The Great (Digital) Plate Debate
In still other visible light developments, Butera says some existing plate technologies—Fuji's LH-NI—are being improved for much longer processing chemistry life and a much wider preheat latitude.
As a manufacturer of both CTP platesetting systems and the digital plates that run on them, Butera says Fuji is in the unique position of offering printers both products. And the key is that Fuji understands how the platesetter and plate work together.
"A lot of times people forget to look at how a platesetter and a specific plate work together. They might buy a platesetter and think all plates will work well with that system; but that's not true," he cautions. "How do the platesetter and plates work together? Are there any references of other printers using that combination? Also, it's important to understand things like runlengths and resolutions, and how these things might effect the type of plates they are looking to buy."
Polyester Sheds Its Taboo
That darned taboo about polyester plates! It began around 1975, when the analog version was introduced and was used to print only "simple stuff." Unfortunately, the reputation stuck, claims Jeff Troll, director of marketing at Mitsubishi Imaging.
But future generations of analog offered much higher quality than people realized, he notes. The assumptions that polyester handled poorly, that it stretches, etc., were inaccurate and made the product "very hard to sell."
Mitsubishi began promoting polyester-based material in 1985, when it was first introduced in the U.S.; but, because of the myths, the company had a tough time getting printers to try it. "Once we had the opportunity to demo it [Silver DigiPlate], we changed their minds," Troll says. "Look at all the steps we're saving; look at all the money we're saving."
Using the polyester material essentially turns an imagesetter into a CTP platesetter. If a printer can't afford to buy an expensive platesetter, there is the option for him to go to CTP right now, by utilizing the Silver DigiPlate materials through his existing imagesetter.