Kodak Sonora X - DOP issues


Dear all,

I recently discovered this forum and base for plenty of very usefull topics.

When the problem excists and the solvetion is not near I must ask do you have issues with Sonora X plates DOP?

DOP topic is manny times talked about but still I need yours overview on the specific situation.

What I've tried to do is elimination process on what causes poor DOP on two presses in the nearly same level.

The presser are KBA 105-4 & Heidelberg SM 102-4:

1) The same for both of them is:

- Ink Kingswood Globby-ISO shades conventional,

- Water - tap water (14 odH)

- Blankets - ContiAir,

- Prepress equipment - Kodak platesetter.

- IPA supplier & ammount (KBA 9%, HD 7,5%),

- Dampening solution is changing every 10 working days on both presses

2) Differences:

- Pressman,

- Jobs ( coated, uncoated papers, book papers, runlenght)

- Dampening mixture ( KBA - Böttcher Fount 3010+, HD - Saphira Low chem 510),

- pH values - KBA 5,12 ; HD - 5,28

- Conductivity ( KBA 930 micS, HD 1138 micS ),

When DOP with "standard" amount of dampening solution (4 pre dampening revolution) both presses need at least 60-80 sheets to completeally DOP and magenta is struggling the most.

When DOP with aditional manual - button press (few times) dampening with dampening plate rollers before the inking rollers pushed down still we have 35-45 sheets to complete DOP, thats too much!

Do you have any idea whats going on? My ideas perished when I tried with other ink producer (J+S Multiboard shade).

I've checked the temperature of dampening mixture both are 10 oC, in Baldwin/Technotrans systems.

Rollers water chilling system turned on to 25,5 oC.

When switched back to Sonora XP - Standard DOP more/less 20 - 25 sheets needed depending on ink surface coverage on the plate.

Mr. Alois sir, please comment, others you are welcome also.

Thank you in advance!

Best regards,
In trouble


Well-known member
do you have a chance to check the setter settings for Sonora X? When the power setting is too high there may be problems dissolving the unexposed emulsion.
Do you use same media slot for X as for XP?





The energy is decreased to 120-130 mJ/cm2 like in technical specification.

The slot for mounting the plates on CTP is the same, we made earlier separate templates for Sonora X and Sonora XP.



Yes we can try this, but there is no logic- maybe im missing something...

Actually DOP between 4 and 1 is not so manny different, correct me if Im wrong, but it worth a shot.

I found it also very hard to disolve the emulsion on the plate by hand and dampening mixture applied with a rag or sponge.

I will try to decrease ammount of pre dampening to minimum just to see what happends, but really im not so optimistic about is as already with 4 revolutions it has about 200 sheets with ink residues still remaining in magenta separation (noticable in halftones).

Thanks Cementary!



Well-known member
Yes we can try this, but there is no logic- maybe im missing something...

when kodak representatives sold you Sonora, did they have some white papers on best practicies with those plates?


Well-known member

Another factor that MUST be considered, but surprisingly one that has such little discussion about on this forum is..... the dreaded calcium. Quite possibly, the most debilitating non-mechanical issue there is.

DOP plates are EXTREMELY calcium sensitive and magenta ink has a good bit of calcium in it, not to mention the paper or board. UV ink is very calcium sensitive. The calcium is rooted in the rollers and affects so much. Removing the calcium is critical.

It can't be done with your home remedies, your vinegar, your pastes and all the placebos you use or buy. Once the calcium is gone, really gone, many things fall into place. Old ink and paper lint are purged once the calcium that encapsulates it is gone.

Photos of two magenta units. One from a 40" Komori running UV ink and one from a 57" KBA running conventional ink. Both presses experiencing much of what ails your shop. The white foam is calcium. BOTH presses have reduced so many process problems since they have started attacking their calcium problems in earnest with an effective solution. Don't underestimate calcium contamination, obliterate it.

Revolution, I would love to see pictures of your roller train. Calcium may not be your only issues, but I am willing to bet it is a big part of it.


  • photo8463.jpg
    25.3 KB · Views: 437
  • photo8464.jpg
    27 KB · Views: 412

Alois Senefelder

Well-known member
Hello Milan,

Before you change anything, I would check the following.

1) Are you sure the plates are Imaged correctly ?

2) Check - Plate Stripe settings of Inkers/Dampener Rollers

3) Are the Blankets/ Roller Trains clean and NOT glazed?

4) Are the Plate/Blanket/Impression pressures correct.?

5) Try a different Ink Manufacturer. (Ink Tack Vaues)

6) Post some GOOD image pictures of the problem !

Regards, Alois
Last edited:


@ All

Thank you for your ideas and sorry for mine delayed answer.

We actually tried all of you mentioned except dramatically lowering the power exposure from the 120 mJ to for example 90 mJ/ 85 mJ like Kodak representative suggested (i found it critical due to runlenght potencial problems), it will be our next step. I really don't find it logical, but after many steps we take, this could be also inspect.

I must say that the only way in this moment I made customer to print with Sonora X continuously is washing the plates on press by the dampening solution - I know, not good, but holding for last straw in the moment. Not good idea on long term, so I am waiting for Kodak representative in the end of March to come on site.


Yes, we are aware of best practices and have 7 years experience with the processless plates - Thermal direct and Sonora XP. White papers are also delivered, we had few trainings in Osterode, Germany - Kodak factory and laboratory.


All done before, Calcium is totally gone - we used Bottcher Calciumfix on every printing unit, very powerful paste to remove calcium,magnesium and other carbonate deposits. But thanks! I find it really important also, cannot be more agree with you!

Alois Senefelder

Dear Alois Sir!

1) Could be an issue of image power exposure as we got one interesting info from Kodak team which will be officially published in the future... Bonded to lowered energy exposure i wrote, they say it seems not to influence run lenght ... We will see,
2) , 4) Heidelberg service did all the settings as it should be and checked again last week,
3) Roller and blanket trains are in ok condition, thanks for pointing that,
5) With Saphira Elite Star 610 its a little bit better, but still out of concept...

6) Notice the images with comments on last stage I got two days ago...

Predampening setting.jpg - 4 revolutions of dampening rollers before inking rollers are engaged

Pre dampening is set to 4 revolutions before engaging the inking rollers, increasement or decreasement didnt helped at all... This works fine with fresh imaged plates which are mounted at press asap, but not with 1 day delayed plates which are protected in boxes...
100 ti tabaka ploča stajala 1 dan.jpg - 101 sheets not cleared in black ink, 80 sheets with magenta, cyan, 67 with yellow ink Saphira Elite Star 610 - 1 day imaged plate before mounting on press

This is +/- 100 sheet printed with 1 day standing in box imaged Sonora X... Cyan, Magenta 80 sheets needed to clear, Yellow about 65 sheets

Ink plate wear.jpg - Plate wear due to non cleaned emulsion

Plate removed from printing unit, ink solidified non removed emulsion, needs plate cleaner with mid pressure to be removed - caution! Can affect oleophilic parts easily!

Ostala emulzija nakon 100 tabaka.jpg - Remained emulsion, not clasic ink platewear

As you can notice, remained protective emulsion remains on the places where ink build up was on the previous photo. So it is not a classic ink build up due to non proper dampening solution setup

As this problem still excists with the plates which are imaged and delayed in printing from some reason, what i could do is just make pressman continuously wet the plate for 30 seconds before print (druck) button / print start button is pushed, so all the emulsion goes in the dampening mixture unfortunatelly with risk to maybe on longer path totally clog the distributing pipes. Luckily customer already has practice to clean the complete system on month base with system cleaners.

Next image is sleared 1st sheet after press button is performed.
Sheet cleaned with 30 second soaking dampening sol. continuously with dampening ink form roller.jpg

1st image after "soaking" 30 seconds with dampening ink form roller

Advice: Do not perform this if you are not in corner situation - don't have backup plates in specific formats, etc... In the moment it is the only option for us until next batches come or Kodak technical support or Sonora XP which performs as it should be, without problems.

I hope those informations can help to others, asap i got new info about this situation i will post it.

Im here if you have questions or suggestions.

Kindly yours,



Sorry Sir,

From some reason answer to you was cutted, we have those steps performed you sent, we are well experianced :) Thank you!


I agree with you, but this is public printshop which has governant rules so it cannot change on this... Thank you!



Well-known member
Revolutions , well, since you have a lot of experience, i would suggest some of mine:
we use Sonora X since they were announced — we're also participate in trials before announcement.
And we do follow kodak's instructions on minimum predamp. Our plates are all clean in +-25 sheets. And it doesn't depend on the delay after imaging.
Some plates are mounted on press after a week
We also do not use boxes, we're simple place imaged plates on stand "image side - to - image side".

Maybe it's just bad plates shipment? If you have a dealer nearby, can you order fresh-new pack of plates to test that?
And second thought is ink. With some spot inks, especially metallics, we've experienced same problems, while with process inks are ok.
BTW, our process inks are Huber Reflecta cofree.



I succseeded to make prepress operators to store imaged plates into boxes, but face to face on stand is also ok...

First attempt with average ink - Kingswood ISO-Globby, the second with Toyo King, the 3rd Saphira Elite Star 610 (white labeling, I assume it is some Van Son ink under the label), these all are process inks, not so often printing with spot Pantone inks...

With Saphira was the best situation, probably because the tack was better prior to physical emulsion removing moment blanket-sheet contact.

Well, probably it is an problematic batch


Well-known member
Revolutions , well probably it is
But on another hand — i see your problems arise near the edge of the plates.
Taking into account that freshly exposed plates do not suffer from same problems, i would suggest to check the environmental condition around plate storage.
Maybe it is too dry in your boxes?

Alois Senefelder

Well-known member
Hello Revolutions,

Suggestions: 1) Have a set of DOP (Fuji/Agfa) plates made by an outside source - another Printer/Trade Plate Maker.

if the problem remains - you have a "On Press" problem.

2) This is important, Check the "Shore Hardness" of the plate dampeners/plate inkers.

3) In the long term trial one press converted to run "Alcohol-Free Dampening"

4) Trial a "Softer Shore Hardness Plate Dampener" - this would help you running Alcohol-Free.

5) Are the Imaging Control Strip Readings OK?

6) Why are you running with 2 different F.S ?

Regards, Alois

PS. I'm not a fan of DOP Plates !!!!!

RJ Litho

Well-known member
We are running the Sonora X on 2 40" Heidelbergs and 73" Roland with very little issues no different than a conventional plate .We go in and out of UV. we have a flow clear filtration on our water tanks and have not drained in 6 months running 3 Shifts.I manage the plant so I see all the issues if we have any.We do maintain our presses very well and deglaze min once per month .The damps settings are more critical I prefer to set the damps just 1/4 to 1/2 turn off heavy water and run my water speeds down..Ink train running at 78 degrees or 21c .11.5 for the damps .Sounds cold but the distance the water has to travel to the pans and the rollers makes a difference. I check the reading at the press.


Hello all,

Can anyone advise how long after burning a process free plate, it is usable if you store it face to face with a sheet of paper between them?


Hello all,

Can anyone advise how long after burning a process free plate, it is usable if you store it face to face with a sheet of paper between them?
Hello R,

We noticed that with more/less a week or two is not a problem, after that period you can expect harder DOP by press. Just keep imaged plates in box away from the light sources.

Good luck!


What About Profitability?

What about Profitability?
Offset yields new advantages

Read All About It