"Mid-size print firms that see making the transition to direct-to-plate as a business challenge rose from 12% in Spring 2002 to 20% in Fall 2002. Adoption of direct-to-plate systems has been migrating downstream from large publication printers (who had been the early adopters) to mid-size printers", according to TrendWatch. There is quite a lot of CTP and environmentally friendly thermal imaging solutions in place at GOA.

CTP Watch
Creo Inc. is now imaging chemically-free plates on the Trendsetter 800 Quantum and Lotem 400 Quantum platesetters ($100-125,000 US). Twenty seven plates from twenty plus manufacturers have been qualified, to date. Creo has been doing thermal plates since 1994, and their entire line of Lotem and Trendsetter 4-up, 8-up and VLF platesetters are 100% thermal. The reason for this? "A far greater consistency than using the visible light process. This consistency, coupled with Creo's SQUAREspot and staccato, FM screening technology allow for extremely high quality," according to Ken Hanulec, Creo's director of marketing. Hanulec explains that "Creo systems are open and modular. A Creo platesetter, for instance can be driven by an Agfa system."

This approach benefits printers with small to medium-length print runs, physical space restrictions as well as restricted budgets. They save on the capital cost of a plate processor, and the ongoing costs associated with chemicals, cleaning materials and technical resources essential to maintaining this type of equipment.

- The chemical-free option eliminates the need for a plate processor, pre-bake oven, or storage of toxic processing chemicals and benefits printers with small to medium-length print runs and physical space restrictions;
- The option of imaging chemical-free plates is available on the 4- and 8-page models of the Trendsetter and Trendsetter Quantum thermal platesetters;
- The chemical-free option is also available as an upgrade to existing qualified systems.

Quantum models use Creo's SQUAREspot thermal imaging heads to interchangeably expose film and plates for conventional and waterless printing. The chemical-free imaging feature is added to the base functionality for traditional anodized aluminum printing plates from multiple vendors. This option is also available as an upgrade to existing systems, and Creo has qualified Presstek's Anthem chemistry-free thermal plate for use with the Trendsetter 800 and Trendsetter 400/800 Quantum CTP devices.

A plug-and-play solution from Creo for print shops with Brisque and PS/M workflow is Prinergy. The Prinergy workflow offers efficiencies of scalability as work loads and throughput requirements grow. You will recall that Creo bought ScenicSoft, and is showing that at GOA.

- Preps software, the imposition tool of choice in the commercial printing industry; and - UpFront, the job production planning tool.

For packaging and converting, Creo has two workflows:

- Brisque Pack workflow offers an easy growth path for Brisque users who are expanding into the packaging market, and is an ideal solution for packaging trade shops, printers and converters.
- Prinergy Powerpack workflow is a fully integrated, automated system designed for the unique needs of offset and flexographic converters and trade shops. Creo is also showing Pandora for automating packaging and label layouts.

Over 600 Latin American companies are Creo customers in Brazil, Peru, Chile, Mexico and several other countries. Both Creo and its distributor AlphaPrint have just received the prestigious "Premio Graphprint" award. This award is presented to the most reputable graphic arts supplier of the Brazilian printing industry, based on product quality, reliability, innovation, service quality, response time and customer satisfaction criteria.

Based on this award, they must have a very successful customer support attitude.