(taken from the January 2015 issue of FlexoTech magazine)
A recent collaboration between a number of key suppliers has seen a new approach to showcasing the possibilities of cold foiling. Neel Madsen met the team of companies involved in the project to hear why they think collaborations is the way forward for the flexo industry.
With recent developments in substrates, colour management, platemaking and press technology, creating high quality metallics is no longer complicated and costly. In fact, these can be flexo printed with just the four process inks on a specialised film combined with a new high speed over-printable foil.
But how do you best communicate the capabilities and advantages of cold foil? When Innovia Films launched a new range of facestock films in 2014 developed to be more receptive to foil and print, the company was keen to reach the end users. David Carruthers, technical services and development specialist, got talking with Richard Fowler, technical support specialist for API Foils, who was in the process of introducing a new cold foil to the market and they began to develop the idea for a new concept.
Carruthers and Fowler approached Phil Baldwin at Mark Andy and soon a whole team of suppliers was sitting round the table brainstorming ideas for showing the world the beauty of cold foil technology. Members also included JFM Plates, Reprobrand, Cheshire Anilox Technology, GMG Color and Color-Logic.
The result of this unique collaboration was a swatch book displaying a combination of promotional prints and labels, with each page offering something different to push the boundaries of cold foil and inspire customers. The images were created using a single silver foil, over-printed to create a spectrum of metallic colours. From initial concept to design took four weeks with another two for production, making the swatch book ready in time for presenting it to visitors at Labelexpo in Chicago, where it literally flew off the shelves.
Mr Carruthers said, ‘We have been developing this project for a while now with a number of key industry partners and we are extremely pleased with the results. Combining our new Rayoface, Ultrafoil and Plus films with the new TA cold foil from API has produced sharp and distinct high definition images which highlight the true potential of UV flexo print.’
The swatch book was printed on a Performance Series P5 press at Mark Andy’s demo centre in Macclesfield. Phil Baldwin, Mark Andy aftermarket manager for Europe, said, ‘We were working to a very tight time frame to produce these samples for the book, but the ease of operation of the P5 meant that this was easily achievable.’ He continued, ‘Mark Andy is always leading the way with new technology so it was a pleasure to work on this project alongside other market leaders. By establishing these relationships with co-suppliers, it enables us to remain current with industry trends and allows us to offer converters more information on how to optimise their business and forge new markets.’
Jim Davies from pre-press partner Reprobrand commented, ‘You never know how successful projects like these will be when you first start out, but the sample books are disappearing as quickly as we can produce them.’
Sonia Arcos, sales director at Cheshire which provided the anilox rollers, agreed and added, ‘When we were asked by Phil Baldwin to participate in this project, we got very excited about the prospect of using our latest technology. Cold foil is always a challenging application and often printers seek our advice. It was a great opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of our MaxFlo UV technology, a high release engraving designed for cold foil applications involving both large and fine detail work. The different and intricate designs in the swatch booklet certainly put MaxFlo UV to the test proving its effectiveness and versatility.’
For JFM Plates, the collaboration was a chance to demonstrate its expertise and the combined benefits of the investments it has made in Esko technologies. Mark McKee, general manager, said, ‘Full HD Flexo was perfect for this project and we were able to achieve stunning results. Everyone is trying to cut costs but still deliver standout shelf appeal and love having a readymade solution presented. This is what we are providing here.’
Mr Fowler said, ‘Many designers do not realise that recent advances in film and cold foil technology have really expanded what is possible. It is time for brand managers to get hold of this technology to add extra depth and quality to their packaging. We wanted to create something different to show what can be achieved, not just the standard sample labels and that is how this booklet came about.’
‘People simply don’t have the time to do the research, learn new skills or try new techniques. We have done the R&D work for them and can show them exactly what can be achieved,’ explained Mr Baldwin.
‘It is all about breaking down the barriers in flexo and finding the time to do that little bit extra for the customer. And our project doesn’t stop here. We are already planning our next move,’ concluded Mr McKee.