In a past blog post we touched on the environmental benefits of laser etching plates as opposed to the traditional photochemical process. But those benefits are just the tip of a very large iceberg. Everyone in our industry is aware of how harmful the compounds and solvents used in photoengraving are to the environment. Switching your workflow to laser etching will eliminate that altogether, and it will also save your company time and labor by the very nature of the operation.
With the photochemical process the average time to complete a print plate is 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how intricate the graphic is. Any operator will tell you that the most infuriating part of their day is: after prepping the proper photoresist, putting it through its UV exposure and solvent wash only to discover there is one small line or detail off on the plate. Now this entire process needs to be repeated to fix the imperfection on the plate. An hour of the workday wasted, and another hour required too rectify the issue.
By utilizing laser etching, the average time to create a print plate is about 5 to 7 minutes. Errors are easily rectified, as modifying the design via the machine’s computer is extremely fast and simple. Just input your changes and the laser does the rest.
Laser etching your print plates also provides you with a lot more freedom to tweak, or completely modify your client’s design on the fly. Laser etching provides you with the ability to have your graphic designer right there with the machine at all times. All he/she has to do is transfer their design from their computer to the machine and the laser takes over, creating custom made print plates in minutes. This is also something for start up businesses to consider, as they may not be able to hire too many employees.
For these reasons you can see that moving away from the photochemical process, to the laser etching of printing plates is the future of our industry. Contact us at anytime to get more information on how to begin your journey into the future of print plate manufacturing.