The Next (Digital) Proofers

Expanded color gamuts, strategic digital halftone proofing launches, imposition proofers and multi-setting thermal devices highlighted the digital proofing component of GRAPH EXPO 99.

BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO

What were the digital proofing flares shot out at GRAPH EXPO 99? One glaring signal: Digital halftone proofing is still riding a high.

Equally hot for the contract proofmakers were new devices offering expanded color gamuts, two-sided imposition proofers, new multi-purpose thermal proofsetters and refined remote proofing promises—all of which captured the attention and scrutiny of show attendees, who are looking to purchase the next contract proofer and want to know . . .

  • Who joined the digital halftone proofing race, setting to compete with established systems from Polaroid, Kodak Polychrome Graphics and multi-setting solutions such as Creo’s Spectrum and Presstek’s PEARLsetter?

  • What new color management utilities have bolstered the existing selection of four- and eight-up digital halftone proofers?
  • What piezo-electric devices caught attention for high quality font character rendering and crisp, multi-density ink capabilities?

For Starters . . .
Scitex expanded its Lotem CTP line with the introductions of smaller, faster and larger models—plus a proofing capability and a link to enable external RIPs to drive Lotem imagers.

The four-page Lotem 400V and the eight-page Lotem 800V sport a new proofing capability that allows the units to image proofs on the same machine that produces plates. Scitex has enabled the Lotems to image a completely new Kodak thermal imaging material in order to produce full-size proofs using the same RIP and engine that will be used for producing plates.

With the initial models, the loading of materials will be manual, with semi-automatic versions to follow in the future. Scitex estimates that it will take about 40 minutes to produce one eight-page proof.

The cost of proofs is estimated at $10 to $12.50 per page. Formal pricing has not been announced, but Scitex expects LotemProof to be a $12,000 option with all Lotem 800 and 400 models, available now. As a point of reference, the Scitex Lotem 800V machines range in price between $275,000 and $380,000, depending primarily on the capabilities of the Scitex Brisque front end.

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