York Repro-Graphic GroupYork Repro-Graphic Group (YRG) was founded in 1974 and, provides a full range of pre-press and reprographic services to retailers, brand owners and print clients, including a new concept-to-print-management service. With its significant growth, YRG has become the largest independent privately owned repro group in the UK, operating from five locations in the UK with additional operations in Ireland and Africa. The company has assembled an equipment portfolio and employee skill set that enables it to offer what it calls Limitless Packaging to its retailer, brand owner and print clients.
YRG was seeking a way to help its printer customers improve the quality of fixed colour palette printing work as the demand for that process continues to grow. YRG believes fixed colour palette printing is the future of flexography due to its process and cost efficiencies as long as quality requirements can be met.
For fixed colour palette printing, YRG recommends that printers use Asahi AWPTM water washable plates with Pinning Technology for Clean Transfer. YRG has acquired two Asahi plate processors for production of these plates, including a large AWP 1116-PD plate system at the YRG Eclipse site in Cottingham in the UK. The company plans to use this technology to expand its on-site platemaking services for its printer customers.
For YRG, quality is a primary consideration in everything it does. The company is continuously assessing new technologies on the market and invests heavily in research and development to stay on the leading edge. YRG was the first reprographics house in the world to comply with the ISO-12647 colour standard and strongly believes in the ability of the fixed colour palette printing process to ensure the future viability of the flexographic printing process. “Fixed colour palette printing offers a number of efficiencies that make flexo printing more competitive,” says Mark Gration, the company’s group managing director. “Using a fixed set of inks reduces ink inventories, speeds makeready, and reduces press stops and waste. It significantly reduces job changeover times since no wash-ups are required between jobs. But to achieve the quality that brand owners demand requires precise registration. That’s why we chose to use Asahi AWP water washable plates for those clients using fixed colour palette printing. The quality that can be achieved with these plates surpasses Flat Top Dot printing quality, making the AWP plate the best plate in the market for this purpose. More specifically, its print consistency, precise register, fewer press stops with less waste on press are the drivers of increased demand for use of a fixed set of inks, and the quality of the AWP plates keeps our customers coming back.” Gration also likes the fact that AWP plates have a small environmental footprint. “They are water washable,” he says, “eliminating solvents and the associated hazardous waste and VOCs, with waste water being able to be disposed of without environmental impact.” Moving forward, YRG plans to further develop its in-plant platemaking services at customer printing sites. “This will enable us to help our clients further reduce turn times in the plate-to-press process to meet the needs of the changing market environment, which is increasingly demanding just-in-time production,” Gration states. “And the Asahi AWP system’s ease of use and environmental friendliness will be an important factor in moving this process closer to press operations.”