CTP Systems -- Violet Support Isn't Shrinking
by MaRK SMITH
Weak strains of the great violet vs. thermal CTP debate cropped up in some post-Drupa reports, and then were echoed in postings on the PrintPlanet.com "Computer to Plate Pressroom, CTP Technologies" eCommunity and other industry forums. These discussions largely have covered old ground, but two pending developments are seen as having the potential to change the competitive picture.
Heidelberg announced a new option in its Prosetter violet platesetter line prior to Drupa, which should have been included in the printed version of this story.
With the new Multi Cassette Loader (MCL), any Prosetter can now image up to four different plate formats without changing cassettes. The automated system combines the company's existing Single Cassette Loader (SCL) with a Multi Cassette Container that can hold as many as four cassettes. Each cassette stores up to 150 plates, for a total of up to 600 printing plates ready for fully automated plate production. A software-controlled elevator system in the Multi Cassette Container automatically loads the appropriate cassette for the required plate format into the SCL.
The MCL reportedly can be retrofitted in the field to existing Prosetter systems in just a few hours. It provides light-safe operation, enabling the CTP system to be used in daylight conditions.
While not limited to its violet systems, Heidelberg also introduced a new "Plate On Demand" function that integrates the Prosetter directly into the pressroom. At the Prinect CP2000 Center, the press operator simply selects the required job on the touchscreen, then with the press of a button can start plate imaging for the required color separation or the entire job directly via the CTP device.
This function reportedly will be available at the end of the year. Users must have Prinect MetaDimension Version 5.0 and enable the Preset Link option in the Prinect CP2000 Center Version 41 or Prinect Print Center.
One is the belief that Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG) is on the verge of adding a violet-sensitive product to its current thermal digital plate lineup. Some industry pundits have suggested it's a question of when, not if, but this is still just speculation unless and until there is a formal announcement from KPG.