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Laser ablative dry films LADF gain in popularity

Due to the transition to digital imaging in flexo and letterpress plate processing, the number of users and the variety of imaging films suitable for chemical processing has dramatically decreased in recent years. More and more trade shops and printers are discontinuing chemical film processing and are switching to laser ablative dry films for non-digital plate types.

The LADF is a laser ablative dry film, which has been designed for imaging on infrared laser systems. The imaged film can be used for the UV exposure of analogue flexographic, letterpress and offset plates, as well as for screen printing and for image control. Due to the very high resolution (>10.000 dpi) as well as the high contrast, it is suitable for almost all applications.

The matte film surface enables the exposure of small size pad printing plates up to large size flexo printing plates. The thickness of 175 microns ensures good handling properties and high dimensional stability. The LADF film minimises the process tolerances and allows for reliable and repeatable quality in film processing.

After ablation, no further processing steps are required; there is no need for chemicals such as developer or fixer. The LADF film can be handled in daylight, so there is neither a need for a darkroom nor UV protection. For imaging, all standard IR lasers used in flexo and letterpress applications can be used; therefore, no additional investments are required. In summary, the LADF film offers a considerable time and cost savings potential to the customer.

The laser ablative dry film, LADF, is a product, which has been developed by Flint Group Flexographic Products in cooperation with Swiss Folex AG, a leading manufacturer of films and paper used in current imaging technologies. It is available at Folex AG (www.folex.com).