Asahi Photoproducts and Esko have showcased their new fully automated flexo platemaking line, called CrystalCleanConnect, at this year’s virtual.drupa event.

In a joint statement, the companies said that CrystalCleanConnect fully automates the entire flexo plate production process, from imaging to plate cutting, reducing the number of steps in the flexo platemaking process from 12 to one – which equates to a reduction from 36 minutes of operator platemaking time to 2.5 minutes.

“With CrystalCleanConnect, we have brought together key hardware and software technologies from both organizations to deliver a number of breakthrough advantages from design to print,” comments Pascal Thomas, director of flexo business at Esko.

“CrystalCleanConnect delivers a cleaner, more environmentally-balanced operation that simplifies the flexo platemaking process, improves safety and boosts print quality consistency.”

According to Pascal, CrystalCleanConnect offers operational as well as environmental benefits to businesses. “With the removal of so many process steps, there’s an immediate 90% reduction in required operator time, which not only eliminates the potential for human error but also delivers immediate efficiency gains.

“Quality is assured through Asahi and Esko technologies working in complete harmony, and the combination of improved efficiency and quality delivers an average increase of 25% in press OEE.”

Dieter Niederstadt, technical marketing manager for Asahi Photoproducts, adds: “Flexo needs to simplify its processes while improving quality, consistency, and profitability. In doing so, flexo can create new business opportunities and positively transform into a printing technology in balance with the environment”.

“This breakthrough innovation is different in many ways to other solutions on the market,” Dieter says. “It is not just an assembly of available platemaking processes delivered inline, but rather a holistic approach to connecting technologies, up and downstream of the prepress value chain, using an intelligent automation hub as the backbone and heart of the solution.

“CCC is truly pushing boundaries to the current scope of plate automation delivering a mount-ready plate as well as being the first automated production solution without the need of VOC based washout solvents in the plate making process.”