02 April 2017 Analogue Printing Technologies

Kodak expands Sonora footprint with processless plate for UV printing

Process-free plates have not been suited to harsher UV print conditions. Kodak believes that a new version of Sonora changes that.

Kodak is releasing its UV suitable Sonora no process plate in Europe and other parts of the world, having established the viability of the plate in Japan.

Japan has led with UV printing in commercial printing and the majority of new presses there are fitted with doped mercury vapour UV lamps or LED UV units. It is also highly environmentally conscious and home to Fuji. For a rival to gain a foothold, it must offer a powerful argument. As far as Kodak is concerned, Sonora UV is that product.

Currently the company says that the plate offers the longest run life of any no process plate on a commercial UV press, with a stated life to 30,000 impressions. The plate is resilient enough to run cartonboard applications with a classic UV lamp set up.

The first European user is German printer Cre Art in Fulda, where the Sonora UV plate is running on a Manroland Sheetfed 700 HyPrint press with the LEC (low energy curing) tuned lamp configuration. It is a five-colour press with inter deck as well as end of press lamps.

The company is also producing a range of drip off effects and printing with low migration inks, stressing the environmental benefits of printing with reduced energy needed for drying. Now it can add process free plate production.

Production director Torsten Gröger says: “As far as we’re concerned there is no alternative to Kodak process-free plates when it comes to UV printing. We simply do not have room for a plate processor, and these plates have the general advantage of less effort and lower costs for platemaking as more stability.

“Thanks to the the plate and the press, we can produce complex and demanding jobs on any substrate. The level of creativity and quality is very high and this kind of job would have been impossible a few years ago. The Sonora UV plate enables significantly longer run lengths with at least twice as many impressions as we get from the Sonora XP plate.”

Printers wanting greater resilience than the Sonora XP offers have until now been pushed to towards the Electra Max plate which has the required image resilience. However, this requires processing so has not had the environmental benefits of the develop on press plates like Sonora.

This makes Sonora UV the first plate of the UV generation to reach the market with an acceptable run length. Fuji has the ProT4 under development and Agfa a version of its Azura technology.

Sonora is a key brand in Kodak's portfolio and the company has invested in both R&D and production facilities to support the uptake of the technology. According to Richard Rindo, general manager worldwide offset print and VP print systems division of Kodak, “over 3,000 customers around the world are yielding significant cost and environmental benefits from Sonora and with manufacturing facilities now located in the US, Europe, Japan and China, printers across the globe benefit from faster supply, support and customer service.”

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Sonora UV in action

Sonora UV in action

Kodak has released the Sonora UV plate in Europe following successful use in Japan. The first user is in Germany where the plate is running on a Roland 700.

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