CTP--The Digital DRUPA
New enhancements to existing devices from BARCO Graphics to Printware, coupled with new plate recorders entering the market from Agfa, Krause and Cymbolic Sciences this year, just to name a few, will without reservation set the stage for a new platesetting market.
DRUPA 1995 may have been a turning point for the industry; Certainly much of the technology announced at that event became the butt of a few jokes—there were more CTP systems on display than there were actual installations worldwide.
Five years later, with thermal CTP now out of the diaper phase and fully implemented in thousands of locations globally, coupled with new blue laser diode platesetters poised to challenge thermal's grip over the marketplace, to use an old phrase: We ain't seen nothin' yet.
Between DRUPA 1995 and DRUPA 2000
. . . The Thermal Revolution
(Editor's Note: The following information was provided by Kodak Polychrome Graphics.)
When the graphic arts industry last gathered for DRUPA in May 1995, no one imagined the coming computer-to-plate (CTP) revolution that would sweep the industry in just five short years.
At the time, projections of CTP adoption were minimal. Barriers ranged from the cost of CTP systems (anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000 in 1995), to printer reluctance to move away from film, to perhaps the biggest challenge—managing the digital workflow. The base of potential CTP users seemed small; estimates put the percentage of printers equipped for digital prepress at only 20 percent.
Despite these hurdles, almost four dozen manufacturers demonstrated some type of CTP solution at DRUPA 1995. Why? It made sense. CTP seemed the obvious extension of the slow, but evolving, digitization of prepress. CTP also held the promise of increased efficiencies and productivity.
Among the CTP solutions presented at DRUPA '95, including some 14 "digital metal plates," only one was based on thermal technology: the Kodak Direct Image Thermal Plate (now the Kodak Polychrome Graphics Thermal Printing Plate/830). The introduction of this plate, in conjunction with the Creo Thermal 3244 Platesetter, changed the face of the CTP market.