Digital Patesetters--Shopping the Output Odyssey
- Listen for new launches in the midsized platesetter market—with high-end, fully automated, eight-up devices taking their place at the top of the spectrum.
- Look out for more thermal platesetting announcements (keep an ear out for launches from Scitex and Screen, as well as from the now Gerber-bolstered BARCO Graphics).
- Watch the players! Pay close attention to new OEM agreements.
Most recently Agfa's agreement to market Krause America's LaserStar 140 and LaserStar 170 platesetters has captured some attention. This move brings a great deal of PDF power to the Krause line—as Agfa's Apogee workflow is perhaps the best friend to date of Adobe's Portable Document Format. Also, take notice of the marketing efforts of Fujifilm, as it brings technologies from Cymbolic Sciences and Screen to the market. Plus the ongoing technological initiatives of the Heidelberg/Creo alliance should prove for interesting moves in digital platemaking.
Recently, Creo qualified Fujifilm's Brillia LH-NI thermal plate, which brings the number of plates now qualified for use on Creo and Heidelberg/Creo thermal platesetters to five.
Fujifilm is also currently selling Cymbolic Sciences' (CSI) PlateJet4 and PlateJet8 series of platesetters. The manual CSI devices are said to provide a reasonable price point, unlike many fully automated devices. The PlateJet series can run both aluminum plates or graphic arts film without modification or retrofitting the equipment—offering a smooth transition from computer-to-film to computer-to-plate workflows.
"It makes the jump from one technology to the other far less treacherous," asserts Allen Dunn, senior product development manager for electronic imaging at Fujifilm. "CSI and Fujifilm have done a great deal of work optimizing the quality of our Fuji plate with the PlateJet imagers."
At the fall shows, Agfa will profile its eight-up Galileo and Antares 1600, the latter being a member of Agfa's newly launched Antares family. In its U.S. launch, the manual version of the 1064nm thermal Galileo will take a prominent position in the Agfa booth, alongside the fully automated version of the green-laser Galileo. The eight-up Antares 1600 is designed for commercial printers that need an eight-up format to match current press parameters. It can image 12 full-size plates per hour at 2,000 dpi with a semiautomatic loading system.