CTP--Still Testing the Waters
"It looks to me like all the visible-light CTP products combined have increased sales less than 50 percent during a year that saw overall growth at around 200 percent. The verdict of the marketplace is in: Given the choice of commercially available CTP plate products on the market today, thermal is the way to go—and the place to go for thermal plates is Kodak Polychrome Graphics," Bartram says.
Talk about fighting words.
Still, Bartram admits, what lies ahead for thermal CTP may not be utopia, but some new and exciting thermal plate products from major competitors set for distribution this year will certainly make for some real competition in the off-press thermal CTP arena.
"We'll try to stay ahead of the curve by aggressively developing our no-process and digital waterless plate technologies, while intensifying our efforts to improve our existing preheat and no-preheat products," Bartram says. "The increasing choices for thermal CTP plates and platesetting systems promise faster CTP market growth and a healthier, more sophisticated, more competitive, offset printing industry in a world of increasingly complex and diversified media choices."
In 1997, PDI introduced the PRISMA 830 CTP plates and the PRISMA 1064 CTP plates, which are both thermally written. Since then, PDI's Dwight Zilinskas reports that PDI realized it had made the correct choice in going thermal.
"Although products released earlier by our competitors required high energy prebake and postbake ovens, as well as UV filtered safelights, our PRISMA products eliminated the need for any of these," Zilinskas explains. "These advancements provided a major leap ahead for the CTP industry and, as we move forward in 1999, our studies show that PRISMA products rank No. 2 for being the largest number of thermal CTP installations in commercial and publication printing operations in North America. Quebecor, World Color Press, Mail-Well, Treasure Chest, Spencer Press and St. Ives are just a few of the many printers that have adopted the thermal technology of PRISMA CTP plates."