DIGITAL PLATESETTERS — Growing by Twos and Fours

Agfa also offers the Galileo VS 4 (four-up) violet-laser platesetter. The internal-drum device is available in fully- and semi-automatic configurations. It images LithoStar Ultra plates in sizes from 14.5×17.72˝ to 26.61×29.33˝ and supports Agfa Balanced Screening and CristalRaster stochastic screening.

In his role as president of Pony X Press Printing Services in Reynoldsburg, OH, Gene Scott looks to develop capabilities and technologies that can set the company apart from the competition. For a time, that drive even led the mid-size shop (29 employees) to implement waterless printing. “We’ve always wanted to differentiate our company by printing higher line screens,” Scott notes.

A problem popped up when the shop tried to go digital, though. “We couldn’t get the digital waterless plates to hold the line screens we wanted, which is 300 lpi,” the company exec explains.

The solution: abandon waterless printing. Since it already was familiar with Presstek Inc. from having used its waterless plates, Pony X Press checked out the manufacturer’s digital plate offerings. That research led it to using Anthem plates imaged by a Creo Trendsetter 400 thermal platesetter. The shop later became a beta test site for the Presstek Applause plate.

Acquiring the platesetter (in July of 2000) also afforded the company an opportunity to explore Staccato stochastic screening, according to Scott. “We liked it well enough to switch to Staccato as our standard screening (except on its 12×18˝ Ryobi Itek press),” he says. “Staccato on the Anthem plates at 240 lpi looks as good as waterless printing at 300 lpi.”

Along with Staccato screening, other options available with the external drum-based Trendsetter include automatic loading/unloading, Spectrum halftone proofing, a choice of imaging speeds and support of processless plates.

Creo also offers four-up configurations in its Lotem series of thermal platesetters. The Lotem 400 is positioned as a cost-effective entry-level system, while the Lotem 400 Quantum can be configured as a fully automatic system for high-volume plate production.

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