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Expert Guide 06•2002

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG

Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate


Contents Contents 1

2 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4

3 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.10

Printing’s More Popular than Ever Computer-to-Plate offers Key Competitive Advantages Competitive Advantage 1: Top Quality Competitive Advantage 2: Short Production Times Competitive Advantage 3: Competitive Production The Competitive Advantages at a Glance Essential for the Use of CtP: The Digital Workflow PostScript and PDF Job Tickets Preflight Redigitization Trapping Color Management Digital Proofing Digital Impositioning Archiving Output Workflow

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2

4

Computer-to-Plate Technology 4.1 UV Imaging of Conventional Offset Printing Plates 4.2 Laser Imaging with Visible Light 4.3 Thermal Imaging

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3 5 3 3 4 4

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Computer-to-Plate Printing Plates 5.1 CtP Printing Plates for Violet Laser Diodes (405 nm) 5.2 Thermal Printing Plates for Infra-Red Laser Diodes (830 nm) 5.3 Printing Plate Development

12 12 12 13

6 Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions 6.1 Heidelberg’s Workflow Solutions 6.1.1 MetaDimension 6.1.2 Delta Technology 6.1.3 Prinergy 6.1.4 MetaShooter 6.1.5 Heidelberg Screen Technologies 6.1.6 Redigitization with NewCopix 7000 6.1.7 SignaStation – Impositioning and More 6.1.8 Color Management 6.1.9 Digital Proof 6.1.10 PrepressInterface: The CIP4 Interface 6.1.11 Job Definition Format: The Next Step 6.2 Heidelberg’s Printing Plate Recorders 6.2.1 Complete Solution Packages for Every Market Segment 6.2.2 CtP with Polyester Printing Plates 6.2.3 CtP with Metal Printing Plates 6.2.4 The Prosetter Family 6.2.5 The Topsetter Family

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19 20 20 20 22

How Can I Find the Right CtP Solution?

25

Time Is Money: So Why Wait any Longer?

27

Checklist

28


2 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Printing’s More Popular than Ever

1 Printing’s More Popular than Ever Who can forget the vision of the ‘paperless office’ that captivated the trade press and unsettled many printers in the 1980s? A similar effect is currently being created by the alternative ‘electronic media’. But this doesn’t mean that the graphic arts industry should regard the future with uncertainty or with a doleful eye. Printing’s more popular than ever. Job structures have changed considerably, that’s for sure. The trend is towards more and more color and shorter and shorter job runs. As a result of this, and because of the increased deadline and cost pressures, modern presses need to be equipped with ever more printing units. This is the only way of cost-effectively producing print jobs in the short amount of time available and using preferably a single pass. Or to put it another way, a significantly higher number of printing plates need to be produced in the same amount of time.

The high demands on the print process are associated with tremendous demands at the prepress stage. Automation is the key. Increasingly similar production stages, which in the past had to be worked through one after the other in a very time-consuming process, can now be automated with workflow systems. These save time and eliminate sources of error. The digitization of all data and the integration of all processes into a single workflow makes this possible. But of course, the quality of the printed result should not suffer. Topquality offset printing is currently the most significant distinguishing asset for printshops. Despite increased competition, top quality should be readily available to everyone and must certainly not be the exclusive reserve of the industry giants. In this brochure, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg®) illustrates its solutions for various sizes of printshop and offers guidance for selecting and configuring a suitable Computerto-Plate (CtP) system. And because a functional workflow that is perfectly coordinated with the production stage is so important in CtP, this topic will be discussed at length.


Computer-to-Plate Offers Key Competitive Advantages Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate 3

2 Computer-to-Plate Offers Key Competitive Advantages Computer-to-Plate offers businesses in the graphic arts industry many advantages that are inherent in the process itself. It doesn’t actually matter which imaging technology or design of CtP recorder is used. The CtP workflow does away with a whole range of operations – for example, the need to image pages or page sections onto film (partly in-house, partly outsourced), manual assembly of these elements into print sheets, analog plate copying and separate register punching for plate loading in the press. This opens up a whole range of direct competitive advantages, which the user can turn into tangible results and use to give his company’s market profile a significant boost.

2.1 Competitive Advantage 1: Top Quality The screen dot on the CtP printing plate is composed of imaged pixels and is razor-sharp. This degree of quality cannot be achieved through copying. In extreme cases, dots may be copied several times and, even if the utmost care is applied, this can lead to unavoidable losses in detail. Instead, this is an original ‘first-generation dot’. No specks of dust or cut edges can impair the result. Bad copies are ruled out. Added to this is excellent register accuracy. The typical properties of digital thermal plates make imaging even more precise. Dot or no dot, black or white – there’s no difference. The results from silver halide plates with their high resolution and photopolymer plates with their extremely steep gradation curve are also impressive. And even frequency-modulated screens that previously only delivered good results under extremely stringent conditions can now be used with ease.

What’s more, because of the greater range of tonal values with enhanced detail in the light and shadow, this precision results in an immediate improvement in print quality. The dot gain on the press is significantly less – not least because of the ability to precisely calibrate each individual printing unit. Higher color densities are possible, with more brilliance. Summary: Because of the significantly improved accuracy made possible with digital printing plates, a higher, more consistent and more predictable standard of quality can be achieved. 2.2 Competitive Advantage 2: Short Production Times Through a rigorously-implemented, end-to-end digital workflow, production times can be significantly reduced in the prepress stage. And following on from the digital plate imaging stage, a whole raft of time and cost advantages can be gained in the production process.

Because each printing plate is of a very high standard of quality, manual plate correction that was previously routine is now no more. The transfer of digital press presets also makes the setup process significantly faster. So the job gets to color faster. And if a printing plate should be damaged during clamping, then another one can be output quickly in exactly the same high quality. Because the job can remain stored in the CtP recorder’s processing queue, this is also possible during the night shift if the prepress department isn’t fully manned. In many cases, the marketing advantage gained through the faster availability of the print result is a key to further orders and therefore to financial success. When print products such as reports, newsletters or newspapers depend on speed-to-market, this allows editorial deadlines to be pushed back as far as possible.


4 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Computer-to-Plate Offers Key Competitive Advantages

2.3 Competitive Advantage 3: Competitive Production To work out the savings that can made with CtP, the workflow and the prepress equipment need to be taken into account. When the manual sheet assembly process is substituted with a powerful workflow system with digital impositioning program, considerable savings can be made in terms of personnel costs and the costs involved with labor and materials. Outputting print-ready full sheets on a large-format filmsetter can make further savings. But end-to-end process automation will ultimately only be possible with the integration of digital plate imaging – in other words, when the prepress, press and postpress stages are combined into a fully integrated production line.

Sample analysis Utilization of the printing press Setup times of the printing press Cost per plate set Print jobs per year

CtP

CtF

83 %

80 %

25 min € 207 2,300

30 min € 215 2,100

10 percent additional press capacity = additional profit.

In the first instance, the costs of film and film developing will disappear. Added to this are the savings generated by no longer having to repeat poorlycopied printing plates. The higher quality of the printing plates and the digital press presettings also means that far less print waste is generated. As a result, the consumption of ink, dampening solution and paper falls noticeably. In the past, the production run was frequently delayed by last minute manual corrections to printing plates or printing plates that had to be remade. All this now belongs firmly in the past. The key factor for cost savings lies in the boost to overall productivity achieved by greater process automation. If it is possible to increase utilization levels of a state-of-the-art offset press equipped with a large number of printing units by just two or three percent, then this will have an enormous effect on the workplace costs, on profit contributions and on the company’s overall annual profits.

The Competitive Advantages at a Glance Advantage 1: Top quality

• Ultra-sharp dot through digital plate imaging instead of analog copy. • High register accuracy. • No specks of dust, cut edges or bad copies. • Easy-to-use, frequency-modulated screens. • Greater range of tonal values with enhanced light and shadow detail. • Minimal dot gain enables greater color density during printing.

Advantage 2: Short production times

• Shorter preparation times thanks to 100 % digital workflow. • No manual plate correction required. • Faster press setup thanks to digital presettings. • Faster to color = shorter coordination phase at print startup. • Problem-free post-imaging of printing plates. • Faster availability of the printed product means more up-to-date products.

Advantage 3: Competitive production

• Maximum cost savings in terms of staff, labor time and materials through the use of a digital workflow system. • Savings in terms of film and film developing. • Less waste reduces the consumption of ink, dampening solution and paper. • Elimination of idle press times caused by manual correction or remake of printing plates. • End-to-end process automation in prepress, press and postpress. • Increased utilization of presses and postpress facilities. CtP as a marketing argument.


Essential for the Use of CtP: The Digital Workflow Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate 5

3 Essential for the Use of CtP: The Digital Workflow Creating an end-to-end digital workflow is an essential requirement for using Computer-to-Plate. To do this, in addition to a raft of internal requirements – which will be briefly discussed below – a good working relationship and excellent communication with data suppliers is essential. Heidelberg’s solutions for the integrated digital workflow, including CtP, are described in detail in the section entitled ‘Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions’. 3.1 PostScript and PDF Until recently, most postpress service providers or printshops received files that had been generated from application programs. This was however always associated with a number of risks, since missing high-resolution data for images, differences in the fonts used or incompatibilities between the program versions often made further processing impossible. PostScript® data, with its device-specific commands, was very often responsible for a job going wrong. What’s more, PostScript files are extremely large, leading to long transfer times for digital data transfer.

A new industry standard, established and approved by standards committees as an international norm for the exchange of advertisements and print pages, provided the much sought-after solution – namely, the Portable Document Format (PDF) from Adobe® Systems. Version 1.3 of PDF and later contains all the key information required for prepress production and has developed over recent years to become the universal standard for exchanging pages for print production. This standardization offers greater security for everyone involved. PDF is therefore the ideal basis for state-of-theart workflow systems aimed at automating the output process. It is important to note that anyone can generate PDF files with ease. Data created in any layout or graphics program can be output as PostScript files and converted into a PDF file using Acrobat® Distiller. A few application programs allow data to be exported directly as PDF files.

TXT

Text

Graphics

Images

Layout

Layout

Layout

PostScript

PDF

PostScript

PDF

PDF

PostScript

EPS

Computer-to-Plate

QuarkXPress


6 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Essential for the Use of CtP: The Digital Workflow

A job ticket can be embedded in a PDF file or saved as a separate file.

3.2 Job Tickets A PDF, unlike a PostScript file, cannot contain device control commands. For this reason, Adobe had to develop a new method for PDF which allowed control information to be stored in such a way that it had nothing to do with the actual page content. And so the Portable Job Ticket Format (PJTF) was born. Separating page content and processing instructions leads to greater flexibility in production. In the event of any subsequent changes, the individual data elements no longer have to be opened in the original application in order to adapt them to the new conditions (e.g. different values for dot gain, screen ruling, traps). Instead, only the information in the job ticket is changed.

The following information can be stored in a portable job ticket: • Instructions for page processing (e.g. imposition layout, trapping rules). • Output parameters (e.g. screen ruling, screen angle, resolution). • Material (e.g. designation, size, weight, color). • CIP4 information (presettings and instructions for presses and finishing equipment). • Supply data (addresses, number of items). • Planning (e.g. deadlines). • Administration (e.g. customer, customer or order number, operator). 3.3 Preflight To verify supplied files, ‘preflight’ programs must be used which check the transferred PDF files against an agreed checklist. This enables data to be ‘repaired’, according to rules set down in advance by the user (e.g. embed fonts, increase hairlines). The following criteria are crucial when PDF files are being preflighted:

• • • • • • • • •

PDF version. Data format (binary or ASCII). Reliability (printing/editing). Font embedding (all/subgroups/ none). Font types (Type1, Type 3, Truetype, multiple master). Color models (CMYK, RGB, Lab). Special colors. Image resolution (color, grayscale, linework images). Image rotation/scaling.

3.4 Redigitization The best of both worlds – the advantage of a PDF-based workflow system also lies in the fact that it is possible to move gradually to a PDF-based workflow. This isn’t the case with CtP output, however. Digital plate imaging requires 100% digital data right from the start. But what happens with the archived films? And what if an original is supplied as a finished separation on film, perhaps not even in the right resolution? One-stop scanning and redigitization saves expensive investments in special equipment.


Essential for the Use of CtP: The Digital Workflow Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate 7

Of course, it is possible to run a twintrack system for a certain period of time, i.e. outputting one order as a full sheet on film while outputting another directly on the CtP recorder. A good number of printshops are already using this approach to respond to market needs. The advantages of an integrated process chain can however only be harnessed with complete digitization. As a result, the scanners in many printshops are equipped with an add-on function for redigitizing existing or supplied films. From a technical perspective, redigitization is possible in excellent quality. Because of the additional workflow stages, however, this is not really a long-term solution. Ideally, orders should be received as PDF files. 3.5 Trapping Trapping is a process in which color elements are slightly enlarged and positioned over other elements. This is aimed at preventing white spots or flashes from occurring in the event of a registration difference within the press.

Trapping should be delayed until just before the imaging stage. This way, the printer knows for definite which print process and which trapping rules are required. As a result, the right trappings can be generated for each print process using the same master data.

Interactive and object oriented trapping with Supertrap.

3.6 Color Management The production processes in the prepress and press stages must be closely coordinated with each other. Heidelberg’s open workflow systems and the use of ICC profiles fully meet the challenge of ensuring high levels of color fidelity. ICC stands for ‘International Color Consortium’, a group of numerous leading hardware and software manufacturers, which includes Heidelberg, who are striving towards the development of a non-proprietary standard for exchanging color information. In the open workflow, ICC profiles are responsible for mutual color coordination using conversions that take place automatically in the background – a process known as the Color Matching Method (CMM). 3.7 Digital Proofing Proofing is without doubt one of the most important stages in a digital workflow. Because CtP does not use films from which analog proofs could be created, digital proofs are used instead. In order to find a process that satisfied both the customer and the printshop, countless samples and much discussion were required. This isn’t exactly easy, but even the introduction of the Chromalin or MatchPrint systems, which have been accepted as standard for decades, had its problems.

y

XYZ EuroOffset Monitor Slide

0.8

0.7

0.6

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0.2

0.1

0.0 0.0

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x

Units can display all colors that are within their color space.

The development of inexpensive units for printing out continuous-tone proofs and devices for generating true halftone proofs has since come a long way. Provided that the Color Management principle is applied correctly, excellent agreement can be achieved with the print result. The proofer’s output performance and that of the downstream press are simulated exactly using the properties of the paper used in the production run.


8 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Essential for the Use of CtP: The Digital Workflow

• Halftone proof for checking the color ‘feel’, including screen structures and effects using systems with color films and thermal transfer. • Impositioning or sheet proof as a simple plotter printout or as a truecolor contract proof on large-format inkjet printers. A number of printshops are currently offering their key customers digital proofing equipment, so as to achieve fast color coordination at an early stage.

Impositioning is one of the first stages in the production of printed goods.

The digital proof is the key to quality assurance in the CtP workflow.

Nobody should be without the ‘blueprint’, even in the digital workflow. Provided a large-format plotter is available for the sheet proof, complete print sheets with all printing, folding and cutting marks can be output once more as a final check – possibly even including perfecting – before the digital printing plates are imaged.

3.8 Digital Impositioning The PDF data format is ideal for imposing anything from single pages to entire print sheets. Object-oriented data storage enables PDF documents to be separated into single pages and individual PDF pages to be put back together in any order to form a single file. All the associated resources (e.g. fonts, illustrations) are delivered with each page. During PDF impositioning, entire pages are assembled into PDF sheets directly via an intermediate format. These sheets can then be checked on the screen and sent for outputting.

The following variations of the digital proof are available within the digital workflow: • On-screen soft proof (use as a singlepage proof or for the entire print sheet; also as a ‘remote proof ’ at the customer’s). • Color proof as a true-color page proof up to A3+ format on inkjet or thermal sublimation printers.


Essential for the Use of CtP: The Digital Workflow Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate 9

3.9 Archiving The most commonly used archiving medium in the printing industry until now has been imaged film. But when data is processed digitally, this film has to be replaced with other tools and media. A distinction needs to be made between short-term storage/backup during the production process and longterm archiving. In the first case, the data is mostly stored on large hard disks. Long-term storage involves media such as CD-ROMs or magnetic tapes.

When a decision is being taken for a specific archiving system and the calculations for the storage space required for the entry-level stage are being made, a decision also needs to be taken regarding whether the data involved in the individual print jobs is to be returned to the customer after production or whether it is to be archived as an additional service provided by the services department or in the printshop.

3.10 Output Workflow The implementation of an integrated complete process chain naturally doesn’t end – as shown in the example – with digital imaging of the printing plates. It starts with new, improved organizational structures in the customer’s workflow and within the company’s workflows, and continues with order planning, the output workflow in the prepress stage and data archiving. Then comes the data transfer for the press presettings and finishing. Last

OPI

ColorConvertor

Trapping

Rendering

Imposition

Form Proof

Rendering

Imagesetter

but not least, it can be extended to complete order management with costing, invoicing and distribution logistics for the finished print product. The goal is to regard printing as an industrial process instead of seeing each stage as a manual operation that is a goal in itself.

Page Proof


10 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Computer-to-Plate Technology

4 Computer-to-Plate Technology

Thermal imaging (infra-red)

4.2 Laser Imaging with Visible Light In the early years of CtP, expensive lasers had to be used for imaging the plates that were around at the time. These lasers emitted light in the blue and green ranges of the spectrum. Gradually, the use of significantly cheaper laser diodes took hold. In addition to the red light diodes which operate in the 633 – 670 nm range and are used primarily for smallformat, flatbed CtP recorders, very

.

...

...

...

.. ...

. ...

Laser imaging with visible light

4.1 UV Imaging of Conventional Offset Printing Plates At the moment, there is only one system on the market for digitally imaging conventional printing plates. This system uses the light from a UV lamp which travels via a lens and micro-mirror chip, as used in video projectors, for example, and is then directed onto the printing plate. With each imaging pass, partial images are projected onto a flat, fixed plate, as with a copying frame. As the imaging head travels back and forth, the partial images are built up to form an overall image. The process requires a lot of technological input. For the user, however, the advantage lies in the ability to image conventional offset printing plates cheaply.

.............. ... .

UV imaging

But these teething problems have long since been overcome. CtP has since become firmly established in all industrialized countries, and is used in many thousands of installations. ‘Early adapters’, the first users, have now already switched to the workflow and output systems of the latest generation. The installed CtP recorders can be categorized, depending on their design, into internal drum, external drum or flatbed devices. Today, the difference is better determined by the imaging technology, which we also use as a means of categorization.

..... ...

The first CtP solutions were already being unveiled at the end of the 80s, and by drupa 1990, they were the focus of tremendous interest. Even in the early 90s, investments in a CtP system provided scope for better market positioning and enabled a company to set itself apart from the majority of competitors. It should however not be forgotten that the first users still had to struggle with a number of uncertainties. It wasn’t just the equipment and imaging techniques that were new – the CtP printing plates, their chemicals and the right developing equipment were also totally new.

Functional principle of an internal drum imagesetter.

inexpensive violet light diodes have been causing great excitement since drupa 2000. These diodes operate in the 400 – 410 nm range and deliver an initial output of 5 mW. Highly-sensitive silver halide plates are available for these, and they can be imaged with an imaging energy of just 26 mJ/m2. Digital photopolymer printing plates have been announced that require a laser diode with six times more output power (30 mW) for imaging. For most of these CtP recorders, the plate is secured in an internal drum via a vacuum during the imaging process. Digital imaging generally takes place using a single beam shone over a mirror or polygon that rotates at very high speed. This reliable, proven imaging technology has been tried and tested in film imagesetters. Plate handling


Computer-to-Plate Technology Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate 11

............... .... ........... .... .................................. .... . ........... .. .

....... .. ............

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Functional principle of an external drum imagesetter.

is relatively easy, and the manufacturing costs for CtP recorders are favorable, thanks to the use of inexpensive violet light diodes. A few CtP recorders with violet light laser diodes also use a rotating mirror or polygon, but instead of an internal drum, they use a flatbed construction. The disadvantage of this type of construction is the long distance from the center to the plate edge, which can only be optically compensated within a limited plate format. This leads to less quality.

4.3 Thermal Imaging During thermal imaging, high amounts of energy are used to effect a physical change on the surface of digital thermal plates. Depending on the plate type, this can be a primary cross-linking or the dissolution of existing polymer crosslinking in the aluminum plate coating. The soluble or dissolved components are then washed off in the subsequent development process. Thermal CtP recorders are generally external drum imagesetters, where the digital printing plate is clamped onto a rotating external drum – although this can also be a press’s plate cylinder. Depending on the system, the imaging process uses a multi-beam technique with a large number of laser diodes that emit in the 830 nm range of the spectrum. A range of components such as the imaging head, the plate clamps, the punch and equipment for compensating imbalance require greater attention on these recorders than on internal drum imagesetters. The main advantage of thermal technology lies in the fact that thermal printing plates make almost exclusive use of binary principles. In contrast to ‘lithographic’ plates, an image is only generated once a specific heat threshold is reached. This facilitates razor-sharp dot formation.

Some of the thermal CtP recorders available on the market also use the internal drum principle. Similar to CtP systems which use light-sensitive plates, the imaging process uses a single beam shone onto a fast-spinning mirror or polygon. Because of the longer light path from the mirror to the plate surface, intricate high-power lasers with a wavelength of 1064 nm must be used. Further design principles for thermal CtP recorders include an internal drum with a diode imaging system in an internal ‘imaging drum’ or a flatbed imagesetter principle.

CtP thermal recorders, especially those with an external drum design, have established themselves well on the market and have won a market share of more than 50%. And since drupa 2000, there has been the new trend towards CtP systems with violet laser diodes. This trend is based on the systems’ low price, coupled with high plate productivity and excellent quality. Heidelberg offers a complete range of CtP recorders that use both imaging technologies. The section entitled ‘Heidelberg’s Printing Plate Recorders’ describes their advantages and differences.

Dot formation with thermal imaging – heat threshold value principle.

heat threshold

No dot formation below heat threshold.

Dot formation by reaching the heat threshold.

No change of the dot above the heat threshold.


12 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Computer-to-Plate Printing Plates

5 Computer-to-Plate Printing Plates 5.1 CtP Printing Plates for Violet Laser Diodes (405 nm) Violet recorders work using light-sensitive plates based either on silver halides or photopolymers. Both plate types have been around for many years, and their use has been proven in practice with imaging systems that work in the visible light range (between 488 nm (blue light) and 670 nm (red light) ). The latest development is further sensitization to violet light with a wavelength of 400 – 410 nm. The extreme sensitivity and high resolution of silver halide plates are retained, as are the durability and job-run stability of photopolymer plates. There are currently two silver halide digital printing plates available for imaging with violet laser diodes (output power 5 mW). These are the Agfa Lithostar Ultra-V and the Mitsubishi Paper Mills SDP-Alpha V. They provide advantages of extremely high sensitivity and a very low-cost laser light but use more chemistry than conventional processes. However, all manufacturers are developing products with the aim of significantly reducing consumption levels.

Anti-stress layer

Aluminium

Emulsion layer

Barrier layer Receiving nuclei

a post-baking process can be used. The maximum achievable resolution for photopolymer plates is somewhat lower than for silver halide plates. Silver halide plates belong to the class of positive plates, i.e. the imaging takes place on the non-printing part of the plate. Photopolymer plates, on the other hand, are negative printing – i.e. only the printing parts are imaged.

5.2 Thermal Printing Plates for Infra-Red Laser Diodes (830 nm) For thermal plates too, a distinction is made between negative and positive processes, the appropriate switchover being effected simply by the digital printing plate’s definition and by the RIP. For negative processes, polymers are cross-linked during the imaging of the image parts to be printed. This takes place when the laser beam energy exceeds

Agfa Lithostar Ultra-V. Structure of the silver halide plate’s coating for imaging with a 5 mW violet laser diode. Speedmaster 74 DI

Silver plates enable high job runs of up to 350,000 prints. Further postbaking to increase the size of the job run is not possible. UV inks greatly reduce the run length and are not recommended with the silver based plates. The new violet-sensitive photopolymer plates from Mitsubishi Chemical (Western Lithotech) and Fujifilm, however, promise to remedy this. These plate types require just one laser diode with a higher output power of 30 mW. The job run size for photopolymer plates is a maximum of 200,000 prints. To increase the job run size and to use UV inks,


Computer-to-Plate Printing Plates Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate 13

a certain threshold. This primary crosslinking must then be reinforced via additional preheating of the entire plate before the non-cross-linked polymers are dissolved in an alkaline development process and the hydrophilic aluminum is exposed (e.g. Kodak Polychrome Graphics DITP 830, Fujifilm Brillia LH-NI). In the case of thermal printing plates using the positive process, the polymer cross-linking of the non-printing parts is destroyed by the laser’s high energy. The polymers which have already been dissolved are then removed in the alkaline development process. The advantage of this is that no further preheating is required (e.g. Agfa Thermostar P970, Kodak Polychrome Graphics Electra 830). Most thermal plates can be postbaked after development. Post-baking provides longer run lengths, with some plates producing jobs with more than a million impressions. This post-bake option also makes them ideal for use with UV inks.

For many years, ‘processless’ thermal printing plates have been on display at trade shows. In the printing areas of these plates, either covering layers are dissolved or parts of the coating are burned off. The dissolved parts of the covering layers are then either washed off or removed via the dampening rollers in the press. Burned-off particles are suctioned off in the imagesetter. In the future, it may be possible to switch the processes from non-printing to printing by means of phase-changing ‘switchable’ polymers. With only a few exceptions, most of these plates intended for use with CtP recorders are still in the development stage and are years away from commercialization. Processless plates for imaging directly in the press (e.g. Heidelberg’s Speedmaster ™ 74 DI) in CtP applications are already available, however, and are being used successfully. Digital imaging of printing plates for waterless offset printing is, however, still only possible using thermal technology.

5.3 Printing Plate Development The development of all of the printing plates mentioned above also requires a processor specifically configured for the plate and the use of special chemicals. For an automated processing line, a conveyor is required between the CtP recorder and the online processor, and a plate delivery table or stacker must be provided at the end of the processing chain. Developers for digital printing plates are also available specifically for smaller plate formats. This is definitely advantageous for printing in small to medium formats, or where space restrictions mean that large equipment cannot be installed. With thermal plates and photopolymer plates for imaging with violet laser diodes, alkaline positive and negative development is used. Silver halide plates, on the other hand, require a special development process which includes development, a subsequent diffusion process, washing off and finishing. The final stage involves the plates being gummed to prevent oxidation for a few days. Processors for positive thermal plates often also facilitate the development of conventional positive plates that use the same chemicals. In any case, however,

The processor Raptor from Glunz & Jensen.

the plate supplier’s technical services department or expert advisors should be consulted for a full explanation. Development processors for digital printing plates, add-on equipment such as stackers and tables for plate delivery and post-baking ovens, along with the relevant developing chemicals, are available from printing plate manufacturers and suppliers, and are delivered via their specialist dealers. There are also a number of ‘independent’ suppliers (e.g. Glunz & Jensen, Denmark) who also supply equipment for plate development.


14 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions

6 Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions Heidelberg has developed integrated solution concepts for introducing Computer-to-Plate in all sizes of company and for all tasks in both violet and thermal technology. Heidelberg’s solutions offer much more than just the digital imaging of printing plates. They involve the entire workflow – including the transfer

What counts is access to data at every work phase and from all locations.

of data, its processing and preparation into print sheets, the output of digitallyimaged printing plates and the transfer of data for presetting press and finishing equipment. This means that they already form a key component of any end-to-end print media workflow of tomorrow.

6.1 Heidelberg’s workflow solutions Operating complex workflows quickly, reliably and smoothly is essential for ensuring the best possible flow for a CtP production process. The three workflow systems outlined below are all able to meet this challenge head-on. They are scaleable, thus representing solution concepts for even the most diverse demands in terms of productivity, levels of automation and universal access to production data. A number of highly important options and add-ons for CtP output are discussed below and a brief description provided of each. 6.1.1 MetaDimension MetaDimension™ provides the ideal gateway solution to a perfect PDF scenario with all the benefits of job ticket processing. The modularity of this PDF RIP and PDF workflow means that it suits any volume of jobs and any budget – without any reduction in functionality. This gateway can be opened by using MetaDimension as a PDF RIP. This way, the functions of PDF are incorporated in the existing prepress workflows. MetaDimension is completely modular. It can be added to at any time with

InRIP Trapping, InRIP OPI, InRIP page positioning or InRIP Color Management. If the functions provided by all these InRIP modules still aren’t enough, specialist software from Heidelberg or other software manufacturers can be integrated as an Acrobat plug-in. Of course, SignaStation® can also be integrated into the workflow in order to harness the benefits of the Print Production Format (PPF) and to transfer information, e.g. on the ink zone presettings, to the press, or on folding and cutting to the finishing stage. In just the same way, MetaDimension can be integrated into an existing Delta™ Technology workflow – a combination that delivers the benefits of the screenbased high-performance workflow with the flexibility of the PDF-based workflow. Data from Prinergy can also be processed. The ability to import 1-bit TIFF files also means that MetaDimension can be used in virtually any workflow.


Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate 15

SignaStation

Computer-to-Film

Layoutstation Mac/PC

Printing Press

MetaDimension

Computer-to-Plate

Prinergy

Color Proof

Delta Technology

Form Proof

TIFF Import

TIFF Export


16 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions

6.1.2 Delta Technology Two key properties set Delta Technology apart from all other PostScript systems: Delta Lists and the R.O.O.M. concept (RIP Once, Output Many). PostScript files are first interpreted (ripped) and then stored in an overlay-free, page-independent interim format known as a Delta List. The R.O.O.M. concept – the chronological and spatial separation of the interpretation and screening processes – enables data to be output on various output devices without any need for repeat ripping. Delta Technology’s universal concept is reflected in the diversity of the available Delta options for input, output and processing. Delta Technology can process PostScript, PDF and TIFF/IT-P1 files, and with the Delta CEPS-Input option can also process pages from the traditional repro sector. The Delta Imagemanager not only supports OPI services in their native format, but also includes images whose layout files have been generated using Helios OPI and ColorCentral. Further options support preflight checks, trapping, proofing, impositioning in conjunction with SignaStation and the generation and transfer of data in the CIP4-PPF standard for press and postpress presettings.

Maximum productivity, more flexibility and reliability in the workflow.

Delta Autoflow enables PDF documents to be processed automatically using the job ticket instructions executed in Prinergy. Delta Flow provides the link to MetaDimension. The biggest advantage of this combination is that the strengths of both systems can be harnessed. This is particularly interesting given that there are more than 8,000 existing Delta Technology installations currently providing a basis for CtP.

6.1.3 Prinergy Prinergy is a complete PDF workflow system for the high-performance sector that automates every single step of the prepress stage. Prinergy is open for all popular standard formats and is based on Adobe PostScript Extreme, with its PDF 1.3 components and Adobe Portable Job Tickets. Every stage of the workflow is completed in the compact PDF data format. Prinergy is open and accepts standard data formats such as PostScript, PDF, DCS or EPS. One unique feature is the fact that workflow stages are combined into process plans which are then executed automatically in job ticket processors. Prinergy outputs proofs, films or plates dynamically in the following stages: 1. Refining Data optimization (preflight check), normalization to PDF, color management, trapping, thumbnail generation. 2. Impositioning Job tickets, generated by Heidelberg’s SignaStation, assign the PDF pages automatically to an impositioning layout. This can be done either just-in-time or immediately before output. 3. Proofing Soft proof on the monitor, digital proof, form proof.

4. Output Either via the Prinergy primary server, a special rendering workstation, Delta Technology or MetaDimension. On the fly, the renderer converts the PDF pages and job tickets into a bitmap for the recorder. 5. Forwarding The CIP4 data created in the workflow is sent in its entirety to the press and finishing stage. All processing records and the data are archived. The Prinergy database provides transparency for the progress of the individual workflow stages and analyzes all records using business management criteria. What counts is access to data in every work phase and from all locations. This ensures better communication and thus balanced and optimum utilization of the prepress, press and postpress stages.


Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate 17

6.1.4 MetaShooter Heidelberg’s CtP recorders are connected to third-party manufacturers’ workflow systems via MetaShooter ™. MetaShooter processes the imaging information it receives in TIFF-B data format and forwards it to the recorder. Of course, MetaShooter can also be integrated into Heidelberg workflow systems. One advantage of this is that the CtP recorder can be set up separately from the prepress department. This saves time, since the plates can be output in the immediate proximity of the press. MetaShooter also facilitates the chronological separation of data screening/interpretation and plate imaging. The screened data is saved in TIFF-B format and can be called up at any later point in time. This is also advantageous if individual plates or an entire job needs to be reproduced.

6.1.5 Heidelberg Screen Technologies Choosing the right screen system is crucial for the quality of a print product. Heidelberg has developed the best, world-renowned screen technologies and makes them available in every single Heidelberg workflow system: • HQS Screening ® (High Quality Screening). • I.S. (Irrational Screening). • Diamond Screening ® (Frequencymodulated Screening). • Megadot ™ and Megadot Plus. For a more detailed description with print examples, refer to Heidelberg’s special technical volume entitled ‘An Introduction to Screening Technology’. 6.1.6 Redigitization with NewCopix 7000 The new software NewCopix ™ 7000 from Heidelberg, when used in conjunction with the Nexscan® and Primescan™ scanner families, offers a simple, highquality redigitization function. Color separation films or printed originals can be scanned using NewCopix 7000 and converted into a digital data set. With NewCopix 7000, Heidelberg scanners become multi-talented machines. For most printshops, this solution is more cost-effective than investing in expensive Copydot special scanners.

6.1.7 SignaStation – Impositioning and More The SignaStation is Heidelberg’s solution for digital impositioning and is therefore essential for end-to-end, digital production. It prepares the entire print sheet digitally for print-ready output on filmsetters or CtP recorders. Its strengths include full visual controls, maximum flexibility and maximum automation, plus the option of being able to intervene manually at any time.

Impositioned print sheets with all marks and print control strips ready for output.

One of SignaStation’s key functions is its support for the Print Production Format (PPF). SignaStation bundles all the information required in the following stages of the processing chain – such as the job name, sheet number, ink coverage information, location of the positioned autoregister and color control marks, plus cutting, folding and collating information – into the Print Production Format, thus enabling it to be used on any system for printing and finishing.


18 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions

6.1.8 Color Management Three coordinated software solutions from Heidelberg provide end-to-end, professional color coordination in an open workflow for every stage of the workflow right through to print: Software

Function

ScanOpen

Software for generating ICC input profiles. Characterization for all types of input devices, e.g. flatbed and drum scanners. Software for generating ICC monitor profiles. Characterization of color monitors. Software for generating ICC output profiles. Characterization of RGB and CMYK output units e.g. color printers, color copiers, proofers, presses.

ViewOpen

PrintOpen

The ICC profiles are generated just once and can then be assigned freely. If parameters change, they must be updated in order to ensure the best possible adaptation to changed scan originals, monitors and print parameters.

6.1.9 Digital Proof All Heidelberg workflow systems feature the ability to link up to other manufacturers’ digital proofers via the Heidelberg Color Management system. This uses ICC profiles to adapt to the relevant print process and the true-color output. Prinergy makes proofing particularly productive, since color management is carried out during the refining process. In addition to simulating the print result for page and form proofers, it also con-

verts to the output device’s color space. Special colors can be either converted into process colors or kept as special colors. After the PDF pages have been assigned to an impositioning layout, a soft proof can be output on the monitor, a printout made of single pages on a color proofer or a printout made of the entire print sheets on a form proofer – all automatically and depending on the process plan options.

PrintOpen for generating ICC output profiles.

With MetaDimension too, provided it is equipped with the right options, the proofing process is totally user-friendly. In addition to the on-screen soft proof, the job can be output at any time on a connected color proofer or as a form proof, on e.g. HP DesignJet plotters. Proofing also has a major role in the Delta Technology workflow, which is based on Delta Lists. In addition to WYSIWYG display on the monitor, the print manager can be used at any time – automatically too, if required – to output a true-color, high-quality proof on any proofer in the network. With the Delta ProofOpen option, high-resolution Delta Lists are converted to the appropriate proofing resolution.


Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate 19

6.1.10 PrepressInterface: The CIP4 Interface Frequent job changes are the order of the day everywhere nowadays. Even stateof-the-art printshops with big eight and ten-color presses are processing smaller and smaller jobs. The resulting demands from printshops for shorter setup and run times, higher quality and improved workflows are met head-on by Heidelberg’s modular Prinect ™ system. PrepressInterface is the Prinect interface that links the prepress, press and postpress stages. To use this software, a workflow component is required that generates CIP4 data in the standardized Print Production Format (PPF). Which is exactly what the SignaStation does.

6.1.11 Job Definition Format: The Next Step Heidelberg bases much of its work on the Job Definition Format (JDF). JDF integrates the functions of the Adobe Portable Job Ticket and the Print Production Format. What’s more, JDF contains numerous functions for managing, processing and checking print jobs. Information on everything from the job capture and print job execution to delivery of the finished print can be recorded in this format. The Job Definition Format is becoming the world standard for the entire print process chain. 6.2 Heidelberg’s Printing Plate Recorders Heidelberg develops one-stop, futureoriented solutions for the entire printing and publishing industry that cover every section of the prepress, press and postpress chain and link these using comprehensive solutions. In this sense, all Heidelberg’s CtP solutions represent end-to-end, fully-integrated solutions that are aimed at ensuring top-quality offset printing. From the digital workflow to printing and finishing, every component works in harmony with the others.

6.2.1 Complete Solution Packages for Every Market Segment Different market segments have very different needs. But whatever these needs are – be they fast, flexible and cost-effective processing of polyester printing plates in small offset, high system throughput for medium-sized job runs in the 70 ! 100 sector, or printing plates that can be post-baked for rough printing materials, UV inks and long job runs – Heidelberg has special

solution packages for every requirement. All of these solution packages feature the following: • Digitization and automation of the printing plate production process. • Shorter setup times and a more reliable, automated flow of data. • Time savings through fewer workflow stages. • Protects the environment thanks to reduced material consumption. • Harnesses costs benefits in the prepress and press stages.

Quicksetter 46 and Printmaster QM 46 – the perfect team for polyester plate imaging.


20 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions

6.2.2 CtP with Polyester Printing Plates Computer-to-Polyester plate is an inexpensive alternative that is mainly of interest to small printshops and quick printers. Digital imaging of polyester printing plates is possible on all Heidelberg imagesetters, e.g. on the Quicksetter ™ and Primesetter ™ family. Because of the lower dimensional stability of polyester plates compared to metal ones, four-color printing should be restricted to the medium-format sector. It is also possible to produce single-color prints and prints with registration-tolerant spot colors in the 70 ! 100 format range when using 0.30 mm-thick polyester plates. And for all format ranges, a maximum job run of 20,000 prints is recommended.

6.2.3 CtP with Metal Printing Plates Because of the differing needs in the various market segments, Heidelberg has developed two entire CtP recorder families for digital imaging of metal printing plates. • The Prosetter ™ recorder family for violet plates. • The Topsetter ™ recorder family for thermal plates. The user therefore has every option he needs to configure his workflow and the digital plate imaging process with its associated printing plates and level of automation to suit. 6.2.4 The Prosetter Family The Prosetter recorder family is Heidelberg’s answer to the trend towards inexpensive CtP recorders and the use of violet laser diodes. Low investment costs and inexpensive running and maintenance costs make the crossover to CtP technology possible for everyone – without any compromises in terms of quality or performance. The compact construction with its small footprint also helps minimize the costs of providing sufficient space.

The highly-flexible format range of the individual Prosetter models covers the plate formats for all Heidelberg sheetfed offset presses and the majority of other manufacturers’ sheetfed offset presses:

Prosetter Prosetter 52

Printing press

Printmaster QM 46 to Speedmaster SM 52 Prosetter 74/F 74 Printmaster QM 46 to Speedmaster SM/CD 74 Prosetter Printmaster GTO 52 to 102/F 102 Speedmaster SM/CD 102


Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate 21

The Prosetter series uses internal drum technology with a high-quality imaging system that has been tried and tested in the field of imagesetter construction and was developed for imaging metal plates. A deflecting prism, which is very small due to the violet laser beam’s short wavelength, is rotated at high speed by a spinning motor and thus facilitates a high output power. A 5 mW laser diode is used as a light source, and this generates light in the visible violet range of 405 nm. This enables highly-sensitive silver halide printing plates with a very high resolution to be imaged in outstanding quality. For the far less sensitive violet photopolymer printing plates, a more powerful 30 mW diode is required to maintain the same rate of plate throughput. This diode can be retrofitted to all the Prosetters currently in use by using a conversion kit. Because of their high sensitivity, both types of plates are processed in pleasantly bright, daylight conditions with a yellow safe light. There is no need for a darkroom.

The Prosetter’s plate loading guidance system is extremely simple and user friendly. The plate simply has to be placed on the loading table and is then automatically drawn in, centered, imaged, punched (if required) and ejected. The Prosetter offers a high productivity in the standard models. The Fast versions of the Prosetter 74 and 102 provide an even greater level of productivity. The single cassette loader makes the Prosetter fully automatic and it can also work in daylight environments. The single cassette loader can hold 100 printing plates. After imaging, the plate is transferred online via a conveyor to the processor. If required, all models in the Prosetter series can be equipped with a punching system with up to four punch modules for Heidelberg presses and other manufacturers’ presses. The customer can configure these himself. The Prosetter’s integrated temperature compensation provides added precision. This ensures maximum register accuracy – especially for plate repeats.

Integrated punching systems ensure maximum register accuracy.

Why Temperature Compensation? Printing plates made from aluminum are sensitive to the fluctuations in temperature that occur during normal daily operation, or to temperature changes during the imaging process. For a 0.30 mm-thick printing plate with an edge length of one meter, the printing plate increases in size by 0.13 mm for each 5°C rise in temperature. A temperature compensation system avoids registration errors caused by temperature fluctuations. To do this, the temperatures inside the recorder are measured precisely and the imaging part of the printing plate automatically adjusted if a change in temperature occurs. Consistent, precise imaging with total register accuracy – even for trapped image elements – can therefore be ensured. This function is especially important if e.g. a single plate has to be repeated from a four-color set due to mechanical damage.


22 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions Topsetter delivers perfectly punched plates for every press.

6.2.5 The Topsetter Family Heidelberg’s flagship for maximum CtP production is the Topsetter range. It delivers top performance in terms of quality and speed. The two models, the Topsetter P 74 for the 50 ! 70 format class and Topsetter P 102 and Topsetter PF 102 for the 70 ! 100 format class, are perfectly matched to the following Heidelberg presses: Topsetter

Printing press

Topsetter P 74

Printmaster QM 46 to Speedmaster SM/CD 74 Printmaster GTO 52 to Speedmaster SM/CD 102

Topsetter P 102/PF 102

The Topsetter P and PF 102 models are also suitable for large-format sheetfed offset presses up to a plate format of 1160 ! 940 mm. The external drum construction, combined with high-precision 32-channel laser head (Topsetter P 74, Topsetter P 102), delivers excellent imaging quality. The Topsetter PF 102 model features a 64-channel laser head for maximum performance. The optical system on all models is also extremely easy and inexpensive to maintain, since the laser diodes can be exchanged individually. The Topsetter range also has the speed to match. With up to 20 printing plates per hour in 1030 ! 790 mm format at a resolution of 2540 dpi, the Topsetter PF 102 meets even the toughest produc-

tion demands and is also perfectly coordinated with the high-performance Speedmaster SM 102 press. All popular 830 nm sensitive thermal plates currently available from wellknown printing plate manufacturers can be imaged. The thermal plates are processed in daylight conditions. All Topsetter models can optionally be equipped with an automated punching system for Heidelberg presses and other press manufacturers. Up to three punching systems can be installed in parallel. This ensures absolute register accuracy. Setup times are also shortened and waste cut. All models in the Topsetter family can be expanded modularly from the basic model supporting semi-automatic

operation to a fully-automatic system with multiple cassettes. They can be customized perfectly to the user’s requirements. And every Topsetter can be upgraded at the customer’s premises to meet changes in demands at a later date.


Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate 23


24 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Heidelberg’s CtP Solutions

Semi-automatic mode The plates are loaded and unloaded manually using separate loading and unloading tables. While one plate is being imaged, the next plate can be loaded – thus saving time. The plates can also be punched automatically (optional).

Semi-automatic mode with online processor The plate that has been loaded manually is taken onto the drum automatically, and after imaging is transferred to the connected online processor. The plates can also be punched automatically.

Automatic mode with one cassette The printing plates are loaded automatically from a cassette that can hold 100 same format plates. The interleaf paper is removed as part of this process. The punched and imaged plates are fed automatically to the online processor. If a job needs to be done quickly but has a different plate format, manual bypass mode is possible.

Automatic mode with multiple cassettes The printing plates can be loaded automatically from three, four or five cassettes, each of which can hold 100 sameformat plates. This means that a total of 500 plates are available online in five different formats.


How Can I Find the Right CtP Solution? Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate 25

7 How Can I Find the Right CtP Solution? First of all finding an optimum solution for each user and his highly-specialized needs must take precedence over any technology discussions. Heidelberg’s Prosetter and Topsetter families offer both violet and thermal imaging. So the first task is to weigh carefully where the focus for the system’s use will lie, and what decision criteria, if any, would justify the crossover into a more expensive investment class. A potential buyer can use the following criteria to help him make the right decision for his company’s needs:

• Job run length The silver halide plates available for violet technology cannot be postbaked. Manufacturers specify that the job run should be up to 350,000 prints. The limit for violet-sensitive photopolymer plates and for thermal plates depends on the manufacturer and plate, but is typically between 150,000 and 250,000 prints. This can however be extended through additional post-baking to up to a million prints and more. • Use of UV inks and rough printing materials The use of silver halide plates should be avoided for UV inks. The solvents are too aggressive. Even when printing on rough paper, e.g. in packaging printing, a printing plate that can be post-baked is more effective.

• Space requirements The construction of the Prosetter family is designed to offer a particularly small footprint. The Prosetter 52 can also be used with a special model for small-format offset printing up to a plate format of max. 670 ! 525 mm. • Level of automation Every desired level of automation can be catered to. The Prosetter family and the Topsetter basic model are suitable for use with flexible, semiautomatic mode. Both families can be delivered with various versions up to a fully-automatic process, or can be field upgraded at a later date.

• Investments The inexpensive violet laser diode, in conjunction with the simple imaging principle, means that the Prosetter models represent a low cost investment with low maintenance costs. • Print behavior In terms of print behavior (clean running of the plate, ink/water balance, ink feed, dot gain) and the achievable print quality, there is no real difference between violet and thermal technology. The plate throughput and the price of digital printing plates for both processes are also about the same.


26 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate How Can I Find the Right CtP Solution?

Differentiation Criteria at a Glance

Recorder features Light source Imaging system Space requirements Level of automation Plate throughput Investment costs Printing plates supported Sensitivity Conditions Job run length without post-baking after post-baking Use of UV inks Rough printing materials Behavior during print Print quality Price of printing plates

Prosetter family

Topsetter family

1 violet laser diode single-beam technology, internal drum minimal semi-automatic to fully automatic no difference low

32/64-channel laser head multi-beam technology, external drum depends on configuration semi-automatic to fully automatic no difference depends on configuration

Silver halide plates Photopolymer plates at 405 nm at 405 nm daylight brightness, yellow safety light; daylight for fully-automatic mode

Thermal plates at 830 nm daylight

350,000 n/a no no no difference no difference no difference

150,000 – 250,000 ~ 1 million yes, after post-baking yes, after post-baking no difference no difference no difference

200,000 ~ 1 million yes, after post-baking yes, after post-baking


Time Is Money Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate 27

8 Time Is Money: So Why Wait any Longer? Digital workflow systems and CtP recorder technology are highly advanced. An investment in a high-performance workflow that ensures the complete automation of the prepress stage and leads on to the next stages (press and postpress) is therefore an essential and proper step towards competitive production. Heidelberg offers comprehensive, practicable solutions for every segment and all sizes of companies. Most of the advantages of a modernized workflow and the level of automation that comes with it are linked to the printing stage. The press room and the quality of the goods produced in it are the real winners! This statement of course has to be qualified with a number of requirements, and these will be discussed again briefly below:

1. For entry into CtP, there must be a sufficient number of jobs for producing digital plates if the investment is to be justified. This number averages around six to ten four-color jobs per day/shift. However, this figure is heavily dependent on the current mix of customers and jobs, and also on the current workflow configuration. 2. From a business management perspective, a sufficiently large printing capacity also plays a key role. When a feasibility study is being drawn up that is tailored to your company, Heidelberg can provide you with the expertise needed. 3. Trained staff with excellent experience in the PostScript sector – possibly also with PDF – should be available or training must be possible within the planned time period. Crucial factors in this context include existing experience of digital proofs and a positive response from the customer’s staff. These requirements will play a key role in defining a schedule for the changeover to an automated overall workflow.

4. A willingness to accept change (both internal and external) must be present. This requires good, all-round communication between all the departments within a company, including the field sales team, and open communication with the most important customers regarding the planned changes (such as data supply, correction cycles, proof ).

5. The goal will only be achieved through clear specifications and their on-schedule completion. A precise plan of the necessary steps (see also our ‘Checklists’) and the creation of a timescale and finance plan are key milestones.


28 Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Checklist

9 Checklist This checklist is intended as a planning aid for investments in a digital workflow with CtP output. It makes no claim to be complete, nor does the implementation of all steps have the same importance for all sizes of company. The details of the current snapshot and the target analysis are intended exclusively for you at this stage. They provide you with assistance in creating the transparency needed for your further plans. If you wish to disclose the data contained in this checklist, they will definitely provide a valuable basis for further advice from your Heidelberg sales partner. Current Snapshot • Existing prepress equipment. • Analysis of the current workflow. • Number of staff in the prepress stage, incl. plate copy. What activity. • Number of jobs per year, per month, per day, per shift. • At what times do peak loads occur? • Number of pages, print sheets, sheet format. • Which data do you receive in digital form? • Which data is supplied as films? Page parts, finished page films, printready full-sheet films.

• Number of supplied films. Percentage requiring redigitizations. • Page films imaged in-house, fullsheet films, number, square meters, annual film costs. • Is analog proofing (contract proofing) used? Systems, units, annual costs. • Is digital proofing (contract proofing) already being used? Which devices, annual costs. • Acceptance among staff of digital proof (as percentage). • Number of printing plates to be copied per year, per month, per day, per shift. • Number of remakes, percentage, reason for remake (last-minute corrections, faulty plates, other reason). • Number of remakes when job already on press. • Press downtimes, reason. • Level of utilization of press(es). Target Analysis • Detailed description of the planned workflow. • Network planning. • Planning of data communication. • Necessary server capacity. Tools for backup and archiving.

• Redigitization of existing and supplied films, volume, tools. • Implementation of digital proofing. • What existing equipment is to be/ can be used further in the digital workflow. • Number of staff available, new, activity, costs. • Total investment acc. to offer(s). • Technical scope. Level of investment. • Planned film costs. Planned plate costs digital, analog. • Planned savings or added capacity in print. • Feasibility study with TARGET/ ACTUAL comparison. Space/Building Planning • Drawing up of space plan and assignment of implementation. • Award of order for network and data communication. • Planning for air conditioning of sections. Total air conditioning including award of order. Finance Planning • Evaluation of investment aid, regional economic subsidiaries.

• Evaluation of regional aid for introducing new, eco-friendly technologies. Time Planning, Security • Total timeframe with checkpoints for individual stages of CtP introduction. • Member of staff responsible (assistant to technical manager) or team. • Plans for the end of twin-track operation (security). • Disaster plan (worst case). Back-up planning. Training • Training for a system administrator, appoint representative. • Training for further technical staff. • Training for the field sales staff. • Training/support for customers (generation of PDF files, network, communication, proof ). Advertising • More capacity, order planning. • Enhanced quality to be communicated. • Image brochure. • Internet.


Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG Kurfuersten-Anlage 52 – 60 69115 Heidelberg Germany Phone +49-62 21-92 00 Fax +49-62 21-92 69 99 www.heidelberg.com Trademarks Heidelberg, the Heidelberg logotype, Diamond Screening, HQS Screening, Nexscan, PrintOpen, ScanOpen, SignaStation and ViewOpen are registered trademarks of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG in the U.S. and other countries. Delta, GTO, Megadot, MetaDimension, MetaShooter, NewCopix, Primescan, Primesetter, Prinect, Printmaster, Prosetter, Quicksetter, Speedmaster, Supertrap and Topsetter are trademarks of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG in the U.S. and other countries. Adobe, the Clearly Adobe Imaging logotype, Acrobat and PostScript are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the U.S. and other countries. Mac is a registered trademark of Apple Computer Incorporated in the U.S. and other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. Subject to technical modifications and other changes.

00.993.6102/01 en

Publishing Information Printed in: 06/02 Author: Günther Bregel Photographs: Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, Agfa-Gevaert AG, Glunz & Jensen Platemaking: CtP Printing: Speedmaster Finishing: Stahlfolder, Stitchmaster Fonts: Heidelberg Gothic, Heidelberg Antiqua Printed in Germany Copyright © Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG, 2002

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Plate Imaging with Computer-to-Plate Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG 06•2002 3 Essential for the Use of CtP: The Digital Workflow 5 3.1 PostS...

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