Bobst has unveiled THQ FlexoCloud Technology, a four-colour flexo process, which it said offers a “quantum shift” in post-print flexo that will enable the process to challenge litho laminated secondary packaging.
THQ FlexoCloud, where THQ stand for Tres High Quality, is claimed by the firm to offer improved print quality and lower production costs using a combination of pre-press, anilox roller and ink technology.
“A comparison of litho lam to post-print flexo shows that there is a huge opportunity for flexo printers,” said Bobst Lyon sales & marketing director Dominique Ravot. “CMYK brings a change in the landscape. Differences in the cost of the processes and the material mean post-print flexo should be more than 20% cheaper than litho lam.”
French packaging trade repro house Graphilabel spent two years developing the technology by adapting previous work done in narrow-web. Pre-press developments include modified laser imaging and processing of standard flexo plates and “a unique colour separation algorithm”.
The modified platemaking process produces a higher resolution than current flexo machines and can include invisible security printing features. To support the higher resolution of the plates Bobst has developed higher linescreen ceramic anilox rollers for its Masterflex-XL presses. The final part of the system is a series of inks and varnishes supplied by Siegwerk.
THQ FlexoCloud is claimed to reproduce 65% of Pantone colours; a far wider range than standard CMYK flexo.
“We expect brand owners to have a lot of questions regarding the ability to reproduce their colours,” said Ravot. “We are assessing how many brand colours can be accommodated. As this is for secondary packaging we may be able to get away with the narrower gamut.”
The system was shown to 120 printing and converting companies from across the world at a series of technical seminars at Bobst’s Lyon facility earlier this year.
“The feedback we received has been overwhelmingly positive and supports our belief that the THQ FlexoCloud represents the opportunity for our customers to make the difference and increase their market share,” he added.
One undisclosed French corrugated printer is currently trialing the system.