Digital Flexo Plates: The Backstage of Product Packaging

8 August 2018

Like any other creative industry, the packaging business has its backstage. It’s like an iceberg, where we just see the top, but the major part remains unseen, deep under the water.


The only thing we can see and touch is the ready product. Also, we hear a lot about the creative part of packaging design. There are dozens of popular blogs dedicated to design, and packaging design in particular. But what do we know about the production process? How do those neat illustrations and images become the real-life, 3-dimensional products we see on the shelves?


What do we know about the process of packaging printing? It’s completely different from the digital printing that we can see on our personal printers; it’s not even similar to the large format printing used for outdoor banners and posters.


For packaging, most companies use flexographic, offset or gravure methods. NDigitec Prepress and our partners prefer flexo printing which gives more possibilities than any other option.


Like the in the film industry, packaging starts with the pre-production stage. Here, this stage is called “Prepress”.


Why Prepress Matters in Packaging


Each color of the print (cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and in case of flexo printing two or three more colors) needs a separate plate which will transfer the ink onto the packaging surface. So flexographic printing starts with several steps of Prepress, including retouch, color correction, color separation, and many more. Then comes the production of digital plates. Also, after every step, there are stages of quality control. When the plates are ready and double-checked, they go to the printing house, and the print process begins.


The same plate is used for an entire production line, so if there is even one flaw in one of the plates, the whole line of packaging goes to waste. At Prepress, we take care of the flawless production of plates.


For each type of packaging, there is a different kind of plates. NDigitec provides all of them: Flexible packaging plates, Label and narrow-web plates, Water-washable metal-based plates, and Corrugated plates, including Pre-mounted and mounted plates.


Now let’s explore each of our digital flexo plates separately.  


Flexible Packaging Plates


The name speaks for itself: these are the ones we produce for flexible packages. These can be used for food, such as chips and other snacks, as well as for cleaning supplies, creams, cosmetics, and many other products. The most common materials for the flexible packages that you see on shelves are Polyethylene (PE), Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Polypropylene (PP), and High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE).


NDigitec Prepress is the leading provider of HD Digital Flexo plates for any flexible packaging material across the Middle East. We will help detect and ensure your plates become smooth, sustainable and durable with our NDHD software. NDHD provides high-quality and fast-operating solutions that will best fit your expectations.



Label & Narrow-Web Plates


Here are the plates which the printing houses use for self-adhesive stickers and labels. You can mostly see those labels on boxes and bottles. So look for examples on shampoo bottles, various glass bottles, wet wipes, and sometimes on the boxes of chocolate or other sweets.


NDigitec transforms the labels from the conceptual design stage to Digital Flexo plates, including image retouching, color calibration, and print-ready proofs. With NDHD software, you will get excellent highlights and transfer of inks with HD surface screening, and 175 to 200 LPI plates production.



Water-Washable, Varnish & Metal-Based Plates


This is the type of plates that we produce for printing on rigid surfaces, such as cans and mugs.

NDigitec offers water-washable plates for direct printing with a metal base and a rubber layer. We also provide varnish plates that have metal bases with a maximum size of 70 x 100 cms.



Corrugated Plates


You have certainly seen cardboard boxes with attractive design. And you must have seen such boxes with quite poor prints, too. For showing an outstanding quality, corrugated boards and cardboards require another approach in printing. It must start with the special flexo plates. Prepress offers customized solutions for corrugated plates. We integrate the latest technologies and our know-how to produce top quality plates through our NDHD system which are unprecedented in the industry.



Mounted & Pre-mounted Plates


Corrugated plates are an entirely different category that requires additional mounting to start the printing process. If the printing house does not have the necessary equipment for mounting, NDigitec is more than happy provide pre-mounted ready-to-print corrugated plates.


You will get the perfect mounted or pre-mounted plates with NDigitec’s ESKO automated mounting process.  Our clients save time and money by getting mounted plates which they can directly fix onto their printer cylinders seamlessly and start processing the job immediately.


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