Why Buy an Imagesetter?
Key features of the StingRay include ECRM's patented lazy loop entry system, which assures precise imaging, a built-in buffer, and optional head and tail punches. Capable of achieving speeds of up to 32˝ per minute and line screens of 200 lpi, the imagesetter offers 12 resolutions ranging from 1,000 dpi to 3,556 dpi.
"The StingRay competes directly in a market previously served only by drum-based imagesetters," reveals Ken Hurtubise, ECRM's vice president of marketing. "For years, drums were thought to be the winners in the race to deliver high quality. However, of the devices introduced most recently, there have been more capstans than drum machines—and there have been significant breakthroughs with those capstan devices in quality and speed."
Hurtubise may have a point. At IPEX in September and GRAPH EXPO in Chicago last month, the industry noticed a trend toward more cost-effective capstan devices, with many of the significant new wide-format imagesetter launches being capstan machines, not drums.
"We see the wide-format area as a growing market, if the results of IPEX are any indication," Hurtubise contends. "And, while CTP is no doubt an emerging market that has made significant progress over the last couple of years, there are still more applications going direct-to-film than plate. Most customers want to get it right on film first."
Good news for the imagesetter!
"These days, most printers receive jobs in a variety of formats, from full digital files to camera-ready copy. Using film from imagesetters is a tried and trusted production technique, with a low capital investment," agrees Nick Haddon, director of marketing for printing products at Cymbolic Sciences. "It's still difficult for the average printer to completely eliminate film from its prepress department, so that's why we're providing for large-format film output on all of our CTP units. This enables a printer to have the flexibility of film for conventional production and CTP for those fully digital jobs."