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Nägele Digital Repro GmbH has Extended its Portfolio to Include Direct Engraving with the KODAK FLEXCEL Direct System

Since 1975, Nägele Digital Repro GmbH’s, based in Kempton, Germany, has specialised in prepress work and the production of printing forms for flexographic printing in the packaging field, an area where brand manufacturers and packaging producers are applying increasing pressure on their prepress and printing partners.

To meet these challenges, Nägele Digital Repro GmbH has recently extended its production capabilities with a KODAK FLEXCEL Direct System for the direct engraving of elastomer flexographic plates and sleeves. With the FLEXCEL Direct System, the company has acquired a direct engraving solution that is distinguished by its high resolution, productivity and outstanding versatility.


“In addition to extending our underlying capacity, the FLEXCEL Direct System now allows us to manufacture high-quality imaged elastomer plates and sleeves. For example, at screen rulings of up to 60 lines per cm, we can engrave a printable tonal range of 1 to 99% by modelling the dot edges accordingly,” says Manfred Nägele, founder and senior director of Nägele Digital Repro GmbH, explaining why the company chose to invest in the Kodak system. “What’s more, the FLEXCEL Direct System allows us to manufacture ester-resistant elastomer plates, as an alternative to special photopolymer plates, when two-component inks or varnishes are to be used during the printing process.”

Direct laser engraving is not completely new to Nägele Digital Repro GmbH, and the company still uses a pre-existing CO2 laser system for simple linework jobs, but the KODAK FLEXCEL Direct System has truly extended the company’s capabilities, and Nägele now supplies ten different packaging printers of varying sizes with laser-engraved plates and sleeves. “As far as sleeves are concerned,” continues Nagele, “the elastomer sleeves manufactured on the FLEXCEL System are of a higher quality than LAMS photopolymer sleeves. Another advantage lies in the fact that the delivery times for elastomer sleeves are significantly shorter and the purchase price is slightly lower. The elastomer printing forms stand out due to their excellent ink transfer capabilities and the long print cycles that can be achieved before cleaning is required, and the use of sleeves again opens up the prospect of significant savings due to the large reduction in setup times at the flexo presses.”

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 - platemaking for flexographic printing, which was once labor intensive, is now made much simpler by the FLEXCEL Direct System.

The new investment joins an impressive array of Kodak technology solutions at Nagele. They have been using Kodak’s high-resolution FLEXCEL NX System technology to produce high-quality photopolymer plates since May 2010. KODAK FLEXCEL NX Plates, which paved the way for a dramatic increase in the quality and reproducibility of flexographic printing, now account for 70% of the company's photopolymer plate production. Driven by the powerful KODAK PRINERGY Workflow and equipped with Hybrid options, both of the company’s KODAK FLEXCEL NX Wide Imagers are also able to image offset printing plates. Nagele chose KODAK TRILLIAN SP Thermal Plates - which require no preheating and reduce chemical consumption - to support brand manufacturers with traditional reprographics services and supply offset print shops throughout the region with print-ready plates.

By extending its flexographic printing technology to include the KODAK FLEXCEL Direct System, Nägele Digital Repro GmbH is now ideally positioned to meet the specific needs of packaging printers with its wide range of photopolymer and elastomer printing forms. “With the FLEXCEL Direct System, we have achieved a new quality level that was not previously possible in the field of direct engraving,” concludes Manfred Nägele.