So far, flexo has tried simply adding more colors to extend its spot color range and for a while has had some success with 7-color printing. This has now been extended into 4-color process printing by running higher density CMYK and has shown some remarkable results for the few that have tried it.
Getting enough ink transfer from many photopolymer plates has proved such an issue that texturization of solid plate surfaces has been used to help it achieve greater densities. Special software programs and new plate materials are helping the process significantly and can be very productive on press with fewer color changes, wash-ups and reduced ink costs. That said, it does not appear so far to replace all spot colors but is producing gamut ranges that are challenging offset and gravure. Will it ever be seen as an equal? It really depends on the buyer and ultimately the consumer’s expectations.