In terms of announcements made at the show, most ended up being U.S. debuts of products introduced at Drupa in Germany last May. (The June 2004 edition of Printing Impressions carried extensive coverage of that trade show.)

Many of the prepress product introductions are included in the “Digital Workflow Software” story on page 57 of this issue.

As for processless plate technology, there were no major updates to any of the previously reported (August 2004 issue of Printing Impressions, page 24) development efforts.

Agfa was able to finalize its acquisition of Lastra just prior to Graph Expo, but it was status quo at the show in terms of the companies having separate booths and plans for the plate product lines. Agfa continues to emphasize that its chemistry-free Azura plate (based on ThermoFuse technology) is commercially available, with Kirkwood Printing of Wilmington, MA, being an early adopter. At Graph Expo, the company also pointed out that its new Acento four-up, thermal platesetter is now shipping in North America.

Along with celebrating its first year in the printing plate business, Creo announced it intends to add a production line to its West Virginia manufacturing facility. The plate line is expected to more than double the plant’s capacity and is projected to be completed by the end of 2005.

A mix of thermal and violet CTP hardware introductions was sprinkled around the show floor.

Heidelberg showed a strong commitment to thermal at Drupa 04 with the introduction of a new laser system it developed and is incorporating into the Suprasetter line of thermal platesetters. These platesetters offer versatility in plate handling, format coverage and punching. Various configurations are available, from the four- or eight-page basic models to the automatic Single Cassette Loader (SCL), Multiple Cassette Loader (MCL) and Plate-On-Demand (which allows for instant plate production initiated from the CP 2000 press console) systems.

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