Spot varnish coatings are critical to completing eye-catching book jacket designs that stand out on the shelf and help to drive sales. Leading UK book printer CPI Books, based in Croydon, south London, was previously using thermal flexographic plates for this process, but concerns over print quality and excessive waste – including the use of solvents and wicking cloths – led them to investigate Fujifilm’s Flenex water-washable flexo plates as an alternative.
As a Jet Press customer, CPI Books already had a pre-existing relationship with Fujifilm and they made the decision to broaden this partnership much further, to include the supply of Flenex FW plates, following a period of consultation and a visit to the Fujifilm Advanced Print Technology Centre in Brussels.
CPI began to see the benefits of making the switch immediately. Graham Faulkner, Works Manager at CPI Books, says: “In early 2019 we took the decision to switch to Fujifilm’s Flenex water-washable flexo plates for our spot varnish coating applications. It has to be said that since the switch we have seen numerous benefits over the previous thermal plate we used.
“We have seen a definite improvement in print quality with improved varnish transfer leading to a higher gloss finish on the final print. Additionally, we see much sharper edges to the printed image.
“Over time we have also seen that we incur less waste due to registration issues with improved press stability and excellent batch to batch plate consistency, something we had previously struggled with. Since adopting the Flenex plate, we have almost completely eradicated plate remakes, saving time and reducing associated waste polymer plates”.
Fujifilm provides bespoke Flenex FW plates cut to size to match CPI’s precise on-press requirements and a large local stockholding in the UK ensures consistent and rapid supply.
Andy Kent, Divisional Manager, Fujifilm Graphic Systems UK adds: “It has been a pleasure working with Graham and his team at CPI Books on this project over the past few years. CPI Books prints for some of the world’s bestselling authors and publishing brands, including printing JK Rowling’s Harry Potter titles, and this partnership has benefited both parties. We’re very proud of the quality of the product and service we have provided, but at the same time, we’ve also learned a huge amount about this type of application, in a very demanding, high pressure production environment”.