Digital Patesetters--Shopping the Output Odyssey
And what of Creo?
Now strongly teaming with Heidelberg Prepress, Creo offers a field of thermal platesetting models: the Trendsetter 3244, Trendsetter 3230, Platesetter 3244, Trendsetter AL and Trendsetter Spectrum. Also from Creo are the VLF Trendsetter for very large-format applications and the ThermoFlex for the packaging market.
The Heidelberg/Creo platesetter family is based on a common core technology: external-drum architecture with interchangeable imaging heads, and thermal and visible light. Heidelberg/Creo output devices can image plates from 13x15.5˝ to 58x80˝ to accommodate virtually any press size. All Trendsetter products feature fully automated plate loading and automatic compensation, without operator intervention, for a full range of plate sizes. Increased automation is found in the Trendsetter AL, which automatically loads, images and unloads up to 25 plates.
Heidelberg and Creo officials currently see thermal CTP innovations as the most competitive area in the platesetting market. Obviously, this is no great revelation—as Creo aggressively introduced thermal CTP technology at DRUPA 1995.
Still, Creo Vice President Dave Brown emphasizes that there is more to platesetting systems than just their thermal characteristics.
"Every printer is different, so one of the most competitive components of the platesetter marketplace is the ability to create a system to suit almost every workflow process, data volume and automation level," he explains. "Customers want maximum flexibility in configuring their CTP environments."
For the flexibility factor, Creo and Heidelberg Prepress have teamed to make Trendsetters and Platesetters upgradeable, with options such as the Trendsetter AL with auto load. The two technology providers are also friendly about one another's digital workflow solutions: DeltaTechnology from Heidelberg Prepress and iMPAct from Creo. Both solutions are being used in PDF workflows.
Creo and Heidelberg are also working together on the next generation of digital workflow tools to hit the platesetter market. "With the continually increasing performance of computers and servers, fully digital workflows are now a reality," states Axel Zoeller, marketing director for Heidelberg Prepress.