US flexo printer PPC Flex has reported a successful beta testing period with Miraclon’s solvent-free Flexcel NX Ultra 42 plate processor, praising it for its consistency, stability and productivity.  

The Payson, Utah, company took on the large format Flexcel NX Ultra system after previously being the beta site for the smaller format NX Ultra 35 solution, its first adoption of water washable plate technology. It has been a Flexcel NX plate user since 2011.

With a third of its customers at the premium packaging end of the market, PPC Flex said the NX Ultra 42 has enabled it to beat gravure print ‘hands down’ on quality.

‘The Flexcel NX Ultra plates perform really well across a multitude of print applications and the solution delivers a number of benefits,’ said PPC Flex director of prepress and design Simmy Coscia. ‘In prepress, plate makeready is fast, simple and straightforward – we can produce a finished plate in less than an hour. Not only do we now produce even more plates per shift, it’s also less of an issue if for any reason we have to remake a plate during production.’

Mr Coscia expanded on the production benefits, commenting, ‘On press, as long as the anilox is clean and the substrate ready, we just mount the plate and run. We reach colour and registration quickly and can run the press more efficiently with less press stops, which allows us to run the press faster and maximize press capacity.’

PPC Flex used the Flexcel NX Ultra 42 in the production of a job that went on to win ‘Best of Show’ at the FTA Excellence in Flexography Awards this year – the first victory for a job printed with a water washable plate.