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Thermal and Photopolymer Plate Technology – A closer look

Thermal plates are increasing in popularity as a quality plate in printing technology. The advanced countries are establishing this specific modern technology of utilizing thermal plates as it is known to be cheap as well as efficient as compared to using films. Yet another factor which has seen the popularity of thermal plates expanding is the fact that films have become high-priced simply because of the rise in the demand of silver product. This has seen the cost of films rising by way of a large margin and so making it significantly less popular among photography enthusiasts. Countless photographers normally debate whether or not thermal plates are more effective when compared with photopolymer plates. Experts claim that thermal plates are famous for their superb constitution. The photopolymer plate is well-liked by many experienced photographers due to its low cost in maintenance. The thermal CTP plates are usually desired by newspaper printers since it offers premium quality images. The thermal solutions used in printing are typically employed by most professional photographers as well as magazine printers. Thermal plates are used mostly because of its high quality.

All sorts of CTP (Computer-to-Plate) technologies are competing in the printing market nonetheless every technology satisfies distinctive applications and offers distinctive rewards. CTP has taken a radical change in imaging technology as images from Desktop Publishing applications could be output right to printing plates. The option to choose the plate system would depend mainly in the sort of print demanded. Both the positive and negative thermal plates provide great halftones as well as on-press efficiency rendering the accomplishment of the very most demanding outcomes. Photopolymer plates are perfect for medium prints regarding commercial colors around 200 LPI. They’re totally free of hazardous chemical ingredients and can be processed in aqueous solutions rendering a more secure working enviorment. Their photosensitivity demands safelight conditions, while thermal plates can be utilized under regular lighting conditions. High-speed photosensitive layers can give thus the speed-benefits outweigh the safelight requirements. Further more, photopolymer plates have completely changed flexographic printing, which involves coarse surfaces, corrugated boards and flexible packaging materials.

Photopolymer plates have been in use since the early 1990s to print all kinds of print similar to newspapers, books as well as other industrial print. Experts certainly are a little skeptical concerning using photopolymer plates given that they claim that the chemical compounds in the plates can make them at risk. They go on to claim that the plates could be destroyed by solutions, ink and also other substrate substances. Nonetheless this trouble is just encountered in conditions which have very corrosive UV presses. In this issue, it’s advised to not damage the plates. The damaged photopolymer plates demand an extra cost of disposal because of corrosive effect of chemical compounds and it also posses a great danger towards the environment regarding pollution. Most plates made from silver halide are typically imaged with either red or even green light thus which makes them extremely sensitive to Ultra-violet light. To solve this condition, it's encouraged to utilize red light in a dark room to develop the images. To steer clear of inconveniences of low quality and high cost, it really is recommended that you use thermal plates.


Newspaper Plate Technology

Newspaper Plate

technology has evolved over the past 10 years.  It has borrowed from much of the commercial CTP technology.  What then does the Newspaper Printer expect from his plates in this age of printing?  He expects much of the same as the commercial printer, but expects a super-high level of consistency.  Newspaper Press’ are always churning because the printed word for a community is so large.  Any drop off in consistency from their supplies will lead to smudges and size distortions after the imaging is pressed onto paper.  All of us have seen newspapers where those little top right corners trail off from their linear path.  While they’re usually anomalies, and it doesn’t bother the reader, it bothers the Newspaper Printer.  The Newspaper Printer is after perfection.  Every day requires consistent printing because people expect their newspapers everyday.  Sound simple?  When everything is running smoothly on these large presses, it might seem simple, but you can be sure that pressmen are watching every step of the process on and off.  If it were as easy as pressing a start button, no one would have to be in their factory during a run.  It’s not as simple as it sounds then.

Presses need to be moving fast because of deadlines.  Efficiency is key.  At the same time, resolution is just as important for reading clarity of a paper.  Having a good Newspaper Plate developer handy will give a reassurance for the resolution quality.  The pressman also needs to make sure that they are using a durable heating oven.  Newspaper pressmen know what it’s like to have an oven baking a plate at too low of a temperature.  They can always use another plate, but the time wasted from a poorly imaged plate is a headache in the production process.  Robust printing plates require robust ovens and exact settings for plate imaging.  Something else that has developed in commercial printing are plates that require less chemistry during processing.  This is possible now for larger community newspaper presses.  It’s important to ask your newspaper plate supplier how much chemistry will be needed for their plates.  New generation plates can reduce chemical use up to 90%.  Some commercial CTP plates are now creating plates that require no chemical use.

More on Newspaper Plate Technology

Pressman wants to have the best plates for these cost-efficient reasons. This information and opportunity should be directly provided to you. Make sure your supplier (on their website, or through classical communication; e.g. phone) can explain the new generation of Newspaper Plates to you so you fully understand the changes.  While plate costs are small compared to paper and ink costs, any savings is big savings in contemporary commerce. Trust is always invaluable during any time.  You will still be able to purchase high quality Newspaper Plates at strong prices within these conditions.   Communication and trust with your supplier will make the transaction a smooth one.  Make sure to ask your supplier about any new technology that you come across.  If there’s a way to cut costs while maintaining superior quality, your supplier should know about it, and if they don’t, make sure to tell them so they can prepare the best quality Newspaper Plate for you the next time around.


Thermal Plates

Printingsuppliesdirect offers a high quality positive working Thermal Plates that outperforms most plates on the market.  This 830nm plate is electrochemically grained and anodized to create a grain structure within the aluminum that carries water efficiently and deeply into the aluminum substrate, which in turn offers an ink/water balance that greatly reduces the amount of water needed on a press, and of course greatly reduces the amount of ink needed. 

Click Here to Purchase Our Thermal Plates

These Thermal Plates do require a plate developer and finisher that is nothazardous and is extremely economical to run due to its low replenishment rates and long life. The resolution of the Thermal Plates are 1%-99% at 200LPI FM 20 micron stochastic.  It is available in 0.006, 0.008 and 0.012 aluminum and has an 18 month shelf life when stored properly.  Our product is a direct drop in for the Fuji LHPJ positive thermal plates and can run through the same chemistry.  Huge savings are offered under this private label Thermal CTP Plates, while high quality print results are always obtained with these Thermal Plates.


Thermal Plates

PSD Thermal Plates


Printing Press Supplies | Part 2

Printing Press Supplies | Part 2

Last week we talked about a few printing press supplies including gum chemistry, printing plates, and general offset chemistry.  We also talked about the “ready-to-go” aspect of pressmen which is crucial for a making a press run smoothly and efficiently.  Today, we will go into some specifics with chemistry and plates.  There are many types of chemistries used during prepress and press runs.  There are also many types of plates, some more advanced than others which some printers are choosing over older style metal plates.  The offset printing industry is always evolving.  It’s important to keep pressmen aware of new technologies and the differences between older supplies and more-current supplies.

Let’s go into an essential printing chemistry item for press runs.  The chemistry we will talk about is Pre-Baking Solution.  The name tells it all, but what about some specifics?  Simply put, this solution protects plates from heat during the baking process.  When protection is not applied to a plate during heat imagining, well…the plate overheats and becomes unusable.  The hydrophilic area needs to be protected before a plate is created.  Pre-Baking solution takes care of this.  This solution is applied with a specific sponge to the plate. This makes sure that your hands and other harmful environs don’t influence the plate that is crucial to making solid press runs.  For storage of Pre-Bake solution, make sure to keep the chemistry from freezing.  I would suggest keeping the chemistry at room temperature, even a little lower.  While pre-baking solution is an annual extra cost to pressmen, it’s much cheaper than consistent poor imaging and a waste of paper from a substandard plate being used during a run.

More About Printing Press Supplies

Now, let’s go into a specific printing plate that has developed, and has printers turning their heads.  This is Violet Photopolymer Plates. First, no baking is needed, making the Baking Solution talked above not  necessary although can be applied to make a plate last longer during a run .  This saves money and time for the pressman.  The dot reproduction of this plate is bar-none the best from available plates on the market.  This plate unbaked can do a pressrun of about 200,000.  When baked it can do a run above 1,000,000.  This is certainly a technological step in the efficient direction for the printer.  Violet Photopolymer plates handle just like metal plates and have low chemical consumption during plate processing.  The processless nature of this plate is what really steps it up a notch over conventional plates.  It’s worth looking into different forums to see the personal advantages and disadvantages that pressmen are receiving from their photopolymer plates.

This winds up part 2 of our printing press supplies saga, and this was just one printing chemistry and printing plate!  As you can tell, we will have many parts to this general category to discuss.   It’s our hope to explain printing press supplies with the most clarity and in-depth analysis as possible.  Comments are always welcome for further clarity.  Next week we will go into some new-technology CTP machines that are cost effective and extremely efficient for the small to medium printer businesses.  There are many different choices and some that are sworn by more printers than others.  It will be just as important to establish the manufacturers reputation so one knows the quality of service that would be provided, on site if needed, when purchasing a CTP machine.  We will go into the machine quality and service of companies producing these machines.


Printing Press Supplies

Printing Press Supplies

Printing Press Supplies are what keep a press moving at full steam.  Gum chemistry for example keeps your plates fresh and ready to go when in storage.  This “ready to go” aspect is important for pressmen.  Price only goes so far when working with dealers and suppliers.  Pressmen are looking for consistency.  They don’t want to buy from someone who gives them different shades of white paper, even to a small degree.  Pressmen want their consumables on time with their exact specifications.  In other words, consistency is what’s most important for pressmen.  Reliability is king.   Today we will be talking about printing plates and offset printing chemistry.

There are plenty of different supplies that a Pressman needs to make sure everything in  their shop is working efficiently.  Printing Plates is one of these supplies.  Not having plates on hand relative to what machine their using can be a punch in the stomach.  A pressman caught in this situation will do everything they can to stabilize the little amount of plates they do have when doing a run.  This can happen when a pressman is using specific types of plates for a CTP machine for example.  If a pressman is using standard conventional metal plates, then they can purchase these plates from many different suppliers and have them shipped overnight.  However, if the plates that are being used are specific to a type of machine, then there isn’t  a ton of different sources to purchase from.  These printing press supplies always need to be accounted for  so they’re always on hand as the pressman always needs to be in the “ready to go” aspect described above; declared as the most important category for their everyday printer work.  In these cases, it’s important for the pressman to let their supplier know what they need ahead of time so the supplier can make sure this unique plate is in stock.

More About Printing Press Supplies

Printing Chemistry is crucial to printers running well and efficiently.  We discussed this in a post below, but want to elaborate on it more here.  The first thing that needs to be emphasized within the evolution of the printing industry is chemistry free plates.  This has been a big difference for the pressmen who have made the transition.  These digital plates that require no chemistry processing, and avoid darkroom conditions can make a press run much more quickly.  We will go into these chemistry free processing in another post.  As of right now, quality fountain solutions are necessary for most printers in order to keep ink from depositing on the non-image area of a plate.  Keeping the ink stable during a run is key.  Alcohol mixed with the fountain solution can make this chemistry even more potent and powerful for a press run as this cools the press and makes the inks dry faster.  This is just one necessary chemistry when running a press!  Chemistry for pressmen’s blankets and rollers is also crucially important.  These both need to be cleaned often as subtle losses in quality during a pressrun can waste time, money, and energy.  Every pressman knows what it’s like to have a bad run.  Chemistry and care can prevent these from happening.  It’s important for the pressman to always be conscious of every run they’re about to start.

As you can see, we only talked about three printing press supplies above, so we will call this “Part 1” of our “Printing Press Supplies” saga.  Plates, Fountain Solution and Blanket and Roller washes are all necessary supplies needed for the printing press.  Obviously, nothing can  work when these three supplies are absent.  Always make sure your supplier has these on hand so you can purchase these crucial supplies ahead of time.  If you’re in a tough situation where you’ve run out of the supplies you need, make sure your supplier can overnight these supplies to you.  Having a strong trust and relationship with your supplier will go along way in these situations.  They will make sure to deliver these supplies as quickly as possible  from the trust and relationship established.  Look for “Part 2” of the Printing Press Supplies posts to come soon.


Imagesetting Film Prices

Imagesetting Film Prices

Starting on August 1st (2011), there will be an increase in imagesetting film prices.  To be exact, there will be a 13 cent silver surcharge per square foot.  This comes as demand for this raw material has risen. Silver is a valuable natural resource of finite supply that has a high monetary value as a recovered commodity.

There a few ways to keep your costs down while still maintaining high quality film though.  Here’s an example based on the recoverable nature of silver:

If you have a silver recovery system, you can pull the silver out of from Film Chemistry developer for example.  These systems are called ‘Silver Reclamation Systems.” These systems take the silver out of your “after-process” film chemistry waste.  A Silver Reclamation System can be expensive though because of this absolutely valuable technique.  It’s worth talking to your supplier about purchasing a system for Silver recovery.  Having this value on your side can offset (no pun intended!) much of the initial cost in purchasing the imagesetting film that has risen.  Talk to your supplier about the cost and benefits of retaining the silver in your film from these systems.  This is especially important for high-volume film purchasers.

More about Imagesetting Film Prices

This information and opportunity should be directly provided to you. Make sure your supplier (on their website, or through classical communication; e.g. Phone) can explain these imagesetting film cost increases so you fully understand the change.  Make sure they are not simply raising their prices for their own benefit, and raising their price beyond the silver demand that has brought the cost for imagesetting film up.  An open and honest trust can make events like this easier to handle rather than simply being told that there has been a “price increase.”  Trust is invaluable in these economic times.  You will still be able to purchase high quality film at strong prices within these conditions.   Communication and trust with your supplier about imagesetting film prices will make the transaction a smooth one.


Printing Chemistry, What to look for.

Printing Chemistry

Printing Chemistry is crucial  for creating well designed graphics and anything else that is created in the pressroom or the prepress room.  Now, how do you find quality chemistry products?  You will want to find a website that has the exact chemistry you’re looking for.  Some companies will have pre-press chemistry and this is ok.  You can bet that they take pride in this chemistry if they haven’t expanded from it yet.  Of course every business wants to expand, but the core products in any business’ are the ones that the business is most proud of in terms of quality and pricing.  Let’s face it, some company’s produce a higher quality Violet Photopolymer Plate Developer for example and are able to sell it at a price that’s unbeatable, while others have an up on Blanket and Roller Wash.  Always remember to ask what the water to chemical ratio is.  You don’t want something completely diluted and sometimes chemistry manufacturers take liberty with this.

If your looking to purchase online through a ecommerce site, make sure to contact the company directly before purchasing through their website.  The quality will be stated in the description but you will want to ask question on the water to chemical ratio for example.  After you do a couple transactions with the supplier, and they respond promptly and send you quality printing chemistry, then you should feel more safe to purchase your chemicals online.

More About Printing Chemistry

Always make sure there’s a performance guarantee on any chemistry you look to purchase.  This will keep the supplier culpable for any substandard chemistry.  Printers know strong solutions from solutions that aren’t as effective.  Chemistry suppliers know this, so it will be rare for them to try to give you substandard chemistry.

Very simply, make sure you contact the supplier before you purchase online.  Make sure you ask them all the specifics that you can think of before purchasing online.  Chemistry is crucially important for making your plates more long lasting, storing them in reserve without them losing quality, and making sure your blanket and rollers on your press are always working at the most optimal level, just to name a few examples.
We wish you the best luck in finding printing chemistry products that suit your needs at reasonable prices.


Purchasing your Offset Printing Supplies and Consumables Online

Buying Offset Printing Supplies Online

The internet is becoming a huge place for online shopping, especially for offset printing supplies.  You can look at all the statistics about how many people from around the world are purchasing online with one click of the mouse.  The offset printing industry is just coming around to this.  This is a good sign though, as the offset printing industry has prided itself on forming relationships between the end user and supplier.  The offset printing industry is just one those old time industry’s where people matter, no matter where they lie in the links between each other.  If you’re ready to jump into the digital purchasing world though, what should you know before purchasing your offset printing supplies from a company?

What’s most important to end users and suppliers is having the best quality products.  No matter what price a supplier has, it doesn’t mean a whole lot in the context of shoddy quality.  As an end user, always go into purchasing online with the same attitude that you had when purchasing directly in a non-digital interface.  Find out about the quality of the products, where they were made, and of course, the price. If you know that the quality of the consumables are of high quality, then price comes into play.  But if you’re buying online, you can’t know all of this.

More About Offset Printing Supplies

The key is to contact the online supplier first before jumping into any large deals.  Start a relationship with the supplier by contacting them by email or phone.  If their contact information is hidden on a page (E.G. in small text at the bottom right),  this could be a red flag.  The supplier should not only have their contact information somewhere on a “top menu bar” of their page,  but on most of their pages.  They should want to talk to you and establish a trust before you purchase your offset printing consumables on their website.  A good idea is to do a few orders with the supplier “offline” first (phone/email).  If everything goes well, have them guide you on how to purchase from their site.  Online purchases are self-explanatory, but sometimes it can be confusing.  Don’t hesitate to call your online supplier and have them help you with this.

When you’re able to trust an online supplier, then purchasing online can be a great way to shop for your offset printing consumables.  With one click of a button you can purchase the imagesetting film, and printing plates, or the laser fountain solution and plate developer that you’ve been meaning to purchase.  Just make sure you know the supplier before you’re at this stage.  When you do know them, then purchasing offset printing supplies online can be an easy and fun way to make your purchases.