The Great (Digital) Plate Debate
The trend is for suppliers to provide total solutions, not just consumables, Ashton says. And Agfa, as a leading producer of plate materials, as well as platemaking systems, is in a "key position" to offer a wide range of integrated platemaking possibilities.
Leading the Thermal Revolution
If Drupa 95 was the beginning of the CTP revolution, Drupa 2000 proved that the revolution is alive and well. "In '95, CTP was looked at with a wary eye, cost barriers and dependence on film reinforcing the bias. Today, however, it's a different story," says Bruce Davidson, Kodak Polychrome Graphics' worldwide marketing manager for plates. "Computer-to-plate is fast becoming the norm in litho platemaking, a trend driven by the need to produce quality printing, faster," he says.
A vital factor in this development is the widespread availability of high-quality CTP litho plates, which Davidson notes give results as good as, or better than, the conventionally imaged plates they replace. "Kodak Polychrome Graphics strongly believes in the future of thermal technology," he states. "We feel that the full potential of thermal technology is not yet explored and offers many interesting possibilities for the future."
Thermal plate technology revolutionized plate production in commercial printing when it was introduced in 1995. It has excellent performance on-press: the halftone dot is as durable as the best conventionally imaged plate dot, he asserts. "New thermal laser diodes introduced in 1995 enabled our scientists to develop plates using polymers similar to those used in conventionally imaged plates; polymers optimized for litho printing," Davidson says.
The combination of these plates with the new, very sharp exposure profile of thermal imaging, he notes, brought new benefits in accuracy and precision, delivering higher resolution, as well as increased predictability.
"Our commitment to thermal imaging began when we introduced the Approval, a fully digital, halftone proofing system," Davidson notes. The Kodak Approval was launched in 1990 as the best way to get halftone dots digitally onto a proof. This was followed in 1995 by the Intertech Award-winning Thermal Printing Plate/830 and the Electra 830 Printing Plate.