GLOBALWARE SOLUTIONS - Shining Light on CTP
GlobalWare uses a combination of digital printing and optimized traditional offset production to provide on-demand services. Therefore, the promise of short makereadies and quick turnaround figured into the decision to move aggressively in adopting computer-to-plate production, reports Jack Cote, media services manager. The company first went CTP with its black-and-white work in 1996, and color capability soon followed. Enhanced image quality, improved registration and reduced costs (film and labor) are other benefits the company has reaped, Cote points out.
Staying With What Works
When it was ready to step up to color CTP capabilities, management opted not to just jump on the digital plate bandwagon, Cote says. Instead, GlobalWare has implemented computer-to-conventional plate (CTcP) technology from basysPrint Corp. Rather than using lasers and special plates, this system exposes conventional plates using UV light from a digitally driven imaging mechanism.
GlobalWare's Jack Cote checks the operation of the UV Setter 1116, one of three basysPrint computer-to-conventional-plate systems used by the company. The platesetters have a flatbed design and expose conventional plates using UV light.
The platesetters use an imaging technology the manufacturer calls Digital Screen Imaging (DSI). The heart of the system is a micro-mirror chip developed by Texas Instruments. The surface of this 2x2cm chip is covered with nearly 800,000 individually controllable mirrors that are about one-fifth the thickness of a human hair.
During imaging, UV light that hits each mirror is either projected onto the printing plate through an optical lens system or reflected away from it, thereby creating a screen image on the plate. Due to the limited size of the imaging system, individual pages/sections of the plate must be exposed in a series of steps. The manufacturer claims that this stepping is done with a maximum tolerance of +/-2µm.
In researching the devices, Cote says imaging quality was one of the biggest questions he had because of this stepping processes and the 1,500 dpi (175 lpi) resolution. However, GlobalWare hasn't had any dot alignment problems, he notes, and the overall image quality of its plates has been excellent. Cote has been particularly impressed by the smooth edges of the text.