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Graph Expo: Front-end Ingenuity

Prepress and workflow innovations were everywhere at Graph Expo.

October 2007 By Bob Neubauer
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FROM WORKFLOW tools and variable data software to CTP and proofing technologies, Graph Expo had enough technology to make any in-plant manager’s head spin. Here are some of the latest products we saw at the show.

Computer-to-plate Systems

Agfa demonstrated its :ThermoFuse plate technology, including the chemistry-free
:Azura plate, which eliminates chemical processing. By significantly reducing liquid waste in the plate creating process, it supports a more environmentally friendly solution. Also shown was Agfa’s :Energy Elite, winner of a 2007
InterTech technology award. The newest addition to the Agfa range of thermal plates, :Energy Elite is a true no-bake plate offering run lengths of up to 500,000 impressions.

Agfa introduced the :Avalon LF XT+ violet CTP system, which uses Agfa’s Lithostar digital printing plates to deliver 40 B1-size plates per hour. It is available in both manual and fully automatic loading versions. The :Avalon :LF Violet family is compatible with Agfa’s violet chemistry-free plate, to be released in 2008. :Avalon LF platesetters’ imaging heads can easily be switched between thermal and violet with a simple field retrofit.

Heidelberg showed several of its platesetters, including the Prosetter P 74, Suprasetter S 105 SCL and the entry-level Suprasetter A 52 ATL, introduced at Graph Expo 2006. In all Prosetter models, the printing plate is precisely aligned in a half shell and held in place by a vacuum during imaging. The laser is moved along this half shell and images the plate one dot at a time. The laser spot is guided via a rotating prism, delivering precision down to thousandths of a millimeter. This is made possible by the air bearing, which is frictionless. The
Suprasetter features an internal punching system, which ensures maximum register accuracy, plus a new laser developed by Heidelberg.

Mitsubishi Imaging showed its first chemistry-free, processless flexible CTP plate, Thermal DigiPlate. Geared toward small printers that want an eco-friendly upgrade from laser and electrostatic plates, Thermal DigiPlate uses a patented thermal fusing technology to create a high-contrast image on a plate without chemical development or wash-off. The plates are exposed in a low-cost platemaker that uses a thermal head system. Ideal in high-volume environments, the platemaker can produce up to 60 plates per hour and output plates with a resolution of 1,200 dpi and up to 133 lpi. 

Presstek demonstrated two of its chemistry-free, CTP solutions: the Dimension Excel CTP System and the Vector TX52. Both are easy-to-use, versatile, high-performance systems that streamline workflow. New at the show was the Dimension450 Excel-Autoloader for the four-page thermal CTP system. It mounts up to 20 pre-punched plates so users can move on to other tasks while the platesetter goes to work.
 

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