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Download: Asahi AWP-DEF Spec Sheet

AWP-DEF is the brand new development in photopolymer plate technology by Asahi Photo-products. For the first time, Asahi is marketing a solid water-washable plate. This particular product satisfies the most severe criteria in terms of high quality printing and does more to match current technologies. AWP-DEF produces superior results to traditional or thermal technologies and even outperforms the latest generation of digital flexographic printing plates. In addition to the usual benefit of Asahi plate products, this AWP-DEF plate gives a level of graphic reproduction similar to other digital plates, with a higher ink transfer and a wider tonal range.

The AWP DEF can be processed on a conventional exposure frame, the processing itself being made in a processor AWP 230W specifically designed to process water-washable plates from Asahi. The plate is exposed on the back to produce the desired relief depth and achieve maximum sensitivity to UV light. After removal of the protective film, the plate is imaged by digital imager with a commonly available laser. Learn about the Asahi AWP Unit, the AWP 230 W Processor

The Plate is then exposed, washed out, quickly dried, and finished by UVA and UVC to ensure the optimum properties of the print-ready plate. AWP DEF plates are compatible with commonly used UV, solvent- and water-based ink systems.

Water-washable plates capable of holding highlight dots:
Traditionally, water washable flexo plates when compared to solvent plates have been considered – rightly or wrongly – of poor printing quality and product performance. The new polymer that has been developed does more than match traditional solvent photopolymer plates. Its behavior arguably outperforms the best digital flexo plates currently available for the printing industry. For the first time a water washable digital photopolymer plate can hold extremely small stable dots – smaller than those held by most solvent processed plates. They print mostly superior to their solvent counter parts, as their dots are much more stable during impression.

Fig 1. First printing dots with new water-washable plates(left) and with traditional solvent plates(right)

Exceptional ink release properties:
In the pressroom, the new technology has demonstrated other unique properties, including exceptional ink release properties, plate longevity(sustainability), and dimensional plate accuracy. The photopolymer has the unique property to transfer and release virtually all the ink it takes from the anilox. The manner in which the ink "pins" to the dots on the plate is quite different than seen in other plate making systems. This "pinning" virtually eliminates problems such as ink build-up and dot bridging due to the improved release. The number of press stops due to plate dirtying and ink build up is dramatically reduced. Ink release is so elevated that at the end of the run, the plate is nearly as clean as before printing(see image below).

Fig 2. clean plate(left) after printing with minor traces of ink build-up in contrast to two solvent type plates(center and right) after printing with large ink build-up and the need for thorough plate cleaning.

AFP-DEF  Solid, Water-Washable Plate

Plate Thickness
.045 (1.14 mm), .067 (1.70 mm)
Hardness/Shore A
77, 70
K Factor
5.98mm(0.2388"), 9.89mm(0.3896")
Resolution 175 lpi digital
Isolated Line
Isolated Dot

  • The excellent ink transfer results in superlative ink coverage
  • Superbly balanced reproduction of large tonal areas, fine text and halftone elements
  • The high durability with UV ink printing
  • The extremely high flexibility enables printing, even from small-diameter cylinders
  • The plate is compatible with UV ink, solvent-based ink, and water-based ink
  • The platemaking time is one of the improvements from solvent wash-out type of plate
  • Special plate surface that has the ability to prevent ink filling in on fine detailed images
  • Easier plate cleaning after printing

The green process - A new platemaking concept utilizing an ecological approach:
Water is a precious natural resource, so this new technology takes water conservation into consideration. To be as clean as possible, a water processor, specifically dedicated to the plate technology, reduces any potential waste and water. The system allows water to be re-used during the various steps of the washout process. Clean water used for the rinsing of the plate is transferred into the washout with the addition of detergent and is then used as wash out agent. At the end of the cycle, the contaminated water may be distilled and reintroduced into the system working in essentially a closed loop, substantially reducing waste.

Fig 3. The closed loop concept in the plate processor
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