CTcP Technology Creates a New World for Computer Direct Plate Making

Since the advent of CTP computer-to-plate technology in 1995, it has achieved the perfect combination of computer typesetting and high-speed plate making. From now on, there is no longer any need for film processing such as development or fixing of film, nor does it require articulation. Instead, it directly copies the digital text information obtained by computer processing onto the printing plate. Its birth brought a true technological revolution for the platemaking process. However, this technology is not perfect. One of the fatal problems affecting its popularity is that the price of the plates it uses is particularly expensive! In fact, many users do not want to adopt CTP technology. They are just high supplies that make them prohibitive.

In 2000, at Drupa's International Printing Fair, basysPrint introduced the CTcP technology for the traditional plate-making for the first time. This new highlight immediately attracted many participants. Eyesight. Because the plate used in this technology is the traditional PS version, it greatly reduces the threshold for the application of CTP technology and also breaks the bottleneck that restricts the popularization of CTP. It can be said that the emergence of CTcP technology is more like a major historic mission to solve the problem of expensive plates. Since then, CTcP technology as a epoch-making significance of the direct plate-making technology, has entered the big stage of the history of printing, for the CTP technology has created a vast new world.

First, what is CTcP technology?

CTcP technology is the English abbreviation of Computer to Conventional Plate. Its meaning is to carry out computer direct plate making on the traditional PS plate material, it is a kind of realization form of CTP craft. The meaning of lowercase c in CTcP technology is “conventional”, which is traditional. The combination of traditional plate-making technology and modern electronic technology brings cost and efficiency advantages that are self-evident. To use the data directly for exposure, basysPrint developed Digital Screening Imaging Technology (DSI) using Texas Instruments' Digital Light Processing Technology (DLPTM). It uses a UV light source with a laser wavelength range of 360 nm to 450 nm to expose the traditional PS plate to make a printing plate. The specific working principle is: emitting ultraviolet light from the light source, modulating the converted exposure data with UV light through DSI, and then concentrating the light onto a digital micromirror device (DMD), and accurately imaging the plate material through the refraction of the DMD. .

The core component of the CTcP system is the DMD. This is a wafer of about 4 square centimeters with millions of microscopic lenses. Each micro-mirror will process the image information transmitted by the RIP of the grating and act according to the exposure requirements. For the required light, the light is directly refracted and passes through the optical lens system to reach the surface of the printing plate to expose the photosensitive material of the printing plate; for the undesired light, the micro-mirror is deflected, so that this part of the light cannot pass through the lens system and is even more unreachable. Plate surface. With this technique, each micromirror responds similarly to 0 or 1 in digital, and the exposure point formed by each micromirror on the plate is a basic pixel. A plurality of basic pixels together form a printing dot. Subsequently, a complete image is stepped and quickly exposed to form a complete image.

In addition, the CTcP system uses a precision screw system to drive the exposure head. The action and positioning are precise. This ensures that the images can be stitched together seamlessly after several exposures with an accuracy of ±2 μm. CTcP technology also has a characteristic, it uses the exposure technology is a very small square pixel, the pixel size between 10 to 28 microns. This square pixel has a very sharp edge, so it can maintain the high quality of the image. General laser technology imaging of the round pixels will appear between the adjoining, and square pixels and pixels do not appear between the situation, which is CTcP square pixel imaging a clear advantage. Because such outlets mean that even with lower resolution, high-quality printing can be achieved. In practice, the benefits of using low resolution are many, such as significantly shorter RIP time, reduced data processing, saving computer system memory, faster exposure, and more. For example, the general high-end commercial print job has 200 lpi screens and a resolution of 1500 dpi, so that the square pixels are only 17 microns. Therefore, even with lower resolution, CTcP can be used to obtain high-quality images. Second, what are the unique advantages of CTcP technology? The main advantages of CTcP technology are high quality, high efficiency and significant economics.

Although the CTcP system entered the market later, the improvements in light source life and exposure speed reflected the rapid development momentum and it has become a rising star.

The main advantages are summarized as follows:

1. Significant reduction in production costs and significant economic benefits: First, the process flow is simplified, and the CTcP system reduces the number of processes, such as the production of films and printing plates in the traditional process, saving consumables and related expenses.

2. It is applicable to any conventional PS plate material. Compared with other CTP technologies, the CTcP system has a large price advantage due to the use of a conventional PS plate material, a developing machine, and a syrup, and can realize a low-cost operation of production. According to the average price, the CTP plate is more than twice as much as the CTcP plate, and the price of the processing kit is 3--10 times that of the CTcP plate. According to the experience of foreign users, the cost of CTcP can be reduced by 40%.

3. It is a simple equipment configuration. The CTcP system uses a UV photosensitive plate, so it can be easily operated under bright room conditions. Enterprises can also introduce the system without changing the other operating environment before printing. Its light source uses UV lamps, its lifetime has been increased to 2,500 hours, and its price is less than one-tenth of the laser light source, so the cost of operation and maintenance of the equipment is very low.

4. Improved print quality: As the CTcP uses a unique DSI-specific technology and a special digital micromirror device (DMD), the edges of the generated dots are sharp and sharp. It uses square dot imaging for precise, seamless connectivity without the need for edge overlap. Therefore, higher copy quality can be achieved with the same resolution. In addition, many users who use CTcP have working experience in film printing. After the film is not needed, the print quality of the printed matter is significantly improved because the images and dots are not affected by the quality attenuation in the traditional prepress process. After the printing plate, the quality is better, because the dust, scratches and other factors on the film no longer exist, and the positioning is more accurate. In short, the network points obtained by the CTcP plate making technology are the first-generation network points that are directly transmitted to the printing plate, and their edges are clean and sharp, faithful to original manuscripts.

5, reduce the printing and debugging time and material loss: Because the plate does not require positioning, so the quality of the printing plate is better, and will not be due to inaccurate positioning and need to re-plate, to avoid spending a lot of time on the machine printing school. With more and more short-lived prints in the entire printing industry, change-overs and on-machine debugging have become regular tasks, reducing printing commissioning time, which can significantly save time and costs. CTcP plate making is more accurate than traditional analog plate making. Therefore, when the machine is commissioned, the waste of water, paper, ink and other consumables is reduced.

6, without changing the existing hardware configuration: CTcP can use 1bit/tiff format data, and can use RIP data, can use the conventional developer and processing chemicals, without using a special network interface, can be with the existing Network environment networking.

Second, the development prospect of CTcP technology

New Generation of CTcP Technology Since the introduction of the new generation of prototypes at the Drupa All In Print 2000, the sales of its plate making equipment have rapidly grown due to its unique technology and cost advantages. By the end of 2004, 800 CTcP platesetters worldwide had been installed and used. Experts believe that CTcP technology is a new type of digital platemaking technology, its unique advantages will certainly bring her bright market prospects.

Table 1. CTcP Technology Plate-Making Equipment Global Installed Capacity Statistics Installed Years 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 Global installed capacity 50 120 300 500 800 Currently in Drupa 2004 International Printing The expo showed that there are basically only two suppliers of mature CTcP platesetters, one is basysPrint and the other is Esko-Graphics. They are continuing to increase product development and marketing efforts, making the development of CTcP technology increasingly strong, and has become a strong competitor of the violet laser CTP. BasysPrint Corporation ranks among the world's printing industry with its inventive CTcP technology.

By the end of 2003, the company had installed more than 500 sets of CTcP in the world, which was widely recognized. The UV-Setter N546, the first newspaper to be unveiled at Drupa's 2004 International Printing Fair, uses DSI2 technology, which is faster than ever before, with a maximum platemaking speed of 170 sheets/single version. /hour. UV-Setter's exposure head can continuously move on the plate during the exposure process, increasing the exposure speed by nearly twice. Esko-6raphics is using a new four-format computer to directly process traditional plate (CTcP) solutions. The system uses a unique method to digitally image the traditional purple plate.

Espresso's imaging mechanism uses a mechanical structure derived from the world-famous EskoScan Dot Copy scanner. This high-precision, high-reliability mechanical design is similar to the working principle of contact printing. In addition, the mature XY scan output technology and the patented air-bearing suspension optical head are sufficient to ensure that the entire plate has a consistent dot quality. In addition, the characteristics of the printing plate and the printing plate on the printing press are similar. Using the same glossy printing plate and the same printing plate developing machine, the workflow of CTF/CTP process can be easily realized. The application of CTcP technology in China started late. By the end of October 2003, only the German company Welt and the German basysPrint company had joined forces. At the China International Printing Exhibition held in Shanghai, the CTcP platemaking machine using traditional plates was first introduced. - Setter 710, and gave a detailed demonstration for the customer. Many visitors were attracted and the response was enthusiastic.

At the end of 2003, three sets of CTcP plate-making equipment had been put into use in China and distributed in Shenzhen and Hainan. According to reports, in 2004 China purchased 46 CTcP plate-making equipment from BasysPrint, mostly in Guangdong, Hainan, East China and Hong Kong. Among them, Dongguan Yonghong Printing (Group) Company ordered nine sets of CTcP computer-to-plate systems. Mr. Liu Xiaoqiang, general manager of Yonghong Group, said it well: “We chose CTcP from BasysPrint in Germany because we consider the advanced nature, adaptability, economy, and the perfect combination with existing equipment.” It can be seen that CTcP will surely be more developed in this rapidly developing market in China. This move again proved that the use of the traditional PS version of the CTcP technology in the field of direct computer plate making broad prospects.

(author/ Liu Fei Liu Shiliang)
Foshan Feiyou Automation Technology Co., Ltd.

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