Fujifilm is rolling out what it believes is a best in class processless plate, Superia ZE. According to Fujifilm the new plate addresses issues of latent image contrast, on press durability and performance and cost.
The plate has been subject to extensive testing programme since the start of the year, initially with 20 or so customers and then with up to 50 sites. It is now qualified for general releases says Chris Broadhurst, head of offset, Fujifilm Graphic Systems Europe.
The first Fujifilm processless plate was the Pro-T in 2006. It was limited to short runs and needed careful set up on press. The Superia ZE is the fifth generation processless plate from the company, each taking a step towards a replacement for and increasing range of applications. The new plate is rated at 200,000 impressions for conventional offset, up to 100,000 on UV presses.
It has a strong latent image, has a new base layer and top coating formulation which prompts a fast clean up and then rapid ink take up on press, even where ink coverage is low. A new graining structure completes the package to make this as close to a drop-in product as possible.
The increasing need to be as environmental as possible to meet the demands of a customer’s CSR policy, is leading to growing interest in processless, says Broadhurst. “Printers in Germany especially are moving for this reason. For some it is a business perspective as there is no longer a processor to run and maintain. For some it is about quality.
“Around 80% of the first users have been existing Fujifilm customers, but we are being approached by new customers. This is a very good, very robust product that is very easy to use.”
There is no penalty in terms of imaging speeds he adds. “There is no reason why the majority of the market should not now be looking at processless plates. The concerns that people have had are no longer there.”
Fujifilm is including the plate in its Platesense approach to financing investment in plate production and consumption. But the environmental advantage will be the strongest driver as more of more print buyers are selecting printers to ensure they have a clean supply chain.
The plate is being made in Tilburg where renewable energy is generated through onsite wind turbines. This will keep delivery miles as low as possible for printers in Europe.
By Gareth Ward
Superia ZE is the fifth generation processes plate for Fujifilm. It has been tested at numerous conditions across Europe and is now generally available. Latent image contrast, on press performance and durability are all improved.