DIGITAL digest 4-01
Since CTP is the newest technology, everybody is talking about it. We are perhaps guilty of talking too much about CTP, because when we talk to certain customers they say, "You guys aren't so interested in computer-to-film anymore." We are, though.
Our position is that we have computer-to-plate and computer-to-film solutions, and which technology you should go with depends on your company's size, your market, where you want your company to go and what capabilities you already have in your plant. We are not trying to back any one technology.
Wittner: We've promoted the concept of "freedom of choice." If you look at consumables, we have film, polyester and metal plate materials. We are the only manufacturer that has chosen to offer every type of CTP plate, whether that be violet or thermal, internal or external drum, polyester or metal. We cover the spectrum.
We don't want to shove a technology down customers' throats. Digital printing taught a lot of people what happens when you do that.
Stabler: It is dangerous to back a technology. If you are going to take a position in the market that you are there to serve your customers and offer solutions, you must have a balanced product portfolio. That is very much our approach.
PI: The Printing Industries of America's Vision 21 study talked about the high CTP adoption rate among large publication printers, but reported a relatively low rate among smaller sheetfed printers—the four-up market. How important is that market going to be for Agfa?
Wittner: Very critical. For example, take our new Phoenix imagesetter product family. We didn't invest in an eight-up imagesetter; we invested in a four-up model.
We believe this is a part of the market where shops are going to need productivity enhancements. When they are ready to go CTP, a lot of these printers are choosing polyester plates as an option. Should they choose metal instead, they may opt to invest in a four-up platesetter. But if they have growth plans, they may decide to go with an eight-up device at that point.