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CTP is getting leaner & cleaner

Sep 1, 2008 12:00 AM

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Prepress equipment and plate manufacturers made several CTP debuts at Drupa 2008. If you didn't make it to Düsseldorf this spring, you can see them up close at Graph Expo 2008, October 26-29 in Chicago.

inkjet CTP

Glunz & Jensen (Elkwood, VA) launched the next generation of its inkjet CTP (iCTP) technology, the PlateWriter 2000, at Drupa. The platesetter targets small and medium-format printers looking for an affordable chemistry-free CTP option. Unlike traditional laser-based platesetters, the Platewriter “prints” the image on to a blank plate, The platesetter adds a press-ready image directly onto the metal plate, then the integrated finishing unit dries and gums the plate. Since there are neither photosensitive diazo or photopolymer coatings to remove, light sensitivity and processing steps are eliminated. The PlateWriter 2000 accepts plates up to 18 × 22 inches; the 2400 can handle plates up to 24.5 × 30.9 inches.

“The marketplace can now enjoy the benefits of an even more environmentally friendly and fully digital workflow as well as high quality output,” says Mark Baker-Homes, business unit director, iCTP.

For high-end uses, the vendor offers InterPlater HDX plate processors. The platform currently works with violet and thermal applications and will support future chemistry-free products. Also new is the ProVision Alliance high-speed, automatic, inline, single-stage bender for singlewide plates with a minimum width of 11 inches or doublewide plates with a maximum width of 27.5 inches.

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Polyester CTP

Printware's (St. Paul, MN) PlateStream line of polyester platesetters is available in SC (letter), SCX (portrait) and Color+ Dual (landscape) models. They produce up to 120 press-ready plates per hour and offer an intuitive press profiling system to fine-tune dot gain and linearization. Printware's 280- or 394-ft. rolls of SilverStream Color+ plate material enable users to produce plates cut to size.

Printware CTP solutions are powered by the Navigator GPS RIP and enhanced with RIP Manager workflow. This allows operators full RIP control and job management from the desktop. PDF Tools automatically create and preflight PDFs within the workflow.

Remote PlateSetter Diagnostics and Printware direct service and support ensure maximum uptime, with 100 percent system coverage, 24/7 telephone support, training and optional on-site support.

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Thermal VLF and a sharper plate

Agfa Graphics (Ridgefield Park, NJ) introduced the :Avalon N series at Drupa 2008. The new thermal CTP engines are available in 8-up and very large format (VLF) with a variety of plate sizes and plate-per-hour capabilities.

The :Avalon N 8-up range accommodates plate sizes up to 1,160 × 940 mm (45.6 × 37 inches), and supports throughputs from 8 to 50 plates/hr. A new imaging head features 1,024 beams and is based on GLV (grating light valve) technology, which Agfa first introduced in 2002.

The VLF version currently has three available engines, the :Avalon N16, N24 and N36. Plate sizes range from 1,470 × 1,154 mm (57.8 × 45.4 inches) for the N16; 1,750 × 1,400 mm (68.8 × 55.1 inches) for the N24; and 2,100 × 1,600 mm (82.6 × 62.9 inches) for the N36. All the new models support internal punching and are available with manual or automatic plate loading with one or multiple plate cassettes. All models also include automatic paper sheet removal.

The new platesetters are commercially available and are fully compatible with Agfa's :Apogee workflow and range of thermal digital plates and processors, including the chemistry-free :Azura, low-chemistry :Amigo and no-bake, long-run :Energy Elite plates. Two additional models, the :Avalon N40 and N48, are designed to support the new 80 and 96-page web presses. The N40 and N48 will be available later in the year.

Agfa Graphics' new :Azura TX is an upgrade to its :Azura thermal CTP plate, offering higher throughput and sharper contrast. It combines a gum-based cleanout with a more sensitive coating, resulting in significantly higher throughput on thermal platesetters — reportedly up to 50 percent (subject to press conditions) in as many as 100,000 impressions. :Azura uses Agfa's ThermoFuse technology, which physically bonds images to the plate without chemical processing. The FM screening capable :Azura TS uses a simple process that cleans and gums the plate in one step. Agfa also featured the :Azura V at Drupa, a chemistry-free digital plate for violet platesetters.

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Screen's (Rolling Meadows, IL) PlateRite Ultima thermal CTP line includes 16, 24, 26, 80 and 96-page versions. The 24000 and 36000 complement new larger format presses and can image two B1 plate simultaneously. They can produce a full set of B1 plates for a 12-unit press in less than 15 minutes. The XXL format PlateRite Ultima 48000 produces plates up to 2,900 × 1,350 mm, or up to 96 A4-size pages.

Screen also exhibited the Plate Rite 4300 and PlateRite 8200 Niagara platesetters. The B2-format PlateRite 4300E can produce up to 11 plates/hr. and can be upgraded in the field to the PlateRite 4300S, which outputs 21 plates/hr. Automation options include a single autoloading cassette that holds 50 plates and a multicassette system that can provide 15 hours of unattended operation. The PlateRite 8200 Niagara is designed to bring affordable CTP production with a patented imaging head that uses Screen's advanced laser and optical technologies. See

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UV innovations

Punch Graphix (Lier, Belgium) unveiled a new generation of platesetters for UV plate exposure: the basysPrint UV-Setter 400 (4-up) and 800 (8-up) series. Like its predecessors, the new UV-Setters operate with conventional UV-sensitive plates, both negative and positive. Manual versions are available, as well as optional semiautomatic systems with automatic plate transport to the processor.

The first level of full automation is the SCA (single cassette automation) version. This UV-Setter holds up to 100 plates of a particular format in a storage cassette. Further plate formats can be made available by way of an additional trolley. The MCA (multicassette automation) version holds a maximum of 500 plates in up to five different plate formats and automatically supplies the required format for exposure. The SCA and MCA variants incorporate automatic slip sheet removal, and automatic punching is an option.

Designed with a flatbed, all versions of the UV-Setter 400 and 800 series are able to expose plates of different formats simultaneously. The 1-bit TIFF interface enables users to choose whether to integrate a UV-Setter into an existing workflow.

Unbaked negative plates achieve run lengths of 400,000. With a positive plate, this figure can be boosted to over 1.5 million impressions. “Cost savings are already to be expected from an annual plate consumption of 4,000 sq. m. upwards,” says Wim Deblauwe, CEO, Punch Graphix.

The exposure units of the latest basysPrint UV-Setters 450 and 850 are based on DSI3 technology, combining the light output of several diodes installed separately from the exposure head. A constant light output level is maintained within the modules by way of their APC (automatic power control) circuitry. The DSI3 basysPrint systems are characterized by a permanently high degree of stability, even without further calibration.

basysPrint serves large format users with its UV-Setter Series 11, while the Series 15 and 16 cater for the so-called Super VLF. basysPrint now offers the MCA automation module on these systems. The MCA module comprises four separate cassettes. The system can store up to 320 single plates (format up to 1,560 × 3,170 mm, thickness 0.4 mm) or up to 800 dual-loaded plates (two plates in 8-page format, thickness 0.3 mm).
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Thermal, flexo and non-process expansion

Kodak (Rochester, NY) unveiled the fastest and most productive addition to its Kodak Magnus 800 line: The Kodak Magnus 800Z Quantum platesetter images up to 60 8-up plates/hr. and features a new thermal head that generates double the laser power of its predecessors.

In response to the emergence of the extremely wide format market and the adoption of presses with formats as wide as 80 pages and beyond, Kodak introduces the Kodak Magnus XLF 80 Quantum Platesetter for up to 80 pages at 48 plates/hr. (2,400 dpi).

For packaging converters, Kodak has expanded the capabilities of the Kodak Flexcel NX Digital Flexographic System. Now able to produce plates up to a maximum size of 800 × 1,067 mm, it is designed to deliver greater latitude on press, improving the consistency and repeatability of the printed result.

Kodak's Thermal Direct non-process plate line is expanding. New technologies allow a broader group of printers to move toward a positive green footprint and extend the non-process technology to other segments of the printing industry. Kodak is expanding its plate manufacturing facility in Xiamen, China, with the addition of a second production line. The facility produces digital and conventional printing plates.

Kodak's Unified Workflow solutions intelligently automate and integrate business, data, color and production processes for both conventional and digital production.

Kodak's prepress solutions business has streamlined its service and support offerings with four new service plans for its prepress and workflow products. The plans are designed to help users maximize the value of their systems by controlling costs, increasing productivity and minimizing business risk.

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Ecofriendly poly & violet advancements

ECRM (Tewksbury, MA) debuted the DPX 4 Eco, a polyester platesetter with a self-contained processing unit. Instead of the plate entering a multibath processor, the chemistry is coated onto the plate in a thin layer. The system does not require a water supply or drainage. It is capable of outputting 27 ready to use plates per hour at 2,540 dpi. Its dual magazine and built-in register punches (for 220 mm and 425 mm distances) enable users to output plates for two different presses without interruption.

ECRM's MAKO 2x, 4x and 8x platesetters have been enhanced with a more powerful 120 milliwatt laser diode. ECRM demonstrated these units with Agfa's :Azura V violet chemistry-free plate. “For many printers, the advent of chem-free plate technology is a breakthrough that will enable them to enhance the ecological and economic benefits of violet CTP,” says Derek Sizer, vice president, Eastern Hemisphere Business, ECRM.

ECRM also has upgraded its WorkMates workflow solution to version 3.0, which offers a new graphical user interface and is compatible with the Harlequin RIP 8.0.

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Chem-free polyester writ large

Xanté's PlateMaker 5XL is a 16-up, process-free and chemical-free polyester CTP system. It images polyester plates and paper proofs up to 914 × 1,219 mm (36 × 48 inches) and is powered by the company's OpenRip Symphony 3.0 PDF workflow, which automates tasks such as imposition and trapping. The toner-based polyester platemaking solution images plates in about one minute for single-color and spot-color work.

The system was demonstrated using Myriad Polyester Plates in bulk rolls. The plates reportedly offer excellent hydrophilic properties to provide fast ink-up and a durable, scratch-resistant surface.

Shown as a “future design concept” during Drupa, the system will be commercially available around Graph Expo, according to the company.
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Small-format solutions

Mitsubishi Imaging (MPM) (Rye, NY) will make its 2008 CTP announcements at Graph Expo. The company offers a range of platesetters including the DPX daylight-operated polyester platesetter in 2-up and 4-up formats. The Silver DigiPlate paper and polyester plates enable the elimination of film for 1- to 4-color jobs under 25,000 impressions.

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Large-format thermal

Heidelberg (Kennesaw, GA) has added large-format models to its Suprasetter range. The new Suprasetter 145, 162 and 190 thermal CTP systems are designed to be used in conjunction with the Speedmaster XL 145 and XL 162 presses. They can supply plates for other presses up to a sheet width of 190 cm. (74.8 inches). The platesetters are available with throughput speeds of up to 35 plates per hour, with a resolution of either 2,540 or 2,400 dpi. The six cassettes of the plate loading unit enable up to 600 plates in as many as six different formats to be loaded automatically. The main target groups for this prepress solution are packaging, industrial, and web printers.

“Since the Suprasetter series was launched in 2004, its thermal laser technology has proved highly effective and has undergone further development on an ongoing basis, ensuring reliable, stable processes and high imaging quality,” says Dr. Jürgen Rautert, a member of the Heidelberg Management Board responsible for products and technology.

Additional product features such as the Intelligent Diode System (IDS) and the integrated punching system ensure smooth operation and high precision. The platesetters can be integrated into the Prinect workflow and use the latest RIP generation in the form of Prinect RIP technology and the Adobe Print Engine. Users may choose their preferred screening process. Plate on Demand technology is also available, enabling plate production to be activated directly at the press control station. Smart Plate Handling offers the additional flexibility of manual loading, for example when working with seldom-used plate formats. The system can be tailored to specific customer requirements. It can be equipped with additional laser modules and internal punches for high register accuracy, customers can select their required plate loading units, and the system can also be upgraded to support a larger plate format.

The new Suprasetters will be available for delivery from Q4 2008.

Heidelberg has created new Saphira Performance Kits in versions designed to unlock the full performance of printing equipment for specific applications and technologies. The kits consist of coordinated Saphira-brand consumables either manufactured in-house or in cooperation with suppliers. The first kits are available for the Speedmaster SM 52 with Anicolor, UV applications (available at the end of 2008), and the Speedmaster SM 102 with Perfecting Coating Solutions. Further packages are under development.

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New platesetters, chemistry-free plates

Presstek (Hudson, NH) debuted Compass, a new thermal platesetter line including the 4000 (4-up) and 8000 (8-up) series. Compass platesetters image up to 250 lpi and use Aurora Pro chemistry-free plates and a range of low-energy, third-party plates. Aurora Pro plates support run lengths up to 25,000 impressions, require only a water wash prior to mounting on press, and resist UV inks and solvents.

The Compass 4015 and 4038 image plates up to 685 × 669 mm (26.96 × 26.33 inches) at up to 15 and 38 plates/hr., respectively. The Compass 8022 and 8030 image plates up to 1162 × 950 mm (45.7 × 37.4 inches) at up to 22 or 30 plates/hr., respectively. The base model features continuous loading, and optional single- or multicassette autoloaders are available.

Presstek also has introduced the Vector FL52, a new version of the company's small-format, chemistry-free metal platesetter. It features a new imaging system engineered to deliver excellent dot quality and high reliability. It is offered with the chemistry free Freedom Pro plates.

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Chemistry-free violet

Fujifilm Corp. (Valhalla, NY) debuted the Brillia High Definition (HD) PRO-V, a chemistry-free violet CTP plate, at Drupa 2008. The plate will be shown at Graph Expo with its U.S. brand name: Brillia HD Ecomaxx-V. This new plate brings the benefits of high-quality, chemistry-free plate production to users of violet CTP systems and is suitable for commercial and newspaper print applications.

The Brillia HD range of CTP plates comprises both violet and thermal versions, with processed, chemistry-free and processless derivatives. All of the plates are rated at 1-99 percent resolution, 200 lpi, and are capable of printing 20 micron with FM screening.

The new Brillia HD Ecomaxx-V plate is rated at 150,000 to 200,000 impressions and is compatible with violet platesetters available on the market today. Based on a new high sensitivity polymerization technology, the plate offers environmentally friendly processing, easier maintenance of the finishing unit, less waste, a smaller footprint.

Fujifilm's Saber violet platesetters offer single-laser and double-laser configurations for a range of output speeds. The Saber V8 HS can output 50 8-up plates/hr. at 2,400 dpi and 70 plates/hr. at 1,200 dpi.

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