BY MOLLY W. JOSS Here's a riddle for you: It's not cake batter, it's not cookie dough, but you still have to bake it to get the most enjoyment out of it. What is it? To some the answer will be obvious: it's a printing plate. Even if you didn't guess the answer to the riddle, you may still find yourself deriving enjoyment—or at least increased print runs and other benefits—from baking digital plates. Depending upon the plate and the print job it's intended for, you stand to gain significant production advantages by using a plate that requires baking either before or after

BY MOLLY W. JOSS When computer-to-plate (CTP) technology expanded from the single choice of conventional platesetters to the dual choice of conventional or thermal, commercial printers were faced with twice the choices. If you wanted CTP, you bought conventional or thermal and you bought plates that the system vendor said matched the platesetter. Things got more complicated earlier this year as plate manufacturers started their pre-DRUPA announcements and as DRUPA unwound in May. Many of the major plate vendors announced new plates; some introduced three, four or more new offerings. Some announced thermal plates that reduce, or remove, the processing steps. What's more,

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