Make photopolymer plates for flexographic printing

Business Sectors (Suites): Post Press
Developed by: Improve
Approved on: 26 Feb 2021


This standard is for pre press operators preparing and processing photopolymer plates for flexographic printing.

This standard covers:

  • preparing photopolymer plates
  • transferring images to plates using film
  • processing photopolymer plates

It includes:

  • identifying the work, you have to do
  • exposing plates
  • processing plates
  • checking the image created
  • cleaning and recharging the processor
  • correctly identifying, resolving or reporting faults.

When working with photopolymer plates it is important to make sure that the negative films match with artwork elements and imposition, non-image density matches expected quality requirements and the correct exposure values to produce required plate characteristics are:

  • complete
  • sharp and clean
  • the required resolution

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

Prepare photopolymer plates

  1. check that the job details you have are complete
  2. check that you have all the materials of the right type needed for the job
  3. match negatives with artwork elements and imposition
  4. match non-image density with the manufacturer's recommendations and your company's quality standard
  5. prepare exposure units so that they will produce desired outputs for each job
  6. handle and load plates in a safe manner in accordance with organisational procedures
  7. position plates so that all image elements fall on the finished plate
  8. select exposure values which produce the required plate characteristics after processing
  9. expose the assembly in line with manufacturer's requirements
  10. pass the plate for processing when it is ready
    Process photopolymer plates


  1. load the processor in line with manufacturer's instructions
  2. handle and load materials in a safe and efficient manner in accordance with organisational procedures
  3. set and operate processor in a safe and efficient manner in accordance with organisational procedures
  4. keep up the supply of solvents throughout each run so that runs are not interrupted
  5. trim finished plates to the exact size required
  6. check that finished plates meet your company's standard for thickness, relief height and spots and blemishes
  7. rectify faults within your area of responsibility so that the run is not unnecessarily delayed
  8. report faults and problems which it is not your job to rectify in accordance with organisational procedures
  9. keep waste to a minimum and dispose of it in accordance with organisational procedures
  10. report when the plate is ready for production in accordance with organisational procedures

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the types of plates in use in your company, and the types of job for which they are used
  2. why it is important to check negatives, elements and non-image density
  3. the range, use and limitations of processing materials and equipment
  4. the risks which arise when you handle plates and materials and operate exposure units and how to avoid them
  5. the plate making methods and equipment in use in your company
  6. what safe light conditions are
  7. the risks associated with operating the equipment
  8. how to set up and operate the equipment
  9. your company's waste disposal procedures
  10. to whom you must report faults
  11. how to recognise when you should correct faults yourself and when you should ask for help
  12. what details you need for the job
  13. your company's quality standards


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

31 Jan 2024





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Printers, Printing Machine Minders and Assistants, Printing Trades

SOC Code



machine, printing down frame, printing plate, pre press, relief, flexographic, plate development, publishing; artwork