PRINTING PLATE UPDATE -- New Precious Metal
In terms of its Fujifilm plate offerings, Enovation Graphic Systems kicked off the year by introducing the Brillia LH-PJ thermal plate into the U.S. market, Crawford says. The thermal plate requires no pre-bake step and is processed by a developer station with low replenishment rates.
Plate News Upcoming
As for the no-process Fujifilm plate announced at Drupa 2004, Crawford says the company is "serious about pursuing this application, so commercialization announcements are pending. This product will be aluminum-based and have many operating features of existing Fujifilm thermal plates."
Responding to changes in the marketplace, including the trend toward shorter runs, Heidelberg is now looking to add a processless plate offering to its portfolio, Boggess says. "Two years ago, that wasn't in our plans, but now we are seeing a lot of low- to mid-range sheetfed customers wanting to move into processless technology."
The company also reportedly plans to introduce a traditional thermal product and will continue to offer its silver-halide Saphira violet plate. According to Mark Tonkovich, product manager for CTP, the advantages in staying with silver-halide technology include an extended lifespan for violet lasers (due to the lower energy requirements for imaging) and fast roll up on-press.
MPM's Molkenbur sees long-term economic and environmental trends pushing plate manufacturers toward processless, or at least reduced chemistry, technologies. But, she says vendors still need to overcome concerns about stability and limited platesetter options.
For now, Mitsubishi Imaging is focusing on its Silver DigiPlate polyester plate, Molkenbur reports. "With trends in the market pointing to shorter run lengths, we see SDP polyester plates as the ideal fit for many printers," she explains.
Konica Minolta introduced a processless system with a flexible, thermal plate material (TF-200) that is suitable for on- and off-line imaging systems. However, the initial roll out has been limited to an on-press application.