enhanced flexo print technique with CMYK

Do I Really Need Enhanced Flexo?

By Karen Loggia

The saying “you have a right to your own opinion but not your own facts” certainly holds true in business. 

Yet for enhanced flexographic printing, we’ve found that many people use their own facts to determine when a printing method is called “enhanced.” We tell our customers to compare enhanced flexo definitions when looking for solutions and securing bids.  

Common Ground: What is Flexo Printing? 

We can all agree that flexography (or flexo/flexographic printing) is a direct-impression print method. This means a flexible printing plate is attached to a cylinder. Once in the production process, the plate is covered with ink and then the plate directly impresses the ink onto the envelope paper.  

What is Enhanced Flexo Printing? 

It depends who you ask. At Tension, we define it as a style of 4-color, CMYK printing. We use a central impression print cylinder for tighter print registration, digital printing plates for finer screens and print resolution, and calendarized papers to hold ink more precisely. Depending on the customer request and machine used to manufacture the envelope, other techniques may be employed as well. 

A central impression print cylinder is a single cylinder that supports the paper as it contacts adjacent digital printing plates. This helps to yield tighter print registration, finer screens and enhanced print resolution. It also helps avoid excess trapping of ink. 

Do I Need Regular Flexographic Printing or Enhanced Flexo? 

It depends on who you ask. And what your goals are. 

We recently had the opportunity to work with a customer who had been purchasing an enhanced flexo envelope from another manufacturer. After discussing the customer's goals and Tension’s printing process, we were able to replicate their envelope with our regular flexo printing, without the need for specialty papers, digital plates or a central impression cylinder. This provided the potential for cost savings. 

So when you are exploring options for flexo and enhanced flexo, recognize there are many methods that can improve your typical flexo printing: 

  • Line screen count 

  • Reverse angle doctor blades  

  • Chambered doctor blade systems  

  • Central impression cylinders 

  • Calendarized or coated paper  

  • CMYK Printing  

Use of these methods depends on your needs, the machine used to produce the envelopes, and of course the manufacturer you are working with. 

Your Tension Associate is always available to work with you to find the best and most economical option. 

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