollock (MD), Zimasa Malangabi (DTP operator) and Craig Naidoo (account executive).