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NZ prepress provider praises Agfa processless CTP

Thursday, 06 April 2006
By Print21

TBD began in 1992 as a typography business in the owner’s home, before developing into a prepress business after it opened its first office and grew to include film imaging. The company recently diversified into digital printing and multimedia, and now employs over 20 staff.

The company decided to delay converting to CTP until a chemistry-free system was made available. When Agfa’s Azura chemistry-free plates were launched in New Zealand last year, TBD was quick to jump on board and purchase an Acento thermal platesetter to use with the new technology.

John Serepisos, managing director of TBD (pictured right), claims the Azura technology has allowed the business to phase out its old film system and refocus on its prepress strengths. He says he had considered converting to CTP previously but was discouraged by the size and expense of the systems available.

“I wouldn’t have moved to CTP now without the new chemistry-free process. I hate chemicals, and after using chemistry in the imagesetter for all those years I wanted to get away from it,” says Serepisos.

“We only have to worry about the plates now, there are no consumables and no plumbing is needed for washing out chemicals or plates. Our ongoing costs have also reduced significantly, we are saving around $1,000 a month in chemistry and our maintenance is right down,” he says.

Agfa’s Azura plates use a physical process rather than a chemical one, combining a standard aluminium base with a single layer coating of ink-accepting thermofusable (latex) particles.

When exposed in the Acento platesetter, the thermal laser fuses the particles in the image area to physically bond the image to the plate. The plate then passes through the Azura C85 cleaning unit where a gum wash removes the unfused materials.

Activating the Acento platesetter

Serepisos claims the Acento is platesetter is ideal for the New Zealand market, where most print runs are less than 10,000 and run as 4-up formats. It features separate loading and unloading bays for quicker plate production, around 14 plates every hour, and the auto-balance feature enables the platesetter to use different plate sizes without requiring manual adjustments.

Although automated plate handling is available on the Acento, the manual plate-loading model was chosen for production at TBD.

“As a trade house, we carry too many varieties of plates to use the plate manager option,” says Serepisos, “We have around a dozen different plate sizes, from a GTO 52 up to Speedmaster 74, and we can provide plates cut to size.”

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