CAMBRIDGE, UNITED KINGDOM -- Hamillroad Software, a leading RIP and screening innovator, today announced a major breakthrough in screening technology that will greatly enhance the output quality of todays computer-to-plate platesetters. The new Digitally Modulated or DM screening technology, being called Auraia (after the Greek word for beautiful), is a revolutionary new type of screening that enables the current imaging optics (of both thermal and violet platesetters) to produce images that emulate the quality of a traditional 350 lpi screen (using a 420 lpi equivalent dot). The patent-pending software upgrade is now available for CtP manufacturers to evaluate.
Digitally Modulated Screening
Utilising the immense compute power available with modern computers, DM screening is so named because it digitally modulates each and every pixel it produces, rather than repeating a fixed pattern of dots (as in AM screening) or randomly marking pixels (as in FM screening). The screening analyses each pixel it produces to ensure that no dot is too small to plate or print, no non-dot is too small to fill-in and no dot or non-dot is too large so as to be visible.
Dots are created in a carefully controlled manner, to ensure detail is placed exactly where it is needed, vignettes are smooth and flat tints are, well flat. It cleverly modulates each pixel based on a deep understanding of laser optics, plate technology, printing press behaviour and ink flow to ensure that dot gain is eliminated, resulting in the complete removal of patterning artifacts and graininess.
Andy Cave Quote
Were really excited about the release of our new Auraia screening, comments Andy Cave, Hamillroad Softwares CEO. It fundamentally changes the rules as to what print providers can now produce and we believe it will introduce a new era and standard in print quality to our industry. No longer will printers be restricted by issues of moir, mis-registration, rosette drift, colour shifts, banding, dot gain, dot loss, highlight loss, or shadow loss. They will be free to do what they do best -- print beautiful pages. Based on years of research and experience, the patent pending DM screening represents a fundamental change in the expectation a printer should have on the quality of print that is achievable.
Successful Press Testing
In beta testing over the last six months, Hamillroad has successfully tested the Auraia screening using the Harlequin RIP on a number of CtP devices, plates and presses. On ECRM MAKO devices (including 2, 4, and 8-up systems, as well as the newer MAKO 800) using both Fuji NV and NV2 metal violet plates, the Auraia screening has consistently produced outstanding prints equivalent to 350 lpi, whilst using a 420 lpi equivalent dot. On ECRM DPX devices using lower quality polyester plates, the Auraia screening has been able to produce high quality prints equivalent to 250 lpi, whilst using a 310 lpi equivalent dot. This marks a substantial improvement to the currently recommended maximum 175 lpi screen. In all cases, highlights down to 0.5% and shadows up to 99.5% were obtained, with smooth vignettes, flat tints and exceptional image detail.
Testing of other CtP devices is currently in progress, with the expectation that any device (violet or thermal) that can currently achieve a 175 lpi screen will be capable of producing at least a 250 lpi (or even 350 lpi) equivalent Auraia screen and any device that can currently achieve a 200 lpi screen will be capable of producing a 350 lpi equivalent Auraia screen.
We have seen a significant improvement in quality after we started using Auraia screening, comments Mr. Hkon Amundsen, Eiker Trykkeri AS/ CEO. Hilite and shadow detail has improved significantly, vignettes and flat tints are incredibly smooth. Its also nice to see that moir is a problem that doesnt exist anymore. This will be a great advantage with the tough competition we face these days.
Patent Pending Technology
Following a substantial amount of research and development, including a significant amount of plate and press testing, Hamillroad Software has filed a number of patents on the core technology. As well as filing these patents worldwide, Hamillroad is also filing a number of additional patents in the US to cover the many breakthroughs in Digitally Modulated screening that the Auraia screening contains. Although the screening has been developed and designed with CtP devices in mind, initial testing on a number of laser and ink jet printers indicates that there should be significant benefits there too, with enhanced quality over existing methods of screening.