USA • The pioneer in photopolymer flexo plate development reported that Tennessee-based Gateway Packaging Company has chosen to partner with Asahi Photoproducts and its North American Distributor CTGA in its search for an improved platemaking process.
The production test was run on an F&K 20six flexo press using coated white paper and solvent-based inks, with a run length of 675,000 feet (205,200 meters). The press ran at 1,400 fpm (427 m/min.). The run using competitive plates experienced a total production time of 483 minutes or 11 hours with a total plate cleaning time of 177 minutes and a requirement to clean plates every 2.5 rolls of media at 32 minutes per time.
“When running the Asahi plates,” Tharrin Akers, prepress manager for Gateway Packaging explained, “we were able to run the press at 1,640 fpm (500 m/min), which represents a 17% higher speed – and only had to stop for plate cleaning once. And that only required cleaning two plates, consuming 20 minutes. The result was a total production time of 432 minutes or 7.2 hours and an astonishing 53% improvement in overall equipment efficiency (OEE).”
As a result of these tests, Gateway decided to make a significant investment in a new platemaking department, implementing Asahi Photoproducts AWP water-washable plates and adding a Kongsberg cutting table, a Glunz & Jensen Concept 401 ECLF Exposure Unit, and the Asahi Photoproducts AWP 1116 PD Processor. Gateway estimated a payback period of 10 months for this significant investment based on the productivity and quality gains it would deliver.
Gateway operates three manufacturing locations serving the United States and Canada and produces packaging for consumer packaged goods manufacturers and industrial packaging for the food, agricultural, chemical and charcoal industries.