At its pre-drupa press conference in Belgium, Agfa announced a dazzling array of new technologies that visitors to drupa will be able to see on the imaging giant`s stand in May and June, reports Wayne Robinson
The new solutions are aimed at boosting its pre-press and wide format portfolios, and include its entry into the pressroom consumables market, and in a surprise move it is launching a new synthetic paper.
Agfa’s expanded product line is for its four major market segments: commercial printing, packaging printing, the newspaper industry, and the sign and display market.
Agfa’s new range of products and solutions to be shown at drupa include:
• :Azura TS, Agfa’s new ThermoFuse-based chem-free thermal digital plate featuring a substantial increase in throughput, an advanced clean-out system and improved contrast;
• :Azura V, the chemistry-free digital plate for violet platesetters;
• :Avalon N, a new thermal imaging CTP series available in 8-up and VLF formats which accommodate a variety of plate sizes and plate-per-hour capabilities;
• :Apogee Suite, Agfa’s new comprehensive workflow solution that integrates all content, project management, prepress and production functions. Agfa also noted the launch of Apogee Media, an :Apogee Suite module that is a total solution for content integration and management. :Apogee Media will be on display both at Agfa’s main stand, as well as at the drupa Innovation Pavillion (Hall 7.0 - Print & Publishing Park);
• :Anapurna XLS, a new addition to Agfa’s wide-format family of UV printers that eliminates the need for users to have to compromise between speed and quality;
• SYNAPS, a new high quality synthetic paper;
• CTP Plate Cleaner and Anturafount AFS1, two new advanced pressroom supplies. In addition to these products being shown for the first time, Agfa will also be demonstrating its single pass industrial inkjet solutions the :Dotrix Modular, for flexible packaging and folding carton applications.
“Agfa Graphics stand will display both Agfa’s technological leadership in prepress, as well as our continued commitment to sustainability within the graphic com-munications industry,” said Stefaan Vanhooren, the company’s president, adding “We will also display our range of industrial UV inkjet solutions and present our roadmap for the coming years.” “There will also be an exciting twist at our stand (Hall 8A; Stand B63) this year as visitors will get the chance to deter-mine their own price,” added Marien. “We cannot divulge any additional information just yet, but this will surely be a unique opportunity for visitors to close the deal of their life.”
It has made a further upgrade to its market leading and environmentally friendly :Azura thermal CTP plate system. The new :Azura TS offers higher throughput - in some cases as much as 50 per cent - and sharper contrast.
The :Azura TS builds on the success of the original :Azura by combining a gum-based clean-out with a more sensitive coating, resulting in significantly higher throughput on thermal platesetters, including the new :Avalon N range of products. An increase of about 50 per cent can be achieved with the :Azura TS resulting (subject to press conditions) in as many as 100,000 impressions. Also, improved contrast will make visual inspections much easier for users.
:Azura uses Agfa’s exclusive ThermoFuse technology, which physically bonds images to the plate without any chemical processing. The result is highly stable and predictable imaging with no compromises on press. Unlike regular thermal plates, :Azura TS uses a simple gumming process that cleans the plate and gums it in one simple step, making it press-ready without the need for chemical processing. Liquid consumption and waste are considerably reduced, and no chemical controls are needed. Also, the Agfa C95 and C125 Clean-Out units have low energy requirements and small footprints, providing further benefits for the low-to-medium-volume commercial printers who adopt the system.
:Azura users already benefit from one of the simplest, most reliable and predictable CTP technologies ever developed. The :AzuraTS takes those advantages several steps further. The plate is FM capable and rated for press runs of about 100,000 impressions (subject to press conditions). Its improved contrast offers simple and clear visual inspection of the image prior to mounting on press, which minimises any errors. It has a
very wide press latitude and is fully compatible with a broad range of standard press founts and inks. ThermoFuse, the technology on which the chemistry-free :Azura and low-chemistry :Amigo plates are based, is widely considered to represent the most advanced digital platemaking technology that exists in the marketplace today.
Agfa will introduce the :Avalon N system of CTP imaging engines at drupa. The new thermal CTP engines are available in 8-up and VLF formats with a variety of plate sizes and plate-per-hour capabilities. The platesetters will be commercially available at drupa where they will be demonstrated for the first time.
The :Avalon N 8-up range, accommodates plate sizes up to 1160x940mm and has throughputs ranging from 8 to 50 plates-per-hour. It uses a new-generation imaging head featuring 1024 beams that is based on GLV (Grating Light Valve) technology. Agfa first introduced GLV imaging technology in 2002, and it has been used in thousands of CtP system applications worldwide.
The VLF version currently has three available engines, the :Avalon N16, N24 and N36. Plate sizes range from 1470x1154mm for the N16; 1750x1400mm for the N24; and 2100x1600mm for the N36. All the new models support internal punching and are available with manual or fully automatic plate loading with one or multiple plate cassettes. All models also include automatic paper sheet removal.
They are also fully compatible with Agfa’s :Apogee workflow and with Agfa’s range of thermal digital plates and processors including the chemistry-free :Azura, low-chemistry :Amigo and no-bake, long-run :Energy Elite plates.
Two additional models, the :Avalon N40 and N48, are designed to support the new 80 and 96-page web presses. The N40 and N48 will be available later in the year.
Agfa also announced that it will demonstrate its new comprehensive suite of software solutions, :Apogee Publish, :Apogee Portal, :Apogee Prepress, and :Apogee Colour at drupa, which will incorporate the former Delano and Apogee X solutions.
Agfa says the :Apogee Suite solutions are designed to meet the needs of all stakeholders in the printing and publishing process, including print buyers, content owners, designers, prepress managers, and production coordinators. It integrates all content, proofing, output, connectivity and other integral elements through one comprehensive suite.
• :Apogee Publish contains solutions focusing on all tasks from content management to page creation for print and web.
• :Apogee Portal (formerly :Delano) strengthens the communication and collaboration between printers and their customers.
• :Apogee Prepress (formerly :ApogeeX) provides a full JDF-enabled prepress production hub, allowing everyone in the production environment to manage and control all prepress processes.
• :Apogee Colour seamlessly integrates end-to-end quality and colour management solutions into the :Apogee Suite solutions.
Agfa announced that it will debut the newest additions to its family of highly reliable and cost-efficient inkjet printers at drupa 2008, the :Anapurna XLS, the :Anapurna Mv and the :Anapurna M4f.
The new :Anapurna XLS is designed to eliminate the need for users to have to compromise between speed and quality as it is specially designed to provide photographic quality at high-production speeds. The XLS comes in a choice of speeds and produces top-quality printing with highly saturated, wide gamut colours in the medium, large and extra-large formats (up to 250cm). It also allows borderless printing and has the capability for dual board printing.
The new :Anapurna Mv and M4f will both also be demonstrated. The Mv will offer the image quality of the popular :Anapurna M, but can additionally add a spot of flood varnish to further improve printed materials' cosmetic appearance.
The M4f also has the same robust design as the M. It has four CMYK printheads and is positioned as a rigid printer only with roll-to-roll as an option. The M4f is the entry level UV-ink printer of Agfa’s :Anapurna range. Both the :Anapurna Mv and M4f have a maximum media width of 160 cm. They use state-of-the art 14 picoliter printheads and Agfa-made UV-curable :Anapurnallll
ink to make photo-quality UV technology available to graphic screen printing and sign making shops at an affordable investment cost.
Agfa’s industrial inkjet line includes both the :Anapurna and :Dotrix families, as well as the :M-Press. The :Dotrix range, will be shown in a set-up for flexible packaging and a set-up for folding cartons.
Agfa has improved the :Dotrix Modular press to accommodate the needs of the flexible packaging market. The :Dotrix Modular is now the first digital press that can handle the media mix with sufficient adhesion that this market requires and a cost-of-ownership that allows run lengths of up to and over 15,000 running meters. The :Dotrix Modular’s ability to print thin layers provides the look and feel the flexible packaging market demands.
Today, the :Dotrix, which is upgradeable, runs with UV inks on a wide variety of media at 24 m/min. In the next phase, speeds will be increased to 30 m/min and afterwards to even higher speeds depending on the specific applications. Agfa Materials announced that it will launch SYNAPS, a newly-developed, polyester-based, synthetic paper for use on offset printing presses. The material, which is noted for its superior printability and exceptionally fast drying time, will be shown for the first time at drupa.
Finally Agfa will introduce two new CTP plate care products designed to improve and protect plate performance, marking its entry into the pressroom consumables business. The two new solutions, Agfa CTP Plate Cleaner and Agfa Anturafount AFS1 fountain solution additive, will be presented at drupa.