DIGITAL PLATESETTERS -- Growing by Twos and Fours
Stinson was also sold on the benefits of the system. "The software package with in-RIP trapping provides us with the controls we need, and the price was very competitive," he explains. "We decided to use the Agfa (LithoStar Ultra) plates because we felt it was important to go with an industry leader as we entered the unknown world of using digital plates along side conventional plates."
The Mako 2 handles plate sizes from 10x10˝ up to 22x26.4˝, and offers seven output resolutions from 1,200 to 3,556 dpi. It can be configured with a 5mW violet laser for imaging silver-halide plates, or a 30mW laser to support photo-polymer plates. The Mako 4 has the same specifications, except it can handle plate sizes from 10x15˝ up to 25.4x36.5˝.
ECRM also offers the DesertCat 44 system for imaging thermal plates (830nm) and digital halftone proofing materials. It exposes plate sizes from 10x15˝ up to 25.4x32.7˝ at 2,400 or 2,540 dpi.
Envision Printing in Marietta, GA, was an early adopter of CTP-based production in a two-page format, but installation of a half-size press meant trading up to a four-page device. The six-year-old company has been on a fast growth path, with its sales rising more than 40 percent in each of the last two years. The shop currently employs 12 people.
Envision first installed a Heidelberg MO V four-color press, then added a six-color Speedmaster 74 perfector with coater. Next, in 2002, came a Heidelberg Prosetter 74 violet-laser platesetter to image Saphira silver-halide plates.
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Owner Pat MacBride says he researched most of the CTP systems on the market before deciding to invest in violet technology. "I'm not one to gamble with that amount of money," he explains. "We'd had a good experience with other Heidelberg equipment and knew they would really support this new technology (violet CTP). Thermal is a good product and, for certain shops, may even be a better option, but our analysis indicated that the maintenance requirements and costs were greater."