Hybrid Software’s Intelligent Flexo gets 2021 FTA Technical Innovation Award

Automated workflow process module

Hybrid Software’s Intelligent Flexo to boost flexo print quality
Hybrid Software’s Intelligent Flexo to boost flexo print quality

Hybrid Software’s Software Intelligent Flexo, a module in Hybrid Cloudflow to boost flexo print quality from existing equipment and software systems, has successfully received a 2021 FTA Technical Innovation Award

For more than two decades, FTA has recognized and celebrated the incredible achievements made by individuals and companies, large and small, contributing to the industry’s growth. This is the second straight year Hybrid Software has received an FTA Technical Innovation Award. Last year, it won the award for Cloudflow Patchplanner.

Hybrid Software Intelligent Flexo operates as a configurable, automated workflow process module. For example, with surface screening, Intelligent Flexo will repeatedly improve ink transfer and boost density. It does this while varying many parameters, such as custom patterning, cell wall size, and skipping small dots with enough intelligence to keep micro-dots solid on finished plates.

Users can create their own customized area coverage patterns for Intelligent Flexo to be truly unique for each printer. The significance is not only the screening options Hybrid Software offers but, more importantly, the freedom to experiment with any screening desired. Thus, it allows every trade shop or printer to add their own specially-developed technologies to the screens available—uniquely differentiating themselves from competitors with their own customized platemaking.

Because Intelligent Flexo works in a non-proprietary fashion, it fits into any plate processing environment with different print setups—from inks to substrates to resolutions to plates to anilox rolls, etc. It is compatible with all major flexo plate imagers, with noticeable quality improvements for images and graphics at any resolution. In an automatic, intelligent way, Intelligent Flexo improves the quality and stability of flexo printing without a considerable investment—or change of prepress workflow or equipment.

Hybrid Software and Steurs collaborated to create a flexo plate

The Intelligent Flexo technology is based on a collaborative effort between Hybrid Software and Steurs, a flexo repro house. The company, founded in 1949, is one of the leading repro houses in the Benelux. Their objective was to create a flexo plate that delivers higher quality and more stability and color consistency for the printing of flexible packages and corrugated boxes. Steurs, a respected innovator, has its own R&D department where they develop innovative solutions to answer the needs of their brand owners and printing companies.

“Hybrid Software is honored and grateful to receive another FTA Technical Innovation award in the Prepress – Graphics category this year,” remarks Guido Van der Schueren, Chairman of Hybrid Software. “Every flexo trade shop and printer works every day to maximize their print quality, but making the highest quality flexo plates has always been the realm of highly skilled craftsmen. By working with demanding partners like Steurs, SGK, Mavigrafica, and Tadam, Hybrid Software has distilled that craft into software, creating a repeatable manufacturing process that is truly intelligent.”

“And in keeping with our open-systems philosophy, we built a solution that would work with any flexo workflow, not just our own. We believe that everyone should have the freedom to install any system that offers true quality or productivity benefits—and the power to implement their own technological nuances to differentiate themselves from others. That’s the underlying potential of Intelligent Flexo,” he added.


2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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