An EPIC® Journey

Bryce Benson’s introduction to EPIC plate technology

In May 2017, during my first year with MacDermid Graphics Solutions, I visited Miller Graphics in Sunne, Sweden.  While waiting for my meeting, I ran into Jan Viberg, then with Esko, and now the Managing Director of Marvaco Sweden.  Never one to shy away from good conversation, Viberg asked quite frankly, “When’s MacDermid going to bring back the EPIC plate? That was a great plate.” As I replied to many questions in that first year, I simply said, “I don’t know, but I can find out.” First, I had to learn a bit about the EPIC plate, so I called our headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
EPIC’s journey began in the early nineties. Flexible film printing struggled to attain a balance of low dot gain with good solid ink density and coverage --- capped plate technology was the solution. For the people who think “baseball cap” when you hear “cap”, the cap we are referring to here is a micro-rough layer on a photopolymer printing plate that aids in the transfer of ink to the substrate. Think of it as something like sandpaper - with peaks, valleys, and crevasses that allow more ink to be picked up by the plate. The cap allows the best of both worlds - a hard plate that gives you good dot reproduction WITH good ink transfer. EPIC quickly became the plate of choice within the label market due to its image reproduction and its excellent ink coverage. BUT ink coverage didn’t limit the plate to labels; it also became widely popular for flexible packaging and pre-print corrugated applications.

EPIC’s appearance was unique, featuring a translucent white non-image area and a capped, green image area – very different from MacDermid’s pink plates. This contrast gave it great quality control properties and made it very simple for plate mounting before the days of camera mounting systems and analog platemaking...oh the things we take for granted. Next came magnificent surface screening technologies, allowing you to build the microcells in the image file, becoming favorable over capped plates. While prepress screening technologies are great, they require a high degree of process control on press. The skills required, combined with the decrease in prepress specialists, made the simplicity of cap technology desirable. 

So now…The Cap is Back! The introduction of new capped plates with inherent flat-top dots (AHEM…our LUX® ITP EPIC®plate) provides the print consistency and high solid ink density needed to produce the finest detail graphics on flexible film. LUX ITP EPIC helps you achieve high solid ink density, excellent ink transfer, superior print consistency, and faster imaging. It’s the photopolymer plate that combines a revolutionary capped surface with award-winning flat-top dot technology…could it get any better? Oh…AND you can eliminate the need for surface screening! Yes, you read that correctly. Say farewell to surface screening.

LUX ITP EPIC is the newest addition to the award-winning technology from MacDermid with the convenience of flat-top dots right out of the box. No additional platemaking steps or equipment are needed to take advantage of the print quality and consistency that LUX flat-top dots provide.
LUX ITP EPIC offers a unique micro-rough surface for excellent ink transfer for challenging flexo printing applications or unique ink requirements. The innovative cap layer, specifically developed for the ITP chemistry, ensures that the plate provides the best tonal range possible. LUX ITP EPIC offers near 1:1 mask-to-plate imaging capability, thus minimizing the need for a bump curve. By reducing the bump curve, printers can expand the available color gamut and print a smaller dot creating…VIVID IMAGES! LUX ITP EPIC is a durable and extremely low tack plate, which is perfectly suited for long and clean running print jobs. Get the same quality from job 1,000 as you do with job 1, no surface screening required. And did I mention it is a 2-in-1 plate designed to be processed in either solvent or LAVA® thermal systems!

So, Jan, I have something EPIC ready for you…LUX ITP EPIC that is!

By: Bryce Benson, Territory Sales Manager - Nordics, Baltics, CIS MacDermid Graphics Solutions 

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