Productive platesetter exposes conventional offset printing plates
Birmingham (IPEX '02 stand no. 4-310) - April 9th, 2002. Esko-Graphics revealed today that its new corporate identity is not the only significant news at IPEX. The company clearly stated its intentions to continue its computer-to-plate leadership and expertise by further developing a new and exciting offset CtP technology. Based on the concept of the Dicon device shown at Drupa 2000, Esko-Graphics on its stand demonstrates - by invitation only - an engineering prototype imaging conventional plates in real time. The exhibit proves to industry leaders that affordable CtP technology using lower cost printing plates will be accessible to every printer in the near future.
"The new Dicon computer-to-plate device has been developed entirely by our Esko-Graphics team in Denmark. We regard it as our most stunning CtP development," says William Schulin-Zeuthen, CEO of Esko-Graphics. "The system uses a unique new technology based on ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. The flatbed platesetter transfers the image onto the plate with UV light, covering the entire width of the plate with its imaging head(s). Using a UV light source is not the only remarkable achievement controlling the power and accuracy needed to steer this process is also one of the key elements driving this new technology."
The Dicon platesetter prototype shown utilizes a single UV imaging head. For higher imaging performance, a second imaging head can be added. At 1270dpi resolution, a twin head Dicon is expected to be capable of outputting up to 55 negative-working plates per hour, depending upon plate sensitivity.
The future introduction of the Dicon platesetter will give printers the ability to image cheaper conventional, ultraviolet-sensitive plates on a CtP device, rather than the special and more expensive thermal or violet CtP plates. Esko-Graphics believes that every conventional plate ˆ with either standard sensitivity or high-speed projection sensitivity, negative-working (write black) or positive-working (write white) chemistry ˆ can be imaged by the Dicon platesetter. In addition, the Dicon technology and imager design itself promise to be very price-competitive compared to other “traditional” platesetters.
"We see a tremendous market opportunity among commercial and newspaper printers, 80% of which still use conventional plates. In the near future, they will be able to save up to 40% on consumable costs compared to CtP plate processing, and they can continue to use plates provided by their local vendors of choice. Dicon users will enjoy a significant competitive edge over non-CtP users. They will be able to offer their
customers the quality and speed provided by CtP devices, but with pricing reflecting the use of conventional plate technology," continues William Schulin-Zeuthen. "For Esko-Graphics and the industry, this is a noteworthy step towards a next generation of CtP products, offering reliable and durable CtP devices with a low maintenance cost. It is a true breakthrough that has the potential to completely open up the market and to offer printers a very valid reason to further digitize their workflows."
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