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Thermal vs. Violet CTP--anyone switch?

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  • Thermal vs. Violet CTP--anyone switch?

    Has anyone switched from Violet laser CTP to ("processless") Thermal? We have had HighWater Python for a few years (upgraded from its clunky predecessor, the Platinum, which we had in place since 2003), running AGFA's Lithostar plates. We are considering quite a few thermal options: Presstek, AGFA Acento, Kodak/Creo Magnus 400, Fuji Dart 4300E--to get away from the mess and cost of the chemistry (including maintenance time and filtration/hauling costs). I am also hearing that the thermals, although slower to image (11 plates/hr vs. 21), offer better repeatability and consistency.

    We are not (yet) using an established workflow, either (just sending to the platesetter RIP out of native apps or pulling manually imposed PDFs through the platesetter RIP software)--something else we are considering at the same time....

    My apologies for a long first post--any input will be welcome!

  • #2
    Re: Thermal vs. Violet CTP--anyone switch?

    I would also add Heidelberg to your shortlist. Suprasetter Imager, MetaDimension Workflow and best of all SignaStation for your imposition and montage work. Works great for me... We also use processless plates (Kodak Thermal Direct).

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    • #3
      Re: Thermal vs. Violet CTP--anyone switch?

      Thanks for the reply! Actually, the Heidelberg system is on my list, too--it seems to me that Fuji and AGFA get the most attention in here. How long have you been using the Suprasetter? Do you find that the service/tech support is reliable?

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      • #4
        Re: Thermal vs. Violet CTP--anyone switch?

        We are dealers for new Screen Thermal and Escher-Grad Violet CTP equipment but with the economy the way it is we sell mostly reconditioned CTP and Processor equipment with NEW front-ends.

        Installing NEW RIPS, Computers, Workflow and Proofing Devices on reconditioned Screen and Trendsetter CTP engines and Processors is the best of both worlds. RIP and proofing technologies have advanced much faster than engine technologies and are a small fraction of the total cost of a system. Merging the two is cost effective, eliminates the problems associated with new and diverse file formats and protocols but gets your customers buying consumables where they otherwise wouldn't be able to.

        Now with the soon to be announcement of "Chem Free" Violet plates at Drupa, Violet CTP will become very popular again because of the lower cost of ownership and maintanence.

        Terry Allen
        Spectrecom
        Terry Allen, Spectrecom
        Cell # 818-679-5168 terry@spectrecom.com

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        • #5
          Re: Thermal vs. Violet CTP--anyone switch?

          Hi Fatboysmart,

          Thank you for your post.

          Hi alena,

          Last month we exceeded 1700 Suprasetters shipped! . We manufacture the Suprasetter in Wiesloch, Germany, same location we manufacture our presses. If you have seen the Suprasetter, then you would have notice how robustly it is built! In the U.S., we bundle with our Saphira Chemfree plate or we offer three other thermal plate technologies. We also have our violet Prosetter CtP and Saphira plate. Look out for the launch of Violet Chemfree plates at Drupa.

          Heidelberg also programs our own workflow with MetaDimension and Printready along with our own imposition software, Signa Station. We also offer estimating, color management and have best in class integration to our presses. However, if you are fine with your existing workflow, we can accept a 1 bit tiff to drive the Suprasetter or Prosetter. .

          Being that most of our products are Heidelberg designed, programmed and manufactured, we take full ownership, one call for support. If you have any questions let me know or PM me. I can also arrange for a rep to call or visit to provide more detailed information.

          Regards,

          Mark
          Mark Tonkovich
          Heidelberg USA

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          • #6
            Re: Thermal vs. Violet CTP--anyone switch?

            Is the general consensus among current Violet users that they are just waiting for Chem-Free violet plates to hit the market? The main issue for our press department is the registration of our plates--we are still exploring whether it is an inherent problem with the way plates are loaded on our current model (clamp based on a three-point sensor system, manually loaded, then fed into a "virtual drum"--kind of like a half-pipe). Our punches are not old and are in good condition. The thermal units we are looking into all have external drums and clamp at both ends of the plate, which seems automatically sturdier to me.
            Terry, which plates can run with the Screen system?
            Mark, does the washed off emulsion accumulate in the gum/finisher solution container that is attached to your processing unit (like AGFA's system)? And if so, what does Heidelberg recommend that the print shop do with the residue?

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            • #7
              Re: Thermal vs. Violet CTP--anyone switch?

              > {quote:title=alena hrycun wrote:}{quote}
              > Thanks for the reply! Actually, the Heidelberg system is on my list, too--it seems to me that Fuji and AGFA get the most attention in here. How long have you been using the Suprasetter? Do you find that the service/tech support is reliable?

              We have been using the Suprasetter for 7 months now, and we haven't had any problems so far. The service over here (The Netherlands) is very good. I guess knowing Heidelberg it will be the same in the US. We expected some start-up problems in the first few weeks, but the system worked perfectly from day one!.

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              • #8
                Re: Thermal vs. Violet CTP--anyone switch?

                Fatboysmart,
                Is the Suprasetter the first CTP device your company installed? I imagine that the chem-free environment is popular in your part of the world.

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                • #9
                  Re: Thermal vs. Violet CTP--anyone switch?

                  Hi alena,

                  Contrary, our violet Prosetter with punch has the tightest registration spec of any CtP with +/- 5 micron. The Prosetter can be feed semi auto or completely auto. With semi-auto, the operator places the plate on a feed table, the plate is automatically centered, pulled in and then clamped by a gripper on the leading edge. The gripper then feeds the plate into the internal drum where is it clamped and vacuumed. We expose the plate and then punch it. There are holes in the gripper that allow us to punch the plate without moving it, thereby achieving +/- 5 micron register accuracy. In addition, the laser has high quality optics and a 10.6 micron spots size, providing accurate exposures. This combination provides excellent registration. Currently, we do offer a very high quality, process Violet plate. We expect the Chemfree violet to compliment it.

                  Remember, there are many plates on the market that have different attributes, some are higher resolution then others, some have longer run lengths, some are bake able and some are not. An example, our Saphira Chemfree plates is rated up to 250 line screen with our Prinect Hybrid Screening. If you required to image 400 line, we would recommend our Saphira PN , a chemistry base plate that has very high resolution.

                  By the way, the Chemfree plates utilizes on offline clean out unit that removes the emulsion and gums the plate. This not only protects the plate but also provides a nice level of contrast, allowing for a Q.C. step. Regulations vary from state to state, county to county and city to city, therefore Heidelberg does not recommend any waste be put down a drain. We can assist you with the information you would need to check with your local code. Depending on your production needs, you may only use one 5 gallon jug of gum a month. I hope this helps.


                  Best regards,

                  Mark Tonkovich
                  Mark Tonkovich
                  Heidelberg USA

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                  • #10
                    Re: Thermal vs. Violet CTP--anyone switch?

                    > {quote:title=alena hrycun wrote:}{quote}
                    > Fatboysmart,
                    > Is the Suprasetter the first CTP device your company installed? I imagine that the chem-free environment is popular in your part of the world.

                    Yes, this is our first CTP system. We are a small printing company and up till last july we had a film recorder (Scantext) with processor and made the plates manually. When we switched to CTP with processless plates we got rid of all of that, so we do not use any chemicals anymore. Also we print Alcohol-Free (for 7 years now), so you could say we are a very environment-friendly printer.
                    But what I like most about the processless plates is never having to clean a processor again!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Thermal vs. Violet CTP--anyone switch?

                      Both are good technologies. We made the transition from CTF to CTP about 1.5 years ago and we took a long time to look at everything.

                      For me it was the service that was the most important. Over the years Fuji has really stayed on top of their game. All the machines will do the same job. We decided to purchase a thermal unit made by Screen and it works very very good. We haven't adopted a true process-less plate as of yet. We did look at the violet technology and the only deciding factor in the end was the price. We got a real good deal on a demo thermal unit. I've heard of many shops successfully using violet and its speed is great.

                      As for workflow, Rampage is a good one that Fuji fully supports. I am in Canada and I deal directly with Fuji with all my issues. Excellent people over there.

                      One thing I learned is to not break your back on deciding which one is better. They both are good. Some people will try to put down the others' technology but the technology is advanced enough for both to be very reliable. The violet is very stable and consistent, don't let others tell you otherwise.

                      Hope that was helpful.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Thermal vs. Violet CTP--anyone switch?

                        I think both the technologies do have its own application. what is important is what is the requirement in priority.

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