Apex Digital Graphics will introduce UK printers to Fujifilm’s Superia ZD process-free litho plate at Ipex this month.
The plate is a develop on press plate that is the most resilient on the market with a claimed life of 150,000 impressions. Running on a UV press, as it will at Ipex, life is reduced to 50,000 impressions. This is still well above the life that the current generation of plates, Fuji’s ProT3 included, deliver.
The Superia ZD was announced at Drupa last year as a breakthrough process-free plate. Apex Digital Graphics managing director Bob Usher is delighted to introduce the technology to the UK. He says: “The Superia ZD represents a significant advance in thermal plate technology, and further enhances the appeal of LED UV printing which is proving to be a game changer for offset.
“Due to the fast imaging characteristics of the plate emulsion and the elimination of all press chemicals and processing equipment, we believe this is the fastest plate on the market from imaging to printing.”
It will be running on the eight-colour perfecting RMGT9 928 LED UV that will be the centrepiece of the Apex stand at Ipex. It will be imaged in the Cron 46H platesetter, a B1 platesetter that includes punching and an autoloader. As well as a thermal laser, it can be supplied with a UV laser to image conventional presensitised plates.
The Superia ZD has an improved graining structure, a new generation of that used on the ProT3. This is intended to deliver a better ink water balance and a more durable coating.
It has been developed with UV printing in mind, using an accelerator to harden the surface of the plate to make it more robust against UV inks.
The durability will also make this a plate suitable for web offset printing, a sector so far untouched by process-free plates. While other manufacturers have made similar claims, the cost of a develop on press plate relative to a thermal or a conventional plate, has limited the take up.
However, with one facet of LED UV printing being its reduced energy consumption and therefore beneficial environmental impact, the develop on press plate, using no chemistry and no energy to operate a plate processor, adds to the ecological argument.