Drupa Preview, Buren, The Netherlands (February 20, 2004) – Creo Inc. has partnered with Milan, Italy-based Acigraf to introduce the new Exactus thermal gravure system. This revolutionary gravure cylinder preparation system combines two mature technologies to provide cost savings, superior imaging quality, improved process control, and enhanced throughput to packaging, large commercial, and publication printers. Creo is the first prepress company to offer technologies for the three printing processes that dominate the market today—offset, flexographic and gravure printing.
“We are very excited to introduce the Exactus to our customers in these markets,” stated Judi Hess, Creo president. “Creo is committed to developing solutions that meet the ever-increasing demand for higher quality and color consistency in a tighter time frame and at reduced cost.”
The Exactus gravure thermal system combines Creo SQUAREspot thermal laser imaging heads and the electrolytic copper removal process developed by Acigraf to create this unique gravure prepress system. Gravure printing is renowned for its ability to produce high-quality presswork with broad tonal range and color stability on a wide variety of substrates for extremely long run lengths. The Exactus gravure thermal system is designed to achieve these benefits and to bring efficiency and cost effectiveness to the gravure process.
While the Exactus thermal gravure system uses the same copper cylinders that gravure printers have used for decades, the key difference in the Creo-Acigraf process is that the cylinders are imaged by Creo’s industry-leading thermal laser imaging technology. The Exactus thermal gravure system is expected to significantly reduce the cost of the gravure cylinder process, compared to the much slower, traditional diamond engraving process that has been the industry standard for more than 20 years.
The Exactus thermal gravure process consists of five steps: applying the thermal resist layer on the copper cylinder; imaging by direct exposure; developing the resist layer; removing the copper substrate by electrolytic process; and stripping of the remaining resist material. Creo has developed an infra red thermal resist called Graviti which is non-ablative, white-light tolerant, positive exposed, and processed in water-based solutions.
Moshik Ben-Shlomo, Exactus product manager, Creo, explained. “We have combined two proven technologies to create a new process that provides four key benefits: superior quality, better turnaround time, excellent process control and short term payback. These advantages make the Exactus the most cost-effective gravure cylinder preparation system in the marketplace today.”
Superior Image Quality
Creo’s core technology is the patented SQUAREspot thermal laser direct imaging head, which is used to image plates for printing presses and for on-press imaging by three of the largest press manufacturers in the world. This unique imaging technology has been adapted to improve the quality, speed, and cost-effectiveness of the gravure printing process. The Exactus uses a 3200 dpi SQUAREspot laser head with 208 beam single-head design to ensure superior image quality and improved process control, allowing printers to achieve reliable and consistent presswork.
Reduced Imaging Time
The thermal gravure technology images precisely and predictably, eliminating presswork troubles caused by the variable dot gain characteristics of different halftone line rulings and dot shapes. With the Exactus, SQUAREspot technology significantly reduces the time it takes to image each cylinder. With a run-rate of four pre-coated cylinders per hour, the Exactus leads the industry in productivity. The Creo thermal gravure process is non-ablative and thus does not require a complex debris removal system. There is no redeposit of coating particles.
Creo provides connectivity for the Exactus thermal gravure system to both the Creo Brisque and Prinergy workflow systems, as well as third-party workflow connectivity using the industry standard 1-bit TIFF.
The Exactus thermal gravure system will undergo field testing with customers in March 2004. Video demonstrations will be shown at Drupa on the Creo stand in Hall 4, Stand B10. Acigraf will exhibit the Exactus thermal gravure system in Hall 9, Stand A55.
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