Transformation. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when you ask Four Lakes Label Ryan Nelson to explain how Fujifilm’s Flenex FW water-washable plates and the Flenex C-Touch 2530 Water-Wash Flexo Plate Processor have helped change the dynamic of his print shop. Flenex FW provides the highest flexo print quality at the fastest production times, while significantly lowering cost-in-use compared to thermal, solvent or other water-wash technology. The new technology has given Four Lakes the ability to enhance print capability, extend color gamut and eliminate prep-manipulation.

“With Flenex, we are making plates in about 32 minutes, compared to over 45 minutes with our previous thermal technology…that’s 25 percent faster. And we now have consistency, reliability and assurance that we are going to get the exact same plate today, tomorrow and three months from now.” — Ryan Nelson, Imaging Manager, Four Lakes Label

The previous technology only enabled Four Lakes Label to hold a tonal range between a seven percent dot, up to 90 percent. Anything outside of that range basically broke apart, Nelson says. It also experienced “scum-dots,” which gave the appearance of lint or dirt in the print, when running on-press.

“Extending our color range with Flenex helped us with highlights, and now we can hit finer dots, and have higher gradation, which was previously unattainable,” Nelson says. “The flat top-dot with Flenex allows high gradation, unlike a round top-dot with a thermal plate, which tends to provide poor gradation.”

Today, Four Lakes is experiencing enhanced print capability, with its Flenex plates consistently holding an .08 percent dot, up to a 95 percent dot linear. “This results in extended color gamut and additional detail in highlight and quarter-tone values, which all but eliminates prep-manipulation for minimum dot. With 175 lpi, one percent dot, and superb dot structure, Flenex delivers consistent ultra-high quality prints,” Nelson says.

“With the Flenex solution, we can back expose, main expose, wash out, dry, post expose and de-tack all with one processing unit,” Nelson says. “We no longer have to go back and forth between an exposure unit and processor. Flenex is an easy and efficient all in one process. By using all UV inks for four color printing on press, we can hold better densities, have clearer, crisper printing and consistency between shifts. We also save time on press by not having to struggle with density and it allows for faster make-readies. Our projected annual cost-savings compared to our previous process is 50 percent.”

In the end, it’s a partnership that continues to pay dividends. “Fujifilm has helped us by delivering market-leading technology, as well as sales and technical support to identify, address and implement key quality and cost saving programs,” Nelson says. “Flenex has vastly improved quality, allowing us better repeatability, and reduced cost in-use. Our faster turnarounds are absolutely attributed to Flenex.”