Agfa has announced immediate plate price rises of up to 10% due to rocketing aluminium costs.
Agfa Graphics president Stefaan Vanhooren described the increases as “exceptional” but said that corresponding uplift in the value of scrap aluminium should help mitigate the move.
Aluminium makes up the majority of the costs involved in producing metal printing plates. According to the London Metal Exchange, the price per tonne is currently up by nearly 16%, to $2,265 (£1,700), compared with this time last year. Last month it hit $2,597.
“Soaring prices of aluminium… are the main reason for this decision,” Vanhooren said. However, thanks to the increased intrinsic recycle value of the used printing plates, the price increase will not necessarily result in a cost increase to our customers.”
Agfa UK managing director Eddie Williams told PrintWeek: “We have been holding back on this for such a long time, but the price of aluminium is just getting out of control.
“We are balancing this with the fact that we know our customers are under price pressure, and we really do respect that. From a percentage perspective it should only be a slight shift, and we are trying to make it cost neutral for customers based on the recovery available from the used aluminium.”
Williams said that the firm was also using know-how from recent acquisition Bodoni Systems to deliver workflow efficiencies to help cut printers’ costs.
“We are talking to customers about efficiencies they can make within their workflow, such as tools to allow them to get the first copy off quicker, and that deliver ink savings,” he explained.
In addition, Agfa highlighted the potential economic benefits of the group’s ECO3 framework, which stands for “Economy, Ecology, and Extra Convenience” and is aimed at increasing productivity and efficiencies in the prepress department and pressroom.