Digital Patesetters--Shopping the Output Odyssey
The Heidelberg executive notes how RIPs are handling data at speeds that were not even considered five years ago. In addition, the combination of hardware and software platforms available today is reducing the need for proprietary systems, which were designed a decade ago to cope with limited computer power and storage.
Now, the other alternatives...
ECRM's Advance Image Recorder, the AIR75, has a multi-beam, internal-drum design that optimizes imaging and overall plate handling performance. AIR75's blue argon-ion laser can expose most of the industry's currently available digital metal plates. Also equipped with auto loading, AIR75 exposes photopolymer or silver emulsion plates at a range of resolutions from 1,016 dpi to 2,540 dpi with 0.001˝ repeatability.
The Panther FasTRAK metal platesetting system from PrePRESS Solutions is designed for rigorous production of aluminum printing plates from sizes as small as 12x15˝ up to 24.6x36˝. Currently the unit is registering dozens of installations worldwide, in commercial printing plants and newspapers.
At Optronics, platesetting attention remains focused on Aurora technology and the ALS external-drum digital platesetter, which features argon ion or optical YAG laser. They are capable of imaging plates as large as 35.4x44.5˝ at resolutions from 1,000 dpi to 4,000 dpi. ALS provides automatic loading and unloading. All feature Optronics' Color Production System (CPS), an integrated set of software and hardware to maximize plate output.
Turning to Krause America, marketing attention is going to the eight-up LaserStar LS110, an internal-drum device that exposes printing plates and film.
Krause's Tim Kohl, technical sales support manager for North America, reports that the makers of the LaserStar LS140 fully automated system are also firmly committed to PDF functionality (hence the firm's linking with Agfa for marketing of Krause's platesetting technologies) and thermal technology. For instance, all LaserStar LS110 units are thermal upgradeable in the field.