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At IPEX 98, New Digital Technology

November 1998
BIRMINHAM, UK—Technology innovators in prepress, press and postpress turned their collective attention to England recently as IPEX drew global crowds to this industrial city.

Heidelberg rolled out the Speedmaster 74 DI, Screen jumped into the digital press ring with TruePress, Kodak Polychrome Graphics touted Kodak Approval XP4, Scitex marketed its Lotem family of platesetters, and Agfa Div., Bayer Corp., put the spotlight on Thermostar P970 and P971 for 830nm and 1,064nm thermal CTP, respectively.

Technology highlights turned to new innovations in color management, thermal CTP, digital offset presses, variable data software enhancements, digital color proofing innovations, new scanning systems, large-format printing solutions, imagesetters and a laundry list of other hot ticket technologies.

Here's a quick look at what was hot at IPEX.

Digital Press Directions

Heidelberg brought digital imaging to the four-up market with the new Speedmaster 74 DI, a four-up press to complement the two-up Quickmaster DI press, of which more than 700 have been installed worldwide. The Speedmaster 74 DI prints at 15,000 sheets per hour, with its 200-line screen delivering Heidelberg offset print quality. It can be configured as a four-, five- or six-color machine, with or without in-line coating. Perfecting is also available.

Other digital press launches included efforts from Screen and Xeikon. Screen's new TruePress digital imaging system prints at speeds up to 4,000 impressions per hour for four-color work or 8,000 impressions per hour for two-color work.

Meanwhile, Xeikon launched the DCP/50-S, a digital color press optimized for production packaging applications, and KBA announced plans to market Indigo's digital offset color printing presses and establish joint demo centers globally.

The first stage of this agreement will be the marketing by KBA of Indigo's technology in Germany and Italy. This agreement represents a new facet in Indigo's strategic outlook of partnering with world-class companies.

In other moves, Portalis, the developer of a new concept in digital print production called PressPort—which turns a digital press into a sophisticated "off-the-glass" color copier—and Xerox demonstrated a strategic alliance to market PressPort with the Xerox DocuColor 70 digital color press.

"PressPort is a breakthrough technology that can bring quality digital color replication to previously untapped markets," reports Joe McGrath, vice president and general manager, Production Color Systems, Xerox. "Developing an alliance with Portalis to market PressPort and the DocuColor 70 will accelerate this process."

The German Giant

Highlights of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen's Prepress Business Unit, Heidelberg Prepress, included processless thermal technology, halftone proofs from the plate recorder, future applications of PDF and the pre-controlling of print production. There seemed to be particular interest in the enhanced Trendsetter CTP solutions the company has developed in conjunction with its Canadian joint-venture partner, Creo Products. Also, Heidelberg Prepress presented version 5.5 of Delta Technology, which promises to optimize the CIP3 workflow.

New Imagers Among Us

In the realm of imagesetters, launches of note included the Screen Katana 5040, with a maximum imaging width of 15.7˝, and Screen Katana 5055, boasting a speed of 72˝ per minute across a width of 21.6˝. ECRM's latest launch, StingRay, will compete directly in a market previously served only by drum-based imagesetters. The StingRay line currently has two versions, StingRay 6300, with a 25˝ width, and StingRay 5200, holding a 20.5˝ width. The 6300's width enables it to produce eight-up impositions.

New Workflow on Block

Fuji Photo Film introduced Valiano, a workflow management and tracking solution that runs under NT using Microsoft SQL server database software.

Valiano will manage and track scanning, image input, image archiving, file interpretation, business management and output. With Valiano, Fujifilm offers its version of the ever-more-critical accessible audit trail. Valiano is designed to be linked to a variety of OPI servers and to manage output to both Fujifilm imagesetters and platesetters, as well as output systems from other manufacturers.

Look for an update from events at the recent Graph Expo in the December Printing Impressions.


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