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DIGITAL digest

November 2007
Agfa Invests in Plate, Ink-Jet Resources

BRANCHBURG, NJ—Rural New Jersey isn’t usually thought of as a hotbed of activity, but it’s becoming one for Agfa Graphics. The company recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Agfa Competence Center that was added to its local plate manufacturing facility. It also announced plans for a significant retooling of one of the plant’s plate lines to boost capacity and enable local production of products based on ThermoFuse technology, including Azura and Amigo digital plates.

The competence center currently features two large-format ink-jet printers—an Anapurna XL, which prints up to a 981⁄2˝ width, and Anapurna M, which handles a maximum 63˝ media width. Still to be finalized are presentations on the Dotrix and M-Press ink-jet product lines.

On the plate side, an Avalon LF thermal platesetter with the PlateManager auto loader was installed for the opening of the center. That machine also can be used to demonstrate Agfa’s IntellSyst live remote diagnostic service, which is available 24/7 and reportedly has a solution rate in the 50 percent range for hardware issues and better than 90 percent for software problems.

Designed to be an educational resource, the competence center is a component of Agfa’s “C to the power of three” concept (www.switchtoC3.com) that embodies its commitment to providing end-to-end services and industrial ink-jet solutions. The “C” stands for complete, as in complete integration, services and benefits.

Wielding scissors at the ribbon cutting were Tom Saggiomo, president of Agfa Graphics North America; Julian Robledo, general manager of Agfa Ink-jet Solutions, North America; and Jeff Aurichio, director of the Branchburg manufacturing operation. Representatives from the company’s dealer partners and members of the press joined Agfa executives for the ceremony.

The Branchburg facility’s electro-chemical graining plate line is set to be stopped in the first quarter of 2008 and is expected to be back in commercial production by the third quarter. Inventories in Agfa’s national plate supply chain are being beefed up ahead of the shut down and products also can be sourced from its other manufacturing sites around the globe as needed to meet demand.

A key component of the upgrade will be enhancement of the line’s graining capabilities to provide the greater consistency and uniformity required with Thermo-Fuse technology. Agfa also is using this opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing process through efforts such as energy recuperation.
 

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