Graph Expo: Front-end Ingenuity

Prepress and workflow innovations were everywhere at Graph Expo.

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.

Bob has served as editor of In-plant Graphics since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 130 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Graphics.
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