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Luscher has partnered with MacDermid to launch Accent, a new flexo coating plate for packaging and commercial print applications that can be imaged like a normal litho plate on Luscher's XPose! UV platesetter.

The two companies intend to make it possible for printers and packaging companies to produce high quality flexo coating plates in-house on the same UV CTP equipment they use to image their offset printing plates.

The Swiss pre-press manufacturer said that the plate would allow litho printers to add value to commercial print and packaging applications by applying a spot or knock-out varnish or special lacquer in line on their offset presses.

Luscher added that printers needed the same responsiveness for coating plate production as they have from their onsite litho plate production but said that "the level of investment and the related infrastructure in flexography is out of reach for most printers".

A spokesman said: "The coating plate developed by Luscher and MacDermid enables the integration of coating plate manufacturing by offset printers. The printer uses its existing UV offset CTP to image the coating plate as a simple new application in addition to its current offset plates.

Luscher said that the Accent plate was designed to be used with aqueous and UV coatings in both packaging and commercial print applications. It is supplied by MacDermid as an uncured calibrated elastomeric layer on an aluminium plate. Luscher said that it had developed additional proprietary software to enhance the imaging capabilities of fine 3D details with adequate shoulders and reverses. This software is included as a new module in its current CTP driver package.