Agfa launches first preheat-free chemistry-free violet printing plate

Agfa’s Avatar V-ZH Plate requires no pre-heating unit, which reduces a printer’s capital costs and energy consumption.

Eleven years after the worldwide launch of the first chemistry-free violet newspaper CtP plate, Agfa Graphics has launched the Avatar V-ZH Violet Plate – which does not require ant pre-heating. “The plate marks the next milestone in terms of economic and ecological platemaking,” said the OEM. “Based on our customers’ successful experiences with our violet, chemistry-free printing plates, Agfa has developed a new plate technology that meets the demands of newspaper printers to streamline production processes further, as well as reduce machine maintenance.”

The Agfa Avatar V-ZH Plate requires no pre-heating unit, which reduces printers’ capital costs and energy consumption, while opening up more valuable floor space. In addition, the decrease of start-up times and reduction of waste during the make-ready stage, as well as stability and linearity throughout the entire print run, better empower daily production, said Agfa. The plates also have a very high image contrast after clean-out, allowing a visual image inspection to avoid mix-ups on press. Other features that make the plate ideal for newspaper printers are its daylight compatibility, high scratch resistance, and outstanding robustness on press (run length, dot gain, press start-up, etc.). The plate is extremely flexible, as it can be used with either conventional or UV inks for semi-commercial or special applications. Avatar Z-VH is also suited for high-quality Arkitex Sublima screening. Using it with Arkitex OptiInk software will result in a more economical use of ink, higher colour fidelity, and reduced make-ready times with less paper waste.

Rainer Kirschke.
Rainer Kirschke.

“Violet-laser technology makes up the majority of the newspaper market. We have a worldwide base of customers who have been using our violet chemistry-free plates for more than a decade,” said Rainer Kirschke, Market Manager for Newspapers at Agfa Graphics. “During the development of Avatar V-ZH, we carefully listened to their remarks, and we made every effort to bring maximum economic and ecological benefits to their production.”

Avatar V-ZH works with all violet CtP units currently in use at newspaper print sites across the world. During exposure, the violet-laser diode triggers the polymerization of the image area. Subsequently, the plate is gummed in the clean-out unit with a dedicated gum, which removes the soft, unexposed non-image areas in an easy and clean way. A LED bar close to the drying section takes care of the final curing of the plate. Agfa added that, over the past several months, Avatar V-ZH has already proved its stability and robustness, as it was put through its paces under a range of challenging printing conditions in real newspaper production environments. “These first users reported up to 60% energy savings compared to processors and COUs running with preheat. The plate will make its global debut at the IFRA World Publishing Expo 2018 in October, and will be available worldwide in early Q4 of 2018,” Agfa added.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.