An investment in a second Cron imagesetter at raised Image, supplied by TAD Printing Products, is saving the business significant costs in terms of reduced raw material wastage, reports Gill Loubser.

IN today’s tough business environment there are two imperatives: the first is to have a strong balance sheet and the second is to bring down costs, particularly through savings on raw materials. This is the view of Guy de Cafmeyer, founder and owner of Raised Image, one of Cape Town’s foremost flexographic repro houses.

For the second time in two years, Guy de Cafmeyer and Lee Collins (MD) have put their money where their mouths are and have invested in a Cron imagesetter, not only strengthening their asset base but realising substantial savings through minimising waste material. Following the previous investment in a Cron HDI 1600S imagesetter (PPM, February 2018), the latest purchase is a Cron HDI 920, a highly-flexible CtP system for small to medium formats such as labels and cartons, that complements the larger sized 1600S, providing untold flexibility for making different size plates and, most importantly, minimising waste. ‘Using this new machine, we’re saving a significant 5% on raw material,’ Guy notes, ‘and these savings are passed on to our customers.’

While the Cron HDI 1600S is designed specifically for wide-web flexible packaging printing, with a maximum plate size of 1 524 x 1 200mm, the HDI 920 handles plates up to 910 x 650mm, providing a great deal of flexibility. But though smaller it may be, the 920 still offers the same superior platemaking quality and high productivity as its larger sister. It features a slide-back lid for easy, semi-automated loading of plates and is an excellent low-cost solution for high-quality plate production.

Guy and Lee are particularly pleased with its speed – up to 2m2/hour – and with its 4 800dpi resolution that makes it ideal for handling high-end graphics. They’re also delighted with a lack of maintenance issues, thanks to the impeccable service received from TAD Printing Products, Cron’s local agent. Commissioning of both hardware and software was managed by TAD’s technician Patrick Krieling. The choice of a second Cron unit was easy, reckons Lee Collins. ‘Not only has the first Cron been a great success, the team at TAD offers excellent back-up and service,’ he explains. ‘In addition, we’ve long purchased MacDermid plates through TAD. In fact, we only use MacDermid LUX plates to meet our flat-top dot requirement. As these plates don’t attract dust, they provide excellent and consistent print results,’ Lee adds.

Exceptional Productivity

Cron’s HDI units use the latest magnetic linear drive system to image accurate, high-quality dots from 1 to 99%. This technology provides faultless imaging ensuring precision printing from all digital photopolymer plates.

‘These systems are designed to meet ever-growing demands for higher quality, lower costs, faster turnaround times and flexibility,’ explains TAD’s Adrian Gildenhuys.

‘Using tried-and-tested technology, HDI units provide fault-free, high-quality flexo imaging at a fraction of the cost of competitive systems,’ Adrian maintains. ‘The high resolutions, fast imaging speeds, combined with ease of operation and low cost of ownership are making Cron’s products increasingly successful in the South African market.’

Both Guy de Cafmeyer and Lee Collins are quick to agree with these claims. According to Guy, this represents a ‘seriously cost-efficient investment’ backed by excellent local support. ‘In addition,’ he reports, ‘the warranty on this machine is longer than that offered by other suppliers, and includes a twoyear guarantee on the laser head.’

Lee is equally enthusiastic, particularly remarking on the exceptional productivity achieved. ‘The quality of our plates has been taken to a new level and the production speed is amazing,’ he says.

Award-winning flexo printing

Raised Image has a sterling reputation for producing award-winning quality plates for blue-chip customers such as Amcor, CTP flexibles, Colpak and Zibo Plastics; and now, thanks to some aggressive marketing, sales are spreading to Namibia and Zimbabwe.

In fact, Raised Image has long been a supplier of half-tone work for

Zimbabwe’s Natpak, but is soon set to have an even closer association as the Esko Advance platesetter (replaced by the earlier Cron installation) has now been shipped to Natpak’s Harare plant, in another deal facilitated by the TAD team. Another arrow in Raised Image’s quiver has been the embracing of the Mellow Colour system that ensures colour conformance.

Working alongside Mellow Colour-audited flexible packaging printers, Raised Image is using the system for proofing. According to Guy de Cafmeyer, a repro house also needs to be Mellow Colour compliant since its proofs are often the ‘virtual’ specimen prints submitted for electronic approval.

‘Our DTP operators have been trained on the system by the DigitalView team (local representatives for Mellow Colour), and have also spent time at a compliant printshop, to enable them to understand and use the system to its full extent,’ he explains. (See sidebar for more on the Mellow Yellow system.)