DRUPA 2004 -- Gearing Up for the Big Show
Running Hot and Cold
The company continues to expand its offerings in both CTP hardware product segments. Despite the market saturation, it is introducing higher speed XXT versions of its Xcalibur 45 and VLF thermal platesetters with Grating Light Valve (GLV) laser systems. In addition, Acento is a new four-up thermal machine targeted to medium-sized printers. It is available in several configurations of imaging units and plate loaders.
In the violet imaging space, this month (April) Agfa was due to start transitioning its Galileo and Palladio platesetter lines over to 30mW laser diodes. It is also set to launch an entry-level version of the Palladio with manual loading.
Since they are both members of the Punch Group, Strobbe Graphics and Xeikon International conducted a joint pre-Drupa briefing.
The event started out at Monti Business Communication Solutions, a Belgium-based printer of documents, forms and labels that served as a beta site for Strobbe's new PSA-33MV platesetter. What sets this eight-up (850x1,050mm), violet (30mW) or green (FD-YAG) laser machine apart is its flatbed design and an automatic plate loading system that can be configured with up to 10 cassettes, each capable of holding two plates sizes for a total of 20 different sizes online.
This platesetter, along with the semi-automatic PS36 companion version, are the foundation for an effort by Strobbe to establish itself as a direct seller of CTP solutions.
The company has a solid reputation as an OEM supplier, which includes having produced some 600 systems sold under the Polaris name by Agfa into the newspaper market. Strobbe reportedly makes all parts of its machines in-house.
Guido Dumarey, CEO of Punch International, led off the Xeikon portion of the briefing. In commenting on the Xeikon acquisition, he observes that, while the company's installed base has declined by 3 percent to 4 percent each year since 2000, toner use has increased on a per-machine basis.