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Creo Partners with NEC Engineering on CTP for Japanese Newspapers

Press release from the issuing company

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--Nov. 18, 2002--Creo Inc. and NEC Engineering Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan are jointly developing computer-to-plate (CTP) thermal imaging devices for the Japanese newspaper industry. The companies expect to ship the first machine in January 2003. Creo is building the imaging engine units with its patented SQUAREspot thermal imaging head to enhance imaging quality for Japanese newspapers. NEC Engineering (NECE), which has a major share of the Japanese newspaper prepress market, will provide the printing-plate loading and unloading units. NECE developed the first CTP systems for Japanese newspapers in the 1990's and currently manufactures newspaper printing automation systems. It has sold more than 300 systems based on the use of filmsetters. NECE also develops and designs communication devices, computers, electronic devices, and semiconductor-related manufacturing equipment. Special-sized CTP Imaging Devices The CTP devices are being specially developed for Japanese newspapers, which use a printing plate that is twice as large as used in most newspaper press applications in North America or Europe. Japan's 127 million people are keen newspaper readers with most households subscribing to at least one daily paper. The new CTP device is being developed for the market of more than 100 newspapers in Japan, including five national dailies that boast circulations of 2 to 10 million copies. "Existing imaging technology from Creo can be leveraged to provide this new format," explains Neil McLean, Trendsetter NEWS product manager, Creo. "Creo core technology, coupled with the experience and products of NECE, will create a compelling offering to the Japanese newspaper industry." The new Creo NECE devices will use SQUAREspot thermal imaging, a major advancement for Japanese newspapers, for enhanced image quality, improved consistency from plate to plate, reliability, and a much higher-quality printed product. The new system will also image several vendors' printing plates, providing flexibility and economy for newspaper printers. The CTP devices will image either 90 plates (2L1W-size) per hour or 45 plates (2L2W-size) per hour. "We have partnered with Creo to bring the quality and productivity of the SQUAREspot imaging head to the Japanese newspaper industry," said Keiichiro Kawai, general manager of the Internet Terminals Division, NEC Engineering. "The partnership of NECE and Creo will bring great advances to Japan's newspapers." Increased Demand for Thermal Quality While CTP is in its infancy in the Japanese newspaper market, Creo Trendsetter NEWS platesetters have been adopted in Singapore, China, the Philippines, as well as the United States and Europe. Many Japanese newspapers currently use filmsetters to create an original image to prepare the printing plates. The resulting film is also scanned into 1-bit TIFF format and sent electronically from the editorial office to the remote newspaper printing plants. CTP systems will enable significant savings in time and cost as film preparation is eliminated and plates are imaged directly from the digital page data. There is a growing demand in Japan for more efficient printing processes, including electronic page editing, in order to communicate current news faster. Another driving force for the adoption of CTP and faster printing processes is the increased use of color pages in newspapers, which require multiple plates in a shorter time. Creo introduced its first CTP machine to the commercial printing market in 1994. One year later, Creo announced the world's first CTP device that incorporated thermal imaging technology. Creo has installed more than 4,500 thermal CTP devices around the world in different sized-formats for commercial printing, packaging and the newspaper industry.