Sagawa Printing Group Ltd., one of the largest printing companies in Japan with 2,155 employees and more than 100 billion JPY in annual sales, has purchased two KODAK FLEXCEL Direct Systems. Sagawa chose the FLEXCEL Direct System, an award-winning direct engraving flexographic platemaking system recognized by the 2013 InterTech Technology Award of the Printing Industries of America, for its superior quality and productivity advantages.
Sagawa Printing is currently building on its formidable nation-wide branch network and large production network. This effort includes work at Japan’s leading gravure printing plant, the Hino Plant located in Shiga, which is the company’s offset and gravure printing center. As part of this expansion, the company plans to provide premier solutions in four areas: printing, digital data, distribution and RFID.
In addition to its traditional businesses of commercial printing, Sagawa Printing is entering into the new business of package printing. The firm is constructing an exclusive worksite for flexographic printing, where two KODAK FLEXCEL Direct Systems for flexographic platemaking will be introduced, together with two flexographic printing presses, two extrusion lines and two laminators.
“In our quest to purchase a platemaking system, we focused on direct engraving systems because we’ve been using large direct engraving machines for publication gravure printing,” says Akihiko Uyama, Director, Sagawa Printing. “A simpler platemaking process was another advantage of direct engraving platemaking systems. We decided to incorporate the KODAK FLEXCEL Direct System because of its high productivity based on unique, high-power semiconductor laser imaging technology. It’s also easy to use, which was another key to our selection. We are looking to Kodak Japan to provide us with a deeper knowledge of flexo printing and higher quality products, including plates.”
In alignment with these bold moves, Sagawa decided to incorporate water-based flexographic printing to enhance its environmental footprint. Overall, the KODAK FLEXCEL Direct System is positioned at the core of Sagawa’s platemaking process for flexographic printing with water-based-ink, driving success in the printing process with its superior quality and productivity potential.
“The fact Sagawa Printing has selected the FLEXCEL Direct Systems shows how aggressively we’ve been digitizing the platemaking process in the flexographic industry and providing solutions optimized for that purpose as well as improving product performance,” says Hiroshi Fujiwara, Managing Director, Kodak Japan. “In suggesting solutions to Sagawa Printing we focused on how our industry experience could help them meet their goals.” We’re looking forward to developing flexo printing in the flexible package industry with Sagawa Printing.”
The KODAK FLEXCEL Direct System features innovative, energy-efficient, high-power semiconductor laser imaging technology, Kodak-formulated press-ready elastomers and workflow software for accurate image reproduction. This outstanding combination of technologies offers sleeves and plates for flexographic printing superior in both quality and productivity potential. In the round” (ITR) platemaking for flexographic printing, which was once labor intensive, is now made much simpler by the FLEXCEL Direct System.
Package printing accounts for approximately 30 percent of the Japanese printing industry, with gravure printing dominating the flexible packaging segment with more than 99% market share. However, flexographic printing is attracting more attention in the Japanese package printing market as a result of a great improvement in its quality and because of its environmental advantages. This trend has caused an increasing number of companies to consider switching to or initiating flexographic printing programs.
The FLEXCEL Direct System forms part of an innovative portfolio of KODAK Flexographic Solutions designed to help printers and pre-press providers transform the capabilities of flexo printing and improve productivity.