DIGITAL PLATE TECHNOLOGY -- Platemaking Loses a Step
According to the manufacturer, benefits of iCTP technology include a lower capital investment and cost per plate compared to conventional platemaking. Its system operates in normal daylight conditions, supports FM screening (emulating a conventional 175 lpi screen) and is capable of imaging plates in two- and four-up formats (28x35.8˝ maximum plate size).
The range of technologies and capabilities represented in the current crop of products works against making any general statements about the plate category as a whole. Nonetheless, issues such as run length limitations, premium pricing, slower imaging speeds and need for post-imaging cleaning (in a few cases) have caused some to continue asking whether processless—or at least chemistry-free—plate technology is ready to go mainstream.
Individual printers will have to answer that question for themselves based on the particulars of their organizations and needs. Some industry pundits clearly got ahead of the curve, though, when they speculated about violet processless plate technology in post-Drupa 2004 discussions. That development is more likely to end up being part of a Drupa 2008 story.