PRINT 05 PREPRESS WORKFLOW & CTP -- Streamlining the Prepress Process
Enovation Graphic Systems has teamed up with Screen (USA), in this case to add Fujifilm technology to a version of the Trueflow3 PDF-based workflow system that the distributor will sell. It also will continue to offer the Rampage workflow system, which can now incorporate the Xerox FreeFlow Print Manager system component for connectivity to the full range of DocuColor digital production presses.
On the hardware side, Presstek Inc. and Screen (USA) announced a strategic alliance under which the companies "will cooperate in the placement of Screen PlateRite CTP systems with Presstek's new chemistry-free Aurora thermal plates." Presstek reportedly will now be a reseller of PlateRite platesetters, primarily the eight-up models, but will remain the sole source for the plates.
Aurora is described as a non-proprietary, next generation of the manufacturer's chemistry-free thermal plate technology. The plate was designed for use in Creo Trendsetter CTP systems, as well as PlateRite platesetters. Presstek announced "controlled availability" of the plates at the show and said it initially will market the product directly to larger shops in the United States.
All of the leading plates suppliers displayed chemistry-free or processless/non-process products in their booths, but versions also turned up in a few unexpected places. Each is touted as reducing the variability, costs and equipment footprint associated with CTP systems by eliminating the need for a processor. Exhibitors made a point to be specific about the type of technology they're offering, but less was made of any post-exposure treatments required with chemistry-free variations.
Instead, the key points of differentiation have become whether there is any throughput penalty associated with using a plate and is it a drop-in product in prepress and on-press. Depending on plate sensitivity and the level of energy delivered by the platesetter, there is at least the potential for chemistry-free or processless plates to have a negative impact on throughput. It's worth it for shops considering switching to any of these products to ask the question, even though the answer may well be no impact at all.