Platemaking

With the proper tools you can bring the platemaking process in-house streamlining your operations saving you time and money.

Printing plates can be made using either a laser engraving machine or by using an exposure unit.

For in-house platemaking you will need:

  • Artwork in a high resolution vector graphic format
  • Ability to make adjustments to your artwork with a vector graphic editing program such as Adobe Illustrator

For Laser Plate Making you will also need:

For Photographic Plate Making you will also need:

  • UVAC-600
  • Inkjet Printer such as an Epson wide format printer
  • Inkjet film positive supplied by Printex
  • Plastic container to hold plate developer
  • Developer Solution (tap water for water wash plates or alcohol for solvent wash plates)
  • Developing Brush
  • One of these two type of photopolymer Plates: Water Wash Plates | Alcohol Wash Plates

Laser Platemaking

Using a CO2 laser of 10-35 Watts:

  • Set the home position of the laser to the exact corner of the laser etching bed.
  • Align your laser plate material to the laser bed using the corner configured as home.
  • Using Adobe Illustrator or similar program you will need to configure your artwork as 80% opacity black – this provides a “dot pattern” to the engraving.
    To save time engraving we also recommend to remove/hide the dotted plate outline of the template.
  • For our Epilog Mini 35 Watt CO2 Laser we recommend starting with a “raster engrave” setting at the maximum resolution (1,200 DPI) and a speed setting of 12, with a power setting of 7.

Photographic Platemaking

The platemaking process is straightforward consisting of several main steps.

  • First Exposure: Film positive artwork exposure
  • Second Exposure: Screen exposure – controls the depth of the plate etch. A shorter exposure will result in a deeper plate, a longer exposure will result in a shallower plate.
  • Washout: Gently remove uncured photopolymer plate material from the artwork area.
  • Blow-off & Dry: Remove any remaining plate developer (water or alcohol) by blowing the plate clean with compressed air. Next place the plate into a drying unit at 150F for 10 minutes.
  • UV-Bake: Finally place the plate back into the exposure unit for a final 10-minute UV bake to fully harden the plate material.
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