DIGITAL PLATES & PLATESETTERS — Two Steps Forward

Past articles in Printing Impressions have covered commercially available plates and platesetters, so the focus of this one is on the latest information about the other announced CTP products or technologies.

As was noted earlier, the current generation of violet systems require use of a faster, silver halide-based emulsion because of the relatively low level of power delivered to the plate by 5mW laser diodes. Violet-sensitive photopolymer plates hold the promise of eliminating silver from the process, along with other benefits. However, the slower emulsion requires the use of a 30mW diode for the process to be practical.

The first plate and platesetter products in this latter category were announced more than one year ago, but the technology still is not commercially available in the United States. For their part, platesetter manufacturers say achieving that status is just a formality, and they are just waiting on compatible plates.

The Fujifilm Brillia LP-NV violet-sensitive, photopolymer plate will be commercially available in the fourth quarter of 2002, says Jim Crawford, group manager of output media for the Graphic Systems division of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. in Itasca, IL. “Initially, LP-NV will primarily support our Saber violet platesetter model, but qualifications will also be performed for other vendors’ violet platesetters.”

For another manufacturer, the DiamondPlate LV-1 photopolymer violet-light plate will be available for continued beta testing through 2002, reports Kathy May, marketing manager for Western Lithotech, a Lastra Group company, in St. Louis. “Commercialization is expected in the first quarter of 2003.”

The platesetter manufacturers promise they’ll be ready to meet those dates.

Powering Up Violet

“Our Prosetter violet diode platesetter was engineered to be field upgraded to the 30mW laser when it makes sense. It will make sense to do so when the plate technology is available,” says Mark Tonkovich, CTP product manager for Heidelberg USA in Kennesaw, GA.

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