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Agfa Launches Polaris X, New Generation Platesetters for Newspaper Production

Press release from the issuing company

350 Plates/hr, Innovative Registration System and Violet-Laser Option Delivers New Level Of Productivity, Reliability and Economy Mortsel, Belgium – 28 August 2002 – Agfa announced Polaris X, its new generation of Polaris platesetters for newspapers. To the leading Polaris solution for newspaper production, Agfa adds 350 plate/hr capability, violet-laser technology, innovative registration system, up to 3 cassettes with multiple plate sizes online and automatic handling to deliver a higher level of plate-making quality, productivity, reliability and economy. Agfa is offering three Polaris X systems, Polaris XC (Cassette plate loading), Polaris XT (Trolley plate loading) and Polaris XD (Double width). Each is available in traditional visible-light FD YAG laser or Violet-laser diode. At more than 350 plates/hr, the Polaris XDV (Violet) is the fastest platesetter on the market. The small footprint of the Agfa’s new platesetter family requires minimal floor space. Key operations such as cassette loading, slip-sheet removal, electronics serving take place at the end of the system provide ease of use and allow multiple systems to fit side-by-side. The Polaris X family is available immediately. High Productivity and Registration Accuracy. A new flatbed table-motion system features the latest linear-drive motor and digital-linear encoder to provide higher speeds, greater accuracy and reliability. The Polaris XT and XC produce between 150 and 200 broadsheet plates/hr or 110 and 120 panorama plates. The Polaris XDV outputs more than 350 broadsheet plates/hr or up to 150 panorama plates. Contributing to these performance statistics are the Polaris FleX registration system and the violet imaging system. The Polaris’ patent-pending FleX registration system uses a built-in suction device to swiftly position the plate against a 3-pin registration system. The violet-laser diode system offers a higher imaging speed than today’s FD YAG laser. As a result, a 20% increase in imaging speed can be achieved. In addition, Agfa’s Lithostar silver plate has the highest sensitivity of all CtP plates, requiring only a short dwelling time and a minimum of laser light to image the plate. According to Kurt Smits, head of Agfa’s newspaper business for Europe, the Polaris X family of platesetters is the direct result of customer feedback. "We listen to our customers so we can learn how to improve our products to meet their demands. Reliability and productivity are high priorities. But flexibility, cost of operation, and quality are also important. Polaris X family was designed to deliver all of these benefits," said Smits. With Agfa’s IntelliNet NewsDrive users can send a fast, steady stream of data to the Polaris X system—taking full advantage of the fastest engine speeds. Unique Cassette Plate-Loading System. Polaris X lets the users choose between large single plate trolley engines (the Polaris XT) with up to 1000 plates online for continuous production) or an online selectable cassette-based engine, (Polaris XC) which holds up to 1500 plates in three different sizes. The Polaris XD holds up to 3000 plates in three different sizes. Agfa’s IntelliNet NewsDrive instructs Polaris XC or XD to automatically select and switch plate cassettes. This reduces plate production time by minimising any delays or human intervention. When the user needs to make plates for a different press, has a priority remake, or changes web widths, any Polaris XC or XD model will automatically be ready to handle up to three different plate sizes. Violet Imaging Lowers Costs. A proven technology in commercial printing, Violet CtP is beginning to penetrate the newspaper market. Leading CtP equipment and plate vendors are supporting this technology with major product introductions. This is primarily due to the technology’s productivity and low cost of operation. The Polaris X Violet version is equipped with an extremely reliable, long-life violet-laser diode that enables fast, consistent imaging. Violet laser imaging allows the user to load and handle plates in convenient yellow safelight environment. "The main attraction for users is of course the reduced cost of operation, since the laser diode is designed to last as long as the engine. That really puts violet imaging in terms of what we could call ‘calculated production cost per plate,’ into a completely different playing field than the FD YAG or thermal lasers," said Mark Bussard, worldwide product marketing manager for newspaper CtP. Agfa Sublima Screening: Magazine Quality for Newsprint. Because CtP, regardless of plate technology, offers the highest level of dot reproduction, Agfa developed Agfa Sublima, a hybrid screening technology, to improve on the quality of CtP for newsprint reproduction. Agfa Sublima has no visible dots for greater detail and realistic tint reproduction. About Agfa The Agfa-Gevaert Group is one of the world’s leading imaging companies. Agfa develops, manufactures and markets analog and digital systems, intended mainly for the graphics industry, healthcare, non-destructive testing, micrographics, motion picture and photography markets. Agfa’s headquarters are in Mortsel, Belgium. The company is active in 40 countries and has 120 agents throughout the world. Together they achieved a turnover of 4,911 million Euros in 2001. Product and company information can be found on Agfa’s home page on the World Wide Web at: www.agfa.com.