Agfa Graphics has launched its latest chem-free violet newspaper plate, the Avatar V-ZH, which does not require pre-heating.

The company says that, with no requirement for a pre-heating unit, the Avatar V-ZH plate reduces printers’ capital expenditure and energy consumption and increases their floor space. Other benefits include Shorter start-up time and less waste during makeready, as well as stability and linearity throughout the entire print run.

Agfa says Avatar V-ZH has a high image contrast after clean-out, allowing a visual image inspection to avoid mix-ups on press. Other features include daylight compatibility, high scratch resistance, and outstanding robustness on press (run length, dot gain, press start-up). Operators can use the plate with either conventional or UV inks for semi-commercial or special applications.

The company says Avatar Z-VH suits high-quality Arkitex Sublima screening and using it with Arkitex OptiInk software will result in a more economical use of ink, higher colour fidelity, and improved makeready time with less paper waste.

Rainer Kirschke, market manager for newspapers at Agfa Graphics, “Violet-laser technology makes up the majority of the newspaper market. We have a worldwide base of customers who have been using our violet chem-free plates for more than a decade. 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 polymerisation 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 says Avatar V-ZH chemistry-free printing plates form an attractive solution combined with the Advantage N CTP unit and the new high-speed clean-out unit Attiro ZH, which offers minimal gum consumption. Agfa says its extensive bath life results in lower maintenance with easy and fast cleaning. A completely flat plate transport means no buckling of plates between rollers. The company adds that owners can upgrade existing Agfa clean-out to the preheat-free version.

Agfa says that, over the last months it put the Avatar V-ZH through its paces under a range of printing conditions in real newspaper production environments. These first users reported up to 60 per cent energy saving 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 become available in the last quarter of this year.

Kirschke concludes, “Agfa is strongly investing in new products for the newspaper market, because we believe in the future of printed news. Newspapers face a very difficult decade where every kind of cost saving and process streamlining is crucial. Our ECO³ portfolio combines software, hardware and support that cover every part of a newspaper’s production, from image tuning up to the press run. Like that, newspapers can speed up and streamline their operations and achieve a ‘just-in-time’ workflow.”

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