Flexo printing is a direct printing process in which printing is carried out with flexible print forms (printing plates) made of photopolymers. This is the predominant printing process in the packaging sector. Flexo printing creates optimum print quality on a whole range of printing substrates.
Flexo printing is a direct a high-pressure process in which the colour-bearing and non-colour-bearing surfaces of the flexible printing plate are at different heights. The raised areas are image-bearing. Flexo printing is a very easy printing process that can be used everywhere and is primarily used for printing on packaging. This means that the widest range of materials for primary and secondary packaging can be printed in very limited or up to extensive print runs. Food-safety compliant water-based colours are used to print on paper.
A wide range of machine technologies have been developed for flexo printing. In general a differentiation is made between preprint and postprint.
In preprint (corrugated cardboard preprint) the paper outside cover of the corrugated cardboard is printed first and then laminated onto the flute with the internal web. This is referred to as web press.
Postprint (corrugated cardboard direct printing) is a form of flexo printing which prints directly onto corrugated cardboard.
Flexo printing is used nearly all areas of packaging printing. Very good printing results are achieved with printing on paper and corrugated cardboard. Flexo printing is particularly well-suited for solid colours and patterned displays. State-of-the-art technologies in pre-press, printing plate production and machine technology are used to reproduce images with maximum print quality using flexo printing. This printing process is also used to print special colours on elastic and stretchable films, fleece and cellulose, various plastics and aluminium. In the premium segment the quality of gravure and offset printing is almost achieved.