4PICO Litho B.V. of the Netherlands has just launched the PicoMaster XF, what the company says is the world’s first large-format, high-speed, high-resolution, direct write lithography (DWL) exposure platform that has been specifically designed to originate holograms, diffractive patterns, Fresnel lenses, Fresnel “bas relief” images and “zero-color” white optical patterns for the premium packaging industry.

Examples of well-known premium packaging that includes Fresnel lenses and optical effects includes champagne, cosmetics and toothpaste packaging.

The PicoMaster XF can reportedly write any kind of greyscale, sub-micron, 2.5D micro-structure directly onto the surface of a photosensitive plate, with features as small as 500 nm.

Until now, Fresnel lenses and similar optical effects have been largely originated using diamond engraving systems which limits their design complexity. The PicoMaster XF is designed to create any size and shape of Fresnel lens with any surface finish, from mirror to frosted. Lenses can be embedded into holographic and optical patterns, such as rainbow gratings, or integrated and overlayed with other lenses and holographic and optical effects, leading to new and exciting packaging designs. The combined image or pattern, including the lenses, is then exposed in a single pass at up to 90 cm2 per hour, and so the additional recombination of separate elements is not required.

There are currently two systems in the range, the PicoMaster XF 500-H, the first of which was recently delivered to a leading Chinese manufacturer, and the PicoMaster XF 200-H, exposing areas up to 550 x 550 mm and 215 x 215 mm respectively. However, systems of any size can be built to suit requirements and application.

The PicoMaster XF is provided with PicoHLD (Pico Hologram and Lens Designer), a fully featured and user-friendly hologram and Fresnel lens design and composition program. The program is supplied with a collection of algorithms that enable the user to design and integrate all holographic, optical and lens effects. The software also supports user libraries that enable the development and recording of proprietary and unique effects.

The PicoMaster XF is also supplied with the Sitech Pattern Generator, a program for the generation of random shape and gradient “pillars of light” patterns for security and packaging applications.

The PicoMaster-H and PicoMaster XF-H ranges are exclusively distributed by Spatial Imaging-Sitech of the UK.

Visit www.sitech.co.uk for more information.