Articles

Flexographic Plate Technology: Conventional Solvent Plates versus Digital Solvent Plates

Authors
  • E. Dean Gilbert (North Carolina A&T State University)
  • Frederick Lee (North Carolina A&T State University)

Abstract

Digital, direct-to-plate technology has not been as widely accepted by flexographic printers as it has by the lithographic printing industry. This is due, in large part, to very little savings in time and cost in digital plate making for flexography. Manufacturers of digital flexographic equipment claim the real savings comes from enhanced quality of print. The objectives of this research were to test the print quality of both conventional and digital flexography and to analyze and statistically compare the two processes. The results of this study should be of interest and benefit to those who seek an unbiased comparison before investing in expensive flexographic digital plating technology. This study utilized the quasi-experimental research design and an inde- pendent samples T-test. An alpha value of .05 was used throughout the study. There were three research questions and three hypotheses that guided the study: (1) Do digitally imaged photo- polymer flexographic plates produce lower dot gain compared to conventional plates exposed from film? (2) Do digitally imaged photopolymer flexographic plates produce higher print contrast values compared to conventional plates exposed from film? (3) Do digitally imaged photopolymer flexographic plates print a longer range of halftone dots from a test target with dot patterns ranging from 1% to 100% when compared to conventionally imaged plates? The results showed there was no significant difference in dot gain between the two plating systems. There was, however, significant improvement in print contrast values and tonal range with the digital system.

Keywords: graphic communication | printing | quality control | research | visual communications

How to Cite:

Gilbert, E. D. & Lee, F., (2008) “Flexographic Plate Technology: Conventional Solvent Plates versus Digital Solvent Plates”, The Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering 24(3).

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Published on
30 Jun 2008
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