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More than 100 Printers Worldwide Using Agfa's Chemistry-free Plate System

Press release from the issuing company

Ridgefield Park, NJ – March 14, 2005 – Agfa announced today that its :Azura chemistry-free plate system is now in operation at more than 100 printing sites around the world. Less than six months after it was made commercially available in November 2004, printers who want to reduce processing steps, improve workflow efficiencies, and eliminate chemical contaminants from the work environment are switching to :Azura. While in conventional thermal plate processing, a latent image is formed during plate imaging, which then needs to be processed chemically to produce a lithographic image, the :Azura plate requires only a clean-out or gumming step of non-image areas. This contributes to a more efficient workflow. Spotlight Graphics, a sheetfed commercial printer with 35 employees based in Sarasota, Florida, started using :Azura in October 2004. Prepress manager Chad Lynn wanted a thermal, no-bake plate system to reduce workflow steps. The combination of Agfa's :Xcalibur 45 platesetter with the :Azura plates was a perfect fit. "Technology in the graphic arts industry is advancing so rapidly that when we made the switch to CtP, I wanted to eliminate chemicals from the workflow too. I didn't want the hassle and cost of disposing waste chemicals. With :Azura, platemaking is simple, clean and completed in less steps," said Lynn. Lynn also noted that :Azura has excellent lithographic performance on press, holding up to Spotlight Graphics' longest press runs well over 100,000 impressions, without wavering in quality. It also produces an extremely high-quality image, holding 2-98% dots on plate. LGL, a commercial printer based in Anger, France, saw a significant decrease in the supplies and costs associated with plate processing since its switch from conventional film processing to :Azura. Now, instead of having to store and recycle an entire pallet-load of chemicals each month (mainly developer and fixer), the company uses a 20-liter container of water-based gum, WG 100, enough for over 3000 square feet of plates. "We now consume less energy for transport and less packaging, because we order fewer products. Maintenance of the machine is also very simple. When I think of cleaning the developer before! And there are no more films to recycle," said Daniel Leroux, CtP manager at LGL. For its dedication to ecological excellence, LGL became the first printer in its region to receive the "Imprim'Vert" (green printing) label from the local Chamber of Industry Associations, following an in-depth audit. "Agfa is constantly researching the most productive and cost-effective plate systems for our customers. With :Azura, printers no longer have to monitor strict processing parameters such as developer temperature, processing speed and conductivity. This leads to fewer remakes, better consistency and reduced maintenance," said David Furman, Agfa's senior marketing manager, CtP Systems, North America.