Tango By Dotworks-Should G & J be concerned?

One-size-fits-all solutions never work in the real world.

I have represented plate manufacturers for over 35 years and visited a lot of pressrooms all over the country. One of the things that always fascinated me was how different every shop was, and how the same product with the same characteristics didn't always work the same for everyone. Adjustments always needed to be made.

That is probably why you see mixed reviews for the same product. It depends on what you want to do with it. What are your expectations?

Want to see a plate and run it in your own environment?

You be the judge, and you decide.
 

HPC

Well-known member
I know this is an old thread, but I am now in the process of looking at Tango versus G&J. Anybody out there have some real world results. Which system is better and why??
 

Stephen Marsh

Well-known member
Additionally, Epson have their own inkjet CTP system out based around a 7900 with an additional dryer.

www.epson.com.au/Prographics/products/Direct_to_Plate/


Stephen Marsh
 

HPC

Well-known member
If I remember correctly there were only two things that steered me away from the Tango system. Its speed and having to gum the plates if you want to have them sit for production. Just an FYI we purchased a G & J, it took them 3 months to fix a problem with the printer. We were'nt down but it really ticked me off, to have a machine less than 6 months old not working right.
 

Robert carter

Well-known member
testing of inkjet ctp

As environmental issues push forward I believe inkjet ctp will continue to emerge as a dominant plate technology. I have been following this technology for more than 12 years dating back to Graphic Science Corporation when they did a demo using laser inkjet film positives & positive acting metal plates to run a CMYK job at a trade show. Inkjet entered the picture with Pisces (JetPlate) which is now gone out of business. I have spoken to many users of JetPlate systems who were very happy with the system. Then Glunz-Jensen iCTP came about, then TechNova's Polijet and MetiJet, then VIM Technologies JT-Direct Plates (polyester & metal), Dotworks, and the newest is Kimoto's Kimotosetter 525 which uses UV inkjet technology to image the plates.

I don't work for any of these companies, and I am not a dealer. I do own my own print shop, been in the business for 20+ years, and buy and sell used equipment, so I have talked to lots of printer, dealers, engineers, manufacturers, etc. What I will tell you is I believe the technology is here to stay, and that I believe all the systems are capable of making quality plates, each system having its pluses and minuses.

The Glunz-Jensen and Kimoto 525 are on the high end price wise at around $30K each. The Dotworks, Polijet, and JT-Direct are all very similar but these 3 all use off the shelf high end Epson Stylus Pro series inkjet printers using OEM inks to image the plates. Each brand of plate material will obviously have different characteristics but I believe they will all perform relatively the same from the tests I have done in my own shop.

What G/J doesn't want you to know is that you can buy the Epson 3880 for around $1295 new, buy a rip from $495, buy the plate material from stuff4print.com and use a laminator to cure the plates. I haven't tested the $495 rip but I am told it does the job well, but the Wasatch SP RIP has all the tools you need to make very high quality inkjet plates.

I'm not sold on the MetiJet plates yet as to my understanding the plates have to be exposed on a plate burner once imaged (positive acting plates - the ink block the light) & then developed so this isn't much different than imaging film and burning plates anyway as you still have the same steps.

The purpose of CTP is to lower plates cost, production time and obtain a higher quality plate. All the above fit this concept except the MetiJet in my opinion, and if you look at the imaging specs they all use the same Epson imaging head/resolution of 2880 x 1440 dpi (including G/J and Jetplate). So in theory they are all capable of putting down the same image on the plate. Any difference would come down to the plate characteristics and the RIP capability. Wasatch definitely has the high end covered on the RIP. The polyester plates are available in several thicknesses, & by going thicker with the plates stretch is not an issue. Registration is perfect also with the Epson printers.

My tests have shown excellent results for an investment of less than $100 with my used Epson 7600 Ultrachrome printer I picked up. Same imaging head resolution and Ultrachrome Pigment Inks (just not the K3 version). Technova specs on their website polijet.com states it is 4 color capable and runs of 10K or more. Most small to medium printers now average run is within that range.

Basically to sum it up, if you have a wide format printer that uses pigment ink (not dye ink versions) get you some sample plates from each manufacturer, download a RIP demo and test each manufacturers plates and form your own opinions. If you don't have a baking unit or laminator let the plates sit for 24-48 for testing purposes to let the plates dry thoroughly before doing your test runs. If your happy with the results then invest in the RIP and laminator or baking unit. Baking the plates is key with the pigment inks to make the system work.

Hope this give you some unbiased insight to inkjet CTP...
:D

If I'm doing mainly line work using illustrator cs3, would I still need a RIP with the JT plate setup? and mac pro os X?
 

discountprinting

Active member
This is an old thread but after reading some of the responses to my post I thought I should add to this. We transitioned to inkjet ctp after our laser ctp system went down a few years back. I currently have an Epson with the Ultrachrome K3 inks (vivid magenta). I currently use 3 different inkjet plates. The first is polyester (GenieJet), the second is the metal JT Direct (Mark Andy/Presstek/ABDick) and the third is a metal plate that I am not revealing the brand name of as I am testing. It is imaged directly on the plate then exposed to UV light then developed. The plate is positive acting with a photo emulsion and an inkjet receptive gelatin coating on top of that. The photo black ink blocks the UV light, then after exposure the gelatin is removed with water then the photo emulsion is removed with positive plate developer.

All 3 plates perform very well but each has different characteristics and pros and cons. I use the same Epson and same Rip (StudioRip) with all 3 plate systems. I run all the plates on 3 different offset presses in my shop and use all 3 to print high quality jobs including 4 color process at 150 lpi/1440 dpi and 175 lpi/2880 dpi. In my shop I run 4 color process to a calibrated gray balance. I produce extremely high quality process color from all 3 plates. The differences really come down to plate cost, prep time and run length. The GenieJet and JT Direct plates both must be wetted on startup with a sponge or cotton pad and water or fountain solution. Even if stopping for only a minute, otherwise the plates will ink up solid and need to be remade. I have no issued with stretch on the polyester plates and all 3 plates brands register near perfect under high powered loupes. The GenieJet and JT Direct do require baking after imaging on the Epson. The GenieJet has the shortest run length and lowest cost, the JT Direct is more expensive with twice the run length, and the UV positive plates require the most time prep (image, expose, wet wash, develop) but has the longest run length of 100,000+ impressions and I can gum and save this plate for future use. The UV positive plate also performs on press more like a traditional metal plate than the other two.

All 3 are full color capable with very good quality. Our customers rave over how good their prints look. We like having multiple options for plate making as this gives us flexibility in weighing the cost, production time and run length of the plates to match to the job we are running.
 

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