Star product: Agfa Energy Elite Pro plate
By Jenny Roper Friday, 11 November 2011
High-performance plate gets an all-round upgrade
When was it launched and what markets is it aimed at?
"For printers who might have a job once in a while of 250,000 magazines or catalogues, they’ll need a plate that can handle this so they don’t have to keep swapping backwards and forwards," say Ralph Hilsdon, head of pre-press product marketing at Agfa.
The plate is also likely to appeal to packaging printers as, although they typically have shorter runs, they are more likely to use aggressive UV inks.
According to Agfa, the Energy Elite Pro plate is an all-round improvement on their Energy Elite plate that has been on the market for several years. Hilsdon says that the stability is improved on long runs, as is its unbaked run length on both UV and non-UV jobs.
"Basically, it lasts longer on the press," says Hilsdon, "and it’s also slightly improved from an ecological point of view as it uses less chemistry at the processing stage. Because it has an increased bath life of up to 7,000sqm and lower replenishment rates of 50ml/sqm, chemical waste is also reduced."
Agfa says the higher sensitivity means the plate can also be imaged faster, although this will of course depend on the speed of the platesetter. "Let’s say your platesetter did 30 plates per hour before, it might do 31 with the Energy Elite Pro, but that’s only if the platesetter is capable of going at the higher speed," says Hilsdon.
"The improvement is to do with the changing of the components," adds Hilsdon. "We actually refer to it as a recipe – it’s like a cake. Better ingredients come along and you change other ingredients and ratios. The Energy Elite Pro is based on the same principle as the Energy Elite, but it’s an improved version."
How does it work?
Like its predecessor, the Elite Pro is a dual-layer plate, which Hilsdon says gives it a higher resistance to UV inks than simpler single-layer plates. Whereas simpler plates are covered in minute latex spores –with the image created by a laser melting those spores and a simple cleaner clearing away the non-imaged areas – the dual-layer plates have to go through a chemical processor with developer, finisher and gum. This makes the plate more robust and suitable for more "aggressive" printing environments. It can be used for even longer print-runs if baked.
What training and support is available?
Agfa employs application specialists whose job it is to first ensure the platesetter is properly calibrated and linearised and that the density in the processor is right, then to work with the press operators to ensure all the settings are correct. The amount of training and support needed to help printers switch from their old plate to the new depends on the printer, says Hilsdon.
"Some printers are very proficient so you could almost post the plate to them and they’d be okay," says Hilsdon. "But for others, it’s even more crucial that we have experts working for us who can help them get the best out of the product. The specialists also make sure that the chemistry levels on the processor are turned down from the old plate, so the new plate delivers on being more environmentally friendly."
What is its sales target?
Because Agfa is only just phasing in this new plate, Hilsdon says sales predictions are difficult to make, but the manufacturer intends that the Energy Elite Pro will, in time, supersede all Energy Elite plates.
What platesetters is it compatible with?
The Energy Elite Pro is designed for use with a wide variety of thermal platesetters and processors, including Agfa Graphics’ recently introduced high-speed Avalon N8-80XT.
Run length 300,000-400,000 unbaked
Resolution 1%-99% at 200lpi and 20 micron FM
Bath life Up to 6,968sqm
Replenishment rate 50ml/sqm
Price Dependent on volume ordered
Contact Agfa 020 8231 4983 www.agfa.com
"The Elite Pro is more robust throughout the print process and has enabled us to increase our plate production and reduce waste. We anticipate that its higher sensitivity will also result in an extended life for the lasers in our platesetters"
Huw Le Goubin Pre-press manager, Wyndeham Grange
Fujifilm Brillia HD LH-PLE
The Brillia HD LH-PLE is the latest thermal plate from Fujifilm to work with UV inks on medium-length print runs without the need for baking. To withstand the stresses placed on a printing plate during long runs, the Brillia HD LH-PLE incorporates a new strong alloy base to resist cracking and splitting, reducing and eliminating the need, says Fujifilm, for costly remakes and press downtime. It can be baked if higher run lengths are required.
Run length 300,000 unbaked
Resolution 1%-99% at 200lpi and 20 micron FM
Bath life Up to 8,000sqm
Replenishment Typically 7-10ml/sqm
Price On application
Contact Fujifilm 01234 572 340 www.fujifilm.co.uk
Kodak Electra XD Thermal Plate + Kodak 400xLo Chemistry system
The patented plate technology of the Electra XD Plate supports high resolution imaging to deliver consistent, high quality printing. According to Kodak, the plate delivers sharp detail for extremely long, stable runs in both AM and FM applications. Like the Energy Pro plate the Electra XD’s lower developer consumption, longer bath life and cleaner processing reduces cost per plate and minimises chemical waste.
Run length Up to 500,000 impressions unbaked; 1,000,000-plus bake
Resolution 1%-99% at 450lpi
Bath life Up to 12 weeks or 8,000sqm
Replenishment rate 30-60ml/sqm
Price On application
Contact Kodak 0870 8500204 www.graphics.kodak.com
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