DRUPA 2000--Absorbing The Digital Impact
DUSSELDORF, GERMANY —With more than 450,000 visitors and more than 1,900 exhibitors, could any one, single event be more of a global measuring stick for technology trends and new directions for the printing industry than DRUPA 2000—a 14-day mega-event that took over this charming river city?
On the technology for digital printing—the show's highlight—and digital prepress, DRUPA 2000 accomplished the following key objectives:
* The global move toward accepted, viable on-press imaging and true production digital color presses—built for even the most traditional of commercial printing operations.
Signalling a new direction for digital printing at DRUPA 2000, Presstek, supplying on-press imaging to its new allies, Adast, Ryobi, Sakurai and, announced at DRUPA, Didde Web Press, moved digital printing from the on-demand to the in-production status. Didde announced that the objective of its new alliance with Presstek is to create the first UV direct imaging (DI) web press for direct mail.
Launched at DRUPA, with Presstek under the hood, was the Ryobi 3403DI, an A3-size, portrait format, four-color offset press with built-in direct imaging. Sakurai Graphic Systems has incorporated Presstek's newest version of its exclusive DI technologies into the new A2 Sakurai Oliver 474EPII DI press.
Presstek also bolstered the digital capabilities of Czech Republic-based press manufacturer Adast, as seen in the announcement of the PAX DI, a highly automated, two-page direct imaging, waterless printing press using Presstek's internal, automated plate cylinder design.
Also pushing digital printing toward production-class categories were NexPress Solutions, and the next-generation Indigo and Xeikon presses. New digital presses from Komori (Project D) and MAN Roland, DICOweb, are also positioning digital printing toward new levels of mass production, and acceptance.
* On the prepress front, PDF was dominant, and imagesetters and platesetters coexisted. And, with the global debut of CreoScitex, the Creo/Heidelberg joint venture that once was, was—officially—no more.
DRUPA 2000 marked the true validation of the PDF movement—with more PDF workflows coming to market and existing PDF workflows, from Agfa's new Apogee, Apogee Series2 with new Create module, to CreoScitex's Prinergy, also being marketed by Heidelberg Prepress, undergoing next-generation refinements. CreoScitex and Heidelberg Prepress, separately, showed the latest bells and whistles crafted onto the PDF-based Prinergy workflow. Prinergy 2.0, offers the new, modular Prinergy Connect.
New PDF workflows included nAct from IPTech, which is based on Adobe Extreme architecture and accepts composite and preseparated PostScript and PDF jobs. Also new to the PDF workflow circuit are a more definitive Screen TrueFlow and KIM by Krause.
Harlequin unveiled MAXWorkflow, a digital workflow management system integrated with Harlequin RipFlow technology and featured on the ECRM stand. (MAXWorkflow fed a select assembly of ECRM imagesetters: the 25˝ Stingray 63, the Mako imagesetter, which produces polyester plates, and the Marlin imagesetter for film production.) Developed with Harris Publishing Systems, it can handle all industry standard files, including PDF.
As for output, it seems the industry is ready to admit that imagesetters are still critically significant—and will be for some time—and that the tried-and-true film carriers can coexist with the multi-flavored platesetters targeting small, medium and large commercial printers.
Fujifilm announced the internal-drum Luxel F-6000 imagesetter and the Luxel F-9000, a B1 format, internal-drum imagesetter. Heidelberg Prepress launched Primesetter 74 and Primesetter 102 devices. The four-up Primesetter 74 is designed to supply print originals to the Heidelberg Speedmaster 74 and other medium-format presses.
New on the platesetting scene were devices from Agfa, ECRM , Fujifilm, Heidelberg Prepress and Presstek. CreoScitex, too, displayed platesetting technologies—combining the Trendsetter with the Lotem for a more enhanced portfolio.
Agfa expanded its Galileo family of digital platesetters. The Galileo Talant, a streamlined, processor-free, eight-up thermal platesetter that images the new Agfa Mistral thermal plates, was launched. So was the Galileo Thermal S, offering image speeds 50 percent faster than the original Galileo systems; the Galileo VS, an eight-up platesetter; and the Galileo VXT, an eight-up, violet-laser platesetter. Galileo VS is also available in a four-up model.
With its acquisition of Optronics long digested, ECRM came to DRUPA ready to be a platesetting player, launching the eight-page Desertcat 8 thermal platesetter. The Desertcat 8 can image up to 12 plates per hour.
Fujifilm demonstrated the Luxel P-5600CTP photopolymer platesetter, a compact unit that records plates up to B2 formats in size with speeds up to 19 plates per hour at 2,438 dpi. Fujifilm also debuted the Luxel T-6000CTP thermal platesetter, capable of outputting 16 B2 plates per hour at 2,400 dpi, and the Luxel T-9000CTP thermal platesetter, capable of 12 eight-page plates per hour at 2,400 dpi.
Heidelberg Prepress launched Topsetter 74 and Topsetter 102 semi-automatic and fully automatic digital platesetters. Topsetter 74 is designed for 28˝ format work and incorporates an external-drum imaging system, in conjunction with a 32-channel laser diode system to pro- duce 17 plates per hour at 2,400 dpi.
The good news for the industry is that platesetting devices, as a whole, are finally being offered at all price points, sporting an array of technologies and capabilities.