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Agfa going gangbusters with Azura installations

Thursday, 25 August 2005
By Print 21 Online Article

With installations currently underway in Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney, Abbott & Co in Perth is the latest print provider to be up and running with Azura plates. Printhouse Nelson has also become the first printer in New Zealand to adopt a chemical free system, with the South Island company commissioning an Agfa Acento mid-format CTP device running Azura plates.

(Right: Tony Woodall, general manager, & Aaron Tombs, production manager, of Printhouse Nelson, NZ’s first chemical-free CTP install)

Abbott & Co has converted its Heidelberg Topsetter over to Agfa’s chemical-free solution, and last week hosted an open house to demonstrate production conditions to the WA printing industry. Those in attendance were taken on a tour of the factory to witness a four-up CTP job imaged on the Azura, and subsequently printed on a five-colour Heidelberg press.

James Smedley, managing director of Abbott & Co, claims Azura was chosen for its reduced make-ready times and elimination of chemical use. “The change over was flawless, the Agfa team had us up and productive in a matter of hours and the printed result is superior to what we were used of achieving,” he says. “I would recommend Azura wholeheartedly.”

(From left: Garry Muratore with James Smedley)

Garry Muratore, marketing manager for Agfa, claims the interest shown in the Azura during PacPrint is now consolidated with nation-wide installations. “What is interesting is that not all sites are new to CTP, in some cases Azura has completely replaced an existing competitive CTP plate,” he says. “The reason is simple – customers want a clean, consistent and water free plate, and Azura provides all of that and more.”

Agfa’s half-year results have also revealed a strong interest worldwide in its new CTP plates, with the UK and the US in particular credited with particularly strong sales of Azura products. Sales for the firm’s Graphic Systems printing division rose by 5.9 per cent to reach $1.4 billion, with the growth attributed to strong volumes in digital printing plates mainly driven by Azura, boosted by the company’s determination to resist further price erosion.

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