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CTF -- Drumming up Business

April 2001
Printers and prepress operations looking to step up to outputting imposed, eight-up film have a number of drum imagesetters from which to choose. Key features of the leading systems are highlighted here to help potential buyers start making some comparisons.

Agfa SelectSet Avantra 44
The SelectSet Avantra 44 product family includes three internal-drum models—Avantra 44XT (performance), Avantra 44S (quality) and Avantra 44E (lower cost). The Avantra 44XT has a 30,000 rpm spin motor, enabling it to output 1,113 square inches per minute or 21 flats per hour at 1,200 dpi. It also features a high-performance media handling system. The Avantra 44S boosts the machine's top output resolution to 3,600 dpi. The three models have a 35.7x44.5˝ maximum image area, handle material thicknesses to 12mil polyester plates and feature a built-in modem for remote diagnostics.

Barco MegaSetter and GigaSetter
Barco Graphic Systems has raised the bar a little higher with its MegaSetter (63.5x47.2˝, 16-up), MegaSetter Plus (63.5x 53.14˝, 24-up) and GigaSetter (96.5x 63.5˝, 32-up) imagesetters. The imagesetters support resolutions to 5,080 ppi and a maximum 350 lpi screen ruling. They are designed with an external drum and optics carriage that travels on air bearings to achieve an imaging accuracy of ±0.2mil.

CreoScitex Dolev 800, V, V2
The three internal-drum imagesetter models in the Creo-Scitex Dolev 800 family have a maximum image area of 33x44˝. Faster air-bearing spinners and electronics boost the output speed of the 800V to 831 square inches per minute at 1,270 dpi and for the 800V2 to 1,558 square inches per minute. They all support a continuously variable resolution range from 1,270 to 5,080 dpi (or, optionally, to 10,000 dpi for security applications). The devices can expose film and polyester plate materials in thicknesses to 8mil. Turbo Screening technology delivers higher screen rulings at lower expose resolutions.

Fujifilm Sumo Luxel F9000
According to the manufacturer, the Fujifilm Sumo Luxel F9000 imagesetter line overcomes the productivity limits inherent in rotating spinner mirrors by offering multi-laser configurations. Up to three independent lasers are controlled by patented AOD (Acousto-Optic Deflector) technology to ensure the laser beams are perfectly aligned. With three lasers, the device can image a maximum of 58 full-size flats per hour, or 2,703 square inches per minute, at 1,219 dpi. The imagesetter's inverted "C" drum design is said to minimize dust on film, and an acclimatization area enhances media stability.

Heidelberg Primesetter 102
Heidelberg's Primesetter 102 internal-drum imagesetter provides an imaging area of 30.3x42.1˝, mirroring the printing format of the Speedmaster SM 102. The unit's internal drum rides on a vibration-free mount to absorb jolts and bumps from the environment, preventing artifacts. In addition, the Primesetter transports the media on a cushion of air and holds it in place with vacuum force to prevent scratching and to ensure image quality. It can image up to 19 flats per hour at 1,270 dpi. Automatic Page Positioning, Visual Automatic Page Positioning and Mixed Mode programs enable individual pages to be output without wasting material.

Purup-Eskofot ImageMaker B1
The ImageMaker B1 CtF system has a 32.3x42.5˝ format size and is able to image 1,205 square inches per minute at 1,270 dpi. The machine can be upgraded in the field to image digital metal plates with an argon-ion, FD-YAG, or thermal YAG laser. Its cast-iron drum protects against the effects of vibration, and fluctuations in temperature and humidity. The OptoLink system increases dot sharpness by separating the laser from the imaging carriage. A three-roll magazine holds up to 600 feet of film or polyester plate (8mil) material online. Users can select from more than 20 standard punch register systems.

Screen (USA) Tanto 5120
The Tanto 5120 is an external-drum imagesetter that features a 31.9x44.1˝ format size and maximum resolution of 4,000 dpi. It is capable of imaging 1,852 square inches per minute at 1,200 dpi by utilizing a high-power LED array that simultaneously images a 120 channel-wide swath while the drum spins at up to 420 rpm. The machine handles a minimum media size of 24x32.7˝, with a low-stress loading system that is said to put minimal tension onto the media, preventing film distortion. Automatic internal punching is possible with optional punch blocks from Stoesser, Bacher, Protocol, Graphometronik and DS. An online processor also can be added.


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