ITEMS of interest

Building upon its debut of Apogee workflow software in 1997, Agfa will demonstrate its most recent generation—ApogeeX—which is based on PDF, JDF and digital film.

An intuitive interface lets the operator initiate and monitor tasks in real time. Full JDF-compliancy integrates MIS/IT into the workflow for automatic job-ticket generation and end-to-end workflow management. In addition, a Web approval tool enables authorized users to approve pages or imposed flats remotely.

ApogeeX can be integrated into any production environment and can be run on a single platform, or its tasks can be distributed on multiple servers depending on the size and the complexity of the prepress operation. The software will be commercially available in September, and will be targeted toward the four-up computer-to-plate and computer-to-film commercial printing markets.

Also showing will be Agfa’s next-generation, external drum, thermal platesetter, the eight-up, 45˝ Xcalibur 45, which can output 20 full-format plates per hour at 2,400 dpi, in either manual or automatic operation. It features a patented imaging system that sends laser energy through a Grating Light Valve (GLV; based on technology originally developed for high-definition television), where it is carefully controlled and calibrated.

The GLV’s micro-shutters modulate the laser light to produce individually addressable writing beams. This swath of beams ensures an exceptionally fast writing speed at a relatively slow (190 rpm) drum rotational speed. The micro-shutters bend to open and shut precisely, delivering a controlled “swath” to the plate surface. This writing swath reportedly allows the system to image contiguous, flawless shapes—a very different approach from other systems that create individual spots.

Also announced was Agfa’s new direct-imaging aluminum plate, Thermolite Plus, which is currently in alpha stage, but is expected to be commercially available in the third quarter. Designed for on-press imaging, it offers a run length of up to 100,000 impressions, depending on printing conditions. It reportedly will allow presses such as the Heidelberg Speedmaster 74-DI and the Komori S40D to handle higher volume print jobs.

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