UK, flexo prepress company Contact Originators (Contact) has expanded its offering into the flexible packaging and label markets following the installation of a third automated Esko Crystal platemaking line.

Located in a new dedicated HD production hall for flexible packaging and label plates at the company’s 32,000sqft Dukinfield, Manchester facility, the latest CDI Crystal XPS imager and exposing unit makes the platemaking specialist the first in Europe to have a fleet of three Esko flexo platemaking lines. Fully integrating into existing workflows, the company said the move enables it to increase its share into the flexible packaging and label markets.

Describing the combination of the CDI Crystal flexo imager and XPS Crystal exposing unit as a ‘perfect consolidated flexo platemaking workflow,’ Esko’s sales account manager Mike Ball said the setup has boosted capacity and throughput, delivering the ‘most optimal flexo print quality,’ suited for customers across the corrugated, wide-web and labels sectors.

He added, ‘The system excels in efficiency and delivers immediate tangible benefits, from reducing manual steps by half and minimising errors to reduce plate waste, through to freeing up valuable operator time by more than 70%.’

Esko’s Print Control Wizard software ensures a ‘simplified, standardised approach to take process parameters like ink, printing press, substrate and aniloxes into consideration for screen and curve creation’ Mr Ball said.

Following an influx of customers across flexo print disciplines, including wide web flexibles, in 2023, Nick Mitchell, operations director of Contact Originators Group believes the installation is the start of an ‘exciting new era’ at the company.

‘We always have one eye on the future, and we are thrilled to be bringing the same level of expertise and best-in-class technologies on which we built our reputation in corrugated packaging to our customers in flexibles and labels,’ said Mr Mitchell.

‘As we continue to gain market share in the flexibles and label markets while consolidating our already established corrugated business, we see it [the installation] as vital to invest in our future.’

The Esko XPS Crystal has recently achieved both Certified Energy Savings and Dematerialisation certifications from GreenCircle, the third-party certification entity that independently verifies the validity of sustainability claims.