On Demand signs five-year contract for Azura TE Plate

Richard Stuart-Turner
Thursday, February 12, 2015

Commercial printer On Demand has signed a five-year contract for Agfa’s new Azura TE direct-on-press plate in an agreement that also includes a new Avalon N4 platesetter.

The Azura TE chemistry-free processless plates, which were launched in December, require no processor, chemistry or water wash-up post exposure and can be put on press straight out of the platesetter.

The plate supports up to 240lpi with Sublima screening and are said to be very stable on press, eliminating many of the variables inherent with conventionally processed plates.

On Demand had previously been using the Fuji violet plates and a Screen PlateRite platesetter.

Shane Holdcroft, managing director of Northampton-based On Demand, said: “Over the years we have spent many hours cleaning a messy processor, which has incurred significant downtime and caused delays.

“Because we started using more and more plates, as we increased our usage it became more apparent that we needed to do something that was more cost-effective in terms of time and chemistry.

“I wanted a CTP system that did not involve chemicals, and looked at a number of options offering imaging off-press, clean on-press and no maintenance.

“Roger Florey, our local Agfa Graphics representative, had been patiently calling on us over the last couple of years, and, when I put the question to him, he said that Agfa had a new Azura plate, which offers everything I was looking for. He was right: Azura TE has delivered exactly what he said.

“This system is plug-and-play, you push a button and the plate comes out. There's no maintenance involved in the system at all. The whole installation and the way the plate has behaved has been fantastic. The only thing we've done on press is alter our pre-damp settings.

“We haven't changed any chemistry and we're getting extremely good results and we've got between 3,000 and 4,000 plates a month going through now so it's quite a big usage.”

Press minder Scott Markham added: “This Agfa plate has a clear defined image so it is easy to check before it goes on the press. There has been no problem with the inks we use and it behaves exactly the same with process and spot colours.

“The debris is deposited on the blanket then onto the first few running sheets and by the 10th I am printing a sellable sheet.

“There is no contamination to the fount solution and the only adjustments we have made are to pre and post damping. To date, the plate has printed runs of 50,000 and 60,000 and I can see that it will easily achieve over 100,000 impressions.”

The business, which also operates a Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 74 five-colour with coating unit, Xerox digital equipment, Epson wide-format machinery and a range of finishing kit, handles run lengths ranging from 100 up to 100,000.

The firm’s sales and marketing director Matt Stockdale said: “We are constantly looking at ways to improve not only quality and service but also to reduce waste. To achieve this we must be efficient in all aspects of our business.

“It is too early to give accurate figures but I can honestly say that the new Agfa CTP system has considerably cut our water and power usage.

“In the past the waste from the plate processor would be taken away by an environmental collection agency but now this is no longer required meaning Azura TE is saving us approximately £800 per month.”

On Demand, which has 25 staff and a turnover approaching £3m, produces a range of special projects and general print including brochures, posters, folders and stationery for SMEs, charities and blue chip public sector companies.

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