Swedish packaging converter AR Packaging Flexibles, has brought its entire plate making operation back in house using hardware and software technology from Esko.

The flexible packaging provider has introduced the full Esko workflow and Crystal line of plate making solutions at its plant in Lund.

A member of the AR Packaging Group – with 28 factories located across 13 countries – AR Packaging Flexibles has a focus on the food and healthcare markets. Running six flexographic presses, the company has three specialised plants – in Halmstad and Lund, Sweden, and Highbridge in England.

‘With the new Crystal technology from Esko, the plate making process – in terms of imaging and exposure – is now much less complex and has significantly fewer steps,’ said James Mason, Esko regional business director, EMEA North. ‘The integration of our workflow solutions and hardware technology means that the AR Packaging Flexibles team are now completely in control of the quality and performance of their plates and subsequent print consistency.’

At the centre of its system is the XPS Crystal exposure unit. Combining UV main and back exposure, the XPS Crystal uses LEDs which do not require warm-up time and always emit even light, producing excellent consistency of plate quality and subsequently on press.

Olof Eriksson, pre-press manager with AR Packaging Flexibles, said, ‘Everything changes at a breakneck pace and packaging is no exception. We welcome every challenge this brings and the ability to produce our own high-quality plates that deliver consistent print quality improves our agility to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers day in, day out.

‘Obviously, this is particularly valuable to us in terms of meeting the demands of those urgent, short runs with shorter lead times, but also on longer runs where consistency is key. With Esko’s reputation as the leading developer of integrated solutions, we are delighted to have been able to install the entire Crystal line into our plate making facility.’

As well as the imaging technology, the team is also using Esko Automation Engine, Device Manager and Print Control Wizardto automate the workflow, and a Kongsberg X20 Edge for flexo plate cutting,

‘We are thrilled to have been able to supply this complete solution for AR Packaging Flexibles,’ said Mr Mason. ‘The company has been outsourcing its plate making to a local supplier for a long time, but has now effectively “insourced” their entire plate production. Using the latest technology in terms of improved simplicity and optimized quality, they also enjoy the added benefit of full Esko support in training, maintenance and troubleshooting.’