By Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor October 14, 2004 -- Kodak Polychrome Graphics unveiled its first violet CTP plate offering this week at IfraExpo, a European newspaper exhibition being held in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The VioletNews plate is a violet photopolymer plate for newspapers. Currently in beta-testing at newspapers in Europe and North America, the VioletNews plate is manufactured at KPG's plant in Osterode, Germany. The plate will be commercially released in the first quarter of next year, initially in Europe but closely followed by North America, Latin America and Asia. The move to violet is a bit of a departure for KPG, who has historically focused on thermal imaging. According to Jeff Jacobson, KPG’s CEO, “We have chosen to focus on thermal CTP up to this point for our commercial business due to its superior run length resolution and quality. But we recognize that newspapers and smaller customers might make other choices. Since we want to offer our customers a full solution, we determined it is appropriate that we begin to offer violet in addition to thermal. Sometime in 2005, we will come out with a commercial violet plate as well. We believe that holding on to our thermal strategy was—and continues to be—the right thing for our business. Had we added violet to the portfolio a few years earlier, I believe it would have diluted the message.” Jacobson added, “It was quite a coup getting the VioletNews name. We were actually surprised it was available.” Since IfraExpo coincides timewise with Graph Expo, this announcement is sure to create a stir at both venues. In other KPG news from Graph Expo, KPG’s booth showcased its cross-platform color management solutions and broad range of proofing, CTP and digital printing solutions. KPG had a professional photo studio set up in the booth, where photos were being taken using professional models. The booth network featured Artwork Systems Nexus workflow with KPG color management tools and ExaNet mass storage devices. The captured images were then manipulated and placed into the Nexus workflow, with the same image being printed in various devices around the booth. According to KPG’s Beth Hogan-Scott, “We are using a different image every two hours. This is a live demo, with no smoke and mirrors. Visitors can see the effectiveness of KPG color management tools when they compare the same image output by a number of different print devices.” KPG was also featuring Matchprint ProofPro RIP and Matchprint ProofPro Media for users of the latest inkjet printers from HP, Epson and Canon worldwide. Matchprint ProofPro RIP and Matchprint ProofPro Media provide an easy-to-use source of accurate and consistent proofs from a variety of inkjet printers, for multiple applications throughout the workflow. The company was also offering the KPG Matchprint ProofPro 2610 inkjet printer, which is bundled as a complete inkjet proofing system consisting of the wide format printing device, the RIP, the inks and the media offered as a total solution. Another exciting technology demonstration at the KPG booth was Matchprint Virtual Press Side. KPG was showing it attached to a KPG DirectPres 5634DI in a convenient configuration that brings monitor proofing to the press room. First demonstrated at drupa, KPG brought Matchprint Virtual Proofing System – LCD to Graph Expo as a released product. This second generation, SWOP (Specifications for Web Offset Publications) certified monitor proofing solution combines the convenience of proofing from a desktop computer with the color and accuracy of the Matchprint Virtual Proofing System and the productivity and collaboration tools of the www.matchprintvirtual.com gateway. The software based, color critical, Matchprint Virtual Proofing System - LCD uses off the shelf approved LCD monitors integrated into a RealTimeProof workflow to deliver contract color monitor proofing. Utilizing high-end flat panel displays, the Matchprint Virtual Proofing System - LCD simplifies installation requirements and enables personal proofing. According to Hogan-Scott, “We are especially excited because this solution was just SWOP certified at the beginning of October. With our Matchprint Virtual LCD monitor proofing solutions, the customer purchases software and a color monitor calibrator. They can choose from four different industry-standard LCD monitors, which they can purchase from us or any other source. This strategy makes it easy for users to implement monitor proofing solutions. And we are also offering a bundled solution with the Matchprint ProofPro RIP so that a calibrated remote proofing solution can be placed in the shop or at remote sites for a complete color calibrated monitor and hardcopy proofing solution that can cover a wide range of needs.” KPG also featured the NexPress 2100 in its booth. According to Hogan-Scott, there was significant interest in the product even the first day of the show. She said, “We have a relationship of trust with our broad customer base. We believe we will be very successful with this product as our customers continue to look to us for the widest range of solutions in the graphic arts industry.” And finally, as part of its ongoing effort to support higher education, Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG) donated the Kodak Approval NX Digital Color Imaging System that it had on display at Graph Expo to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) School of Imaging Arts and Science. This is a busy show for KPG, who continues to execute against its integrated strategy unveiled at drupa. The activity level in the booth indicates good receptivity to this message by the North American market.