Despite a slowdown in the industry, Agfa Graphics says a record number of CTP users have switched to the company’s chemistry-free Thermofuse technology and Azura plate … and expect improved profits from it.
Agfa says new installations in the first quarter of 2009 were a record, despite the economic slowdown. Volumes of Azura plates used have nearly doubled every year since its introduction in 2004, and there are now more than 2000 users.
These report significant reductions in production costs in prepress costs after the equipment upgrade.
"The decrease in chemistry use obviously is one of the most noticeable benefits of the technology,” says sales and marketing vice president Marc Op de Beeck, “but also energy consumption can easily be reduced by 50 per cent and more.
“Because it is the platesetter’s thermal laser that fixes the image on the aluminium base, the gumming unit only needs to wash-off the non-image parts. There is no temperature control in the processor, nor is there any developer or fixer.”
Op de Beeck says the system is always up and running, saving time and energy, and on press, the image contrast offers security to printers during mounting.
At Agfa’s manufacturing plants, standard solvent based coatings for the production of thermal plates have been replaced by water-based coatings, generating less hazardous waste.