Heidelberg Suprasetter A105 VS Screen PlateRite HD 8900S
We are looking to replace our old screen PTR8000-II CTP with a new CTP. I narrowed down my options to these two machines, but I would like to know the opinions of users who know the difference or worked on either of the machines. The machines seem to be very similar in options that come with cassettes, autoloader, stacker, etc... except that Heidelberg offers a 7 year warranty on their lasers and the machines can be offered in a cheaper compact dual autoloader instead of a multi cassette.
I've worked with the Heidelberg Suprasetter A series and various Screen 8x00 series devices. These are all great devices but you are comparing apples to oranges here in a way...
The Screen 8900S device is a GLV laser device and images ~42pph (plates per hour). The Heidelberg Suprasetter A105 series will image ~12pph (the non-A series offers speeds of up to ~40pph). It would be better to compare the Heidelberg A series to the the Screen 8300E. The Heidelberg non-A series would be best compared to the Screen 8600S series. The Screen 8900 is really in a category of its own because of its GLV technology. There are further maintenance concerns with the Screen 8900 series but they aren't major.
I just went through a long, elaborate evaluation of these two product lines and ended up buying a Fuji Javelin 8600S. I'm very happy with the device. I did prefer Heidelberg's MCL solution to the Screen one as it is much more ergonomic and friendly to load. However, loading the MCL when needed was really a minor consideration in the bigger picture of things.
Heidelberg - Suprasetter A105/105
8-Up | CTP | Offset Printing | Graphic Arts & Printing | Products | Fujifilm USA (Javelin is the exact same Screen device)
I have made a mistake... we are considering the NON A version, and at 33 plates per hour... also the Screen HD 8900 at 33 plates per hour. What's special about the GLV laser when screen won't give more than one year warranty on it while heidelberg gives 7 year warranty on the lasers...
I am by no means an expert on GLV (grating light valve) technology. It is my understanding that the GLV device within the CtP has a lifespan and has to be replaced after so many laser hours. This is similar to changing the "bulb" or GLV on a video projector. I don't want to give the impression that GLV technology is unreliable or untrustworthy. It is widely used in many other devices and technologies such as DLP HDTV and projector devices. Counter to that non-GLV traditional thermal-laser imaging devices are focused via traditional optics which don't wear or degrade and only require cleaning when dirty.
Beyond that, sales people will obviously offer incentives to get your business. Unless you have a really high plate volume, poor environmental conditions, or abuse the device the only likely parts to be replaced in 7 years are laser diodes and/or GLV(s). My 8600S replaced a Screen PTR8000 that had run 10 years of heavy usage. In that 10 years the only parts replaced were occasionally dead laser diodes, hood hinges/pistons (from opening/closing the device so many times) and a touch screen panel that wore out.
How about the heidelberg suprasetter? what maintenance concerns do you have about it?
If I remember correctly the only odd maintenance about the Suprasetter is that it utilizes a coolant fluid that has to be changed on a scheduled period. You should ask Heidelberg and Screen each for a copy of the maintenance schedules and the consumable parts lifetimes (GLV, coolant fluid, etc.) that you are evaluating for purchase.
Last edited by chevalier; 10-22-2012 at 11:47 AM.
I have very nice experience with PT-R8600. It is 64 diodes machine. More than 8 years, 24/7 work and no problems. Normal maintenance- cleaning the optics, vacuum pump for the laser head, 2 or 3 laser diodes in the very beginning of the machine, tail clamps, several registration punches. This machine is a real working horse.
Personally, I prefer it to GLV head, because GLV is more fastidious- to the pressure of the vacuum pump, to dust, to the settings. But the exposure of GLV is great. It is really nice.
For Heidelberg, I do not know.
so far it seems that screen has the better history... anyone has feed on the heidelbergs?
Love my A105. All manual.
The coolant is not an issue. I might have to top it off once, maybe two times a year and it takes just a couple of minutes. (Im sure it depends how busy the machine is.)
The machine has a preventive maintenance schedule that is carried out by the service techs. The machine is a pleasure. I recommend HB equipment to anyone.
Service and equipment no complaints. LOVE IT!!!
I used to sell for both Heidelberg and Fuji and can tell you honestly that they are both well built machines and will do the job. I never had a single customer have significant problems with either machine. The screen machine has fixed plate drawers so you have to bring the plates to the CtP while the Suprasetter has cassettes that you can roll to the plates if you store them in a different location. The Suprasetter has multiple lasers so it images the same speed for every plate size while the Screen machine images faster on smaller plates. As far as the lasers go, the Suprasetter's lasers have a wide depth of focus without any moving parts to compensate for plate surface inconsistencies while the GLV head has an auto focus that obviously has moving parts that can fail. The Suprasetter's laser only burns while the machine is imaging while the GLV head is firing the entire time the machine is on so there is an expectation of a longer laser life with the Suprasetter. Just make sure you get internal punches in whatever machine you go with.
The real question for you should be the availability of service. How many technicians are there that can work on the machine and how close are they located to you in the event you have a problem. Heidelberg has great on site and online and support so dig into that with whoever you plan on getting your Screen machine through. Get the best deal you can and you will be happy either way you go.