McCormick Place, Chicago – VIM Technologies, a leading innovator in digital plate technology, successfully launched a new CTP system at Print 09 that images VIM polyester and aluminum plates on a standard Epson inkjet printer.
Called VIM-JT Direct Plate, the breakthrough technology provides small- and medium-sized printers with an affordable Computer to Plate (CTP) solution that streamlines their offset printing workflows to make printing more profitable.
The advancement means for the first time printers can cash in on all the cost- and time-saving advantages of CTP technology, without having to invest in an expensive dedicated platesetter and without employing any chemical processing or special solvent based inks or liquids.
The VIM-JT Direct Plate System allows printers to significantly reduce their production costs without compromising quality at a time when they are increasingly under extreme pricing pressures. "Printers who visited our exhibit were very impressed with our live demonstrations," says Avigdor Bieber, founder and CEO of VIM and a successful innovator in the digital imaging and printing industry. "But they were even more enthusiastic about the cost savings VIM-JT plates deliver. The smaller shops know they have to move up to a computer to plate workflow in order to compete, but they don't want to waste money on an expensive platesetter and the toxic processing that goes with it. They came to Print09 looking for streamlined solution, and they found it at the VIM Technologies booth."
The JT Direct Plate system is composed of the customer's choice of an Epson Stylus Pro printer, a VIM RIP, a curing unit and a starting kit of JT Direct Plates.
The Epson Stylus Pro printers supported include the popular 3800, 4880, 7880 and 7900 models. No modifications to the inkjet systems are required. The plates are imaged using Epson's Ultrachrome K3 or HDR aqueous pigmented ink and then heated in a simple curing unit before going to press.
The JT Direct Plate VIM RIP software provides all the controls needed for an efficient and flexible workflow system. It supports multiple printers, printer and press calibration, integrated soft and hard copy proofing, a range of high quality screening options, digital archiving, and networked production. The VIM RIP is a customized version of Wasatch's SoftRIP SP, and is a comprehensive package, including VIM Documentation, Utilities and Imaging configurations.
Available in a wide range of two-up and four-up sizes, the VIM-JT polyester and aluminum plates can be used on virtually any small- to medium-size offset press with conventional dampening. The polyester plates are available in 40-meter rolls now and the aluminum VIM-JT Direct plates will ship in Q4 2009. Both plates use the VIM proprietary coating technology to provide high quality, process-free printing results.
Ken Bauman, Print Shop Production Supervisor for Boise State University, one of the first users in North America, commented:
"We installed the JT Plate system in April and it has met all of our expectations. It was easy to install and use, required no changes on our presses, and meets all of our printing needs at a fraction of the cost of the other systems we looked at. It also eliminated chemistry, and the plates are recyclable, assisting us reaching our environmental goals of a zero waste stream. Overall, it has reduced our printing costs significantly.
"The JT Plate system is innovative, flexible, uses off the shelf equipment, and gives us the capability of proofing and poster work as well as creating our offset plates. It has performed reliably and consistently and the VIM support has been excellent. A great system."
"This is a technical breakthrough! Other supplier's inkjet-imaged plates require that a special imaging ink and modified inkjet printer are used," says Bieber. "Imaging the VIM-JT Direct Inkjet Plates is both easy and completely free of hazardous chemicals and solvent based inks. Because we use Epson inks and don't make any changes to the printer, the inkjet unit's warranty is preserved. It also means that the same inkjet printer can still be used for conventional full-color proofing, so it can provide proofs for the plates, saving time, space and money."
Since the same VIM RIP and inkjet printer that create the plates also produce the proof, the accuracy and efficiency of every job is enhanced.
The VIM-JT plates are engineered for durability. Both the polyester and aluminum products can produce up to 20,000 impressions per plate, fully covering the production volume needs of small- and medium-sized printers.
The print quality produced by VIM-JT plates is equally impressive. They can produce great 150 lines per inch results with halftone screening and apparent 175 lines per inch quality using stochastic or frequency modulated screening techniques.
The JT Direct Plate System was designed for ease of use. If an operator knows how to run an Epson inkjet printer, he or she can quickly be trained to image VIM-JT plates. The VIM RIP is easy to install and integrate and has a simple, intuitive user interface that is designed to be an integral part of the printer's existing workflow.
VIM-JT Direct Plate conserves space by eliminating the need for bulky platesetters, darkrooms, stripping tables and other devices associated with plate making. The same device that makes the proof also creates the plate, conserving floor space.
VIM-JT plates are environmentally sound and easily recyclable, delivering a long list of eco-friendly benefits. They are not light sensitive and are imaged like any other inkjet media. They are waste free; no circulators are required and there is no disposal of anything. They are solvent free and process free, negating the need for cleaners, washes and other potentially harmful chemicals.
In production, VIM-JT plates are compatible with alcohol-free dampening solutions, further strengthening their environmentally friendly nature.
"Printers who were waiting for Computer To Plate to become affordable can now join the CTP revolution and take advantage of all the benefits that go with it,"
Bieber says. "VIM-JT plates make printing more cost competitive and that will make printers more successful."
The VIM-JT Direct Plate system, with polyester and aluminum options, is being distributed through VIM Technologies' network of North American dealers.