plate testing

Bob Hill

Well-known member
I've read a lot on this forum about various attributes pertaining to specific plates but not much about how to really compare them in the pressroom.

I have suggested that the best way to test would be to request linear plates from the manufacturer with identical images on each. In this way, the quality of the plate and of the imaging system could be tested to determine how the individual plate carries water and reproduces the critical highlights and deep shadows. If plate 1 holds a 2% dot at 200 lpi and plate 2 holds a 1% I would judge that the ability of plate 2 at holding highlights is greater than plate 1. The same evaluation would be used to judge the shadows and midtones.

Would this process help determine which plate has the most/least amount of inherent TVI based on being linear? Would one test be a proper determination or should it be repeated a couple of times to account for imaging inconsistencies, plate variances and printability?

I've often been told to find a plate that the pressroom can run the best and go from there. This would be the first step in this process.

I'd appreciate any feedback related to the following plates, with the stipulation being chem-free (not sure I like that terminology) and thermal. Current technology is violet but looking to go thermal. Company is high quality 4 and 5 color sheetfed with between $15 and $20 million in sales. Plates are read with X-Rite Plate Scope.

Agfa - I don't know the difference between Amigo and Accento but would relish the education
Fuji - Pro-T
Kodak - Thermal Direct

TIA for your help and thoughts.


Well-known member
Re: plate testing

The word on the block in the UK is that the new Fuji processless knocks spots of the opposition (I am a Kodak user)

As far as plates are concerned

Imaging time is important to me - some take longer than others

Scratch resistent (Fuji used to be very soft)

Life before printing - some plates have to be printed upto 48 hours of imaging.

Can I see the image on the plate - Kodak struggles

and most of all price


Well-known member
Re: plate testing

Hi Bob:

Agfa - I don't know the difference between Amigo
and Accento but would relish the education

I'll be brief, as the links below give more and
better information than I can provide in this space.

The Acento is our 4-up thermal imager designed
for the entry- to modest-sized print shops. Many
of these devices are imaging our Azura chemistry-
free plate, the most successful (by installs and M/Ft2)
chem-free or processless plate on the market.

Azura is an implementation of our ThermoFuse
technology, first launched as ThermoLite, an on-
press imaging/clean-out plate in 2000. Azura was
subsequently launched in 2004, and instead of
cleaning-out on press (with all the associated
baggage), cleans-out in a simple 1-step gumming
unit. This provides a high-contrast image, and
allows the plate to hang around the shop for days
(in white light).

Amigo is a sister plate to Azura, designed for higher-
volume shops. It uses a typical processor to aggres-
sively clean-out the background, so the plate can be
baked for extended runs.

All three products have a proven track record of success
in the market; your local Agfa representative can provide
you with references.

Thank you for your interest,



Well-known member
Re: plate testing

Hello bob,

from my point of view (printer) i want a plate which can stand chemical resistance, if im struggling with bad paper full of debris i don't want to erode the image on the plate by cleaning it, i would not judge a plate by its ability to hold a 1-3% dot or it having a higher tvi as if there were any difference this could easily be sorted with compensation curves (tvi). The most important thing a plate has to do is keep non image area wet and image areas dry and inked. Most manufactures are making plates with a finer grain so we can print finer screens and smaller dots but this means the grain of the plate holds less water making ink water balance more important. So trial the plates on jobs you have saved profiles for and see how the new set of plate cope, do they require more ink and water or less. How many impressions do these plates last and how are they once cleaned and gummed, we used to clean and gum all sets of plates for future use but every time we put them back on press the fine tints would not print and the solids looked patchy (kodak) had tech in but he blamed every man and his dog, switched to fuji and now ok.

Take your time. and remember act in haist repent in leisure

Edited by: Paul Green on Jan 22, 2008 8:03 PM

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