Magazine Printer Expands into Packaging with Screen Flexo Device

ROLLING MEADOWS IL | Publishers Press, a fifth-generation family-owned firm that ranks as North America’s fourth-largest publication printer, recently launched a narrow web flexographic division. The company has relied on Screen PlateRite computer-to-plate (CTP) recorders for many years to keep its web presses running at peak efficiency. For its expansion into packaging printing, it was only natural to choose a Screen flexo plate imaging device.

“Our experience with Screen platesetters over the years has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Michael Simon, executive vice president. “The technology and the people behind Screen are number one in the industry. Of all the equipment in our shop, Screen’s is, by quite a bit, the most reliable equipment we own.”

Primarily a magazine printing company with $168 million in annual sales, Publishers Press prints 1,400 different titles in the business-to-business, medical, and niche publication markets. Its two facilities, located about 12 miles apart in Shepherdsville and Lebanon Junction, KY, just south of Louisville, boast 1 million sq ft of manufacturing space and 1,400 employees.

Publishers Label-Pak, a flexo printing division launched at the Lebanon Junction plant in late 2011 with a Mark Andy Performance Series P7 press, added high quality pressure-sensitive labels and flexible packaging to the company’s portfolio of capabilities. The P7 press allows Publishers Label-Pak to print up to 10 colors, emboss, rotary screen and cold foil on a wide variety of substrates in sizes up to 17 x 24 in.

The PlateRite FX870II joined the production lineup in Lebanon Junction last November. The device outputs flexo and letterpress plates and thermal ablative film up to 30 x 34.2 in. (762 x 870 mm) for the P7 press. Imaging at 2,400 dpi, 2,540 dpi, and 4,800 dpi resolutions with screen rulings up to 200 lpi, it produces consistently high quality.

“The PlateRite FX870II provides us with high resolution, excellent quality, and very repeatable results,” Simon said.

“The performance has been flawless,” added Bobby Miller, prepress manager. “Based on our longtime experience with Screen, our expectations were high, and the PlateRite FX870II has exceeded those expectations.”

Screen’s industry-leading 4,800 dpi resolution is utilized most of the time. A good deal of the flexo jobs involves printing self-adhesive labels for brand name and private label wines. Lately, Publishers Label-Pak has branched out into heat-activated shrink tubing.

“Currently, we use 150-line screens on all of our flexo work,” Miller said. “The 4,800 dpi resolution gives us extremely fine text and detailed images.The quality will get even better as we go to higher line screens.”

Prepress operators had no difficulty making the transition from Screen offset CTP to flexo CTP. “There was no learning curve on the platemaking side,” Miller said. “Any operator that runs a PlateRite system for commercial plates can handle the flexo unit. You just mount the plate and hit the start button.”


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