Screen GP has hit a CTP install milestone and revamped its four-page and eight-page PlateRite setters.

Recently, the company passed the 20,000-mark in CTP units shipped worldwide, which includes OEM models.

Peter Scott, managing director for Screen GP Australasia, says, “The tail-end of 2023 saw a marked upsurge in our PlateRite CTP sales and requests for replacements in 2024. These were mostly via our plate-supplier partners Fujifilm and Ferag Australia. CTP today is mostly a replacement market. Printers look for reliable, well service-backed platesetters. This is something we at Screen Australia pride ourselves in.”

Computer to Plate (CTP) turned 30 years old in 2023. Today’s CTP technology is virtually all thermal since the exit of major plate manufacturers from UV violet plates, apart from newspaper CTP and a few legacy devices. Scott adds, “Processless and chemistry-free plates are now the norm in the commercial CTP sector. The shift to sustainable, low-emission platemaking is almost complete.”

Supporting platemaking since 1995

Screen released its first CTP setter, the PlateRite 1080, in 1995. Since then, it has built a reputation for reliable film imagesetters. Several plate suppliers, notably Fujifilm and Agfa, turned to Screen for OEM versions of its Kyoto, Japan-made devices. In passing the 20,000 total units shipped, Screen has also announced upgrades to its four-page and eight-page PlateRite machines.

Scott says: “Litho offset is still the strongest print method and presses have become phenomenally automated. Packaging offset is streaking ahead for folding carton work, as printers balance the decline in commercial offset with the increase in packaged goods. This means more plate changes, more multi-colour work, and more short runs. The importance of reliable, well-backed, automated and precise CTP has become all the more important. CTP becomes the heartbeat of busy offset print shops. With this in mind, Screen has upgraded its PlateRite range once again.”

The eigth-page (B1) PlateRite HD 8900N series is now known as the HD 8900N II and is available in ‘E, S and Z’ versions for delivering 36, 48 or 70 plates per hour respectively.

All models use GLV (Grating Light Valve) optics for uniform light distribution and ultra-high quality dot placement. A high-precision autofocus mechanism enables the use of precision screenings such as Screen’s proprietary Spekta-2 and Randot-X FM methods.

Automatic plate loading and unloading adds to efficiency, especially in multi-press environments, with Screen’s AT-M8100N units capable of discharging plates in up to 5 directions for fully automated platemaking and delivery.

Focus on sustainability

In line with its ‘Innovation for a Sustainable World’ philosophy, Screen has reduced energy consumption on the new PlateRite HD 8900N II series. For example, it has reduced power consumption for the Z model by 43 per cent in operation and 93 per cent while the system is idle.

Scott says, “Screen is totally committed to CTP and workflow, which is far from a sunset market. We continue to invest in research and development. We work with our plate partners to refine and automate plate production to an extent that it can even become a hands-free prepress operation when auto-loaded with up to 600 B1 plates. As always, we back this up with factory-trained technicians, some with 28 years of experience, right here in the Australia-New Zealand and Pacific Islands region.

“As the new year dawns, we have experienced an unprecedented demand for CTP across all formats: four, eight and VLF page sizes up to 48-pages. New Zealand is particularly strong through our partnership with Fujifilm. Of course, Screen also has a leading position in digital printing, particularly in labels and soon to be in flexible packaging too but offset is still the dominant print technology by both value and volume, according to a report from the Smithers group.

“This is gratifying, as Screen’s origins were in lithography and we progressed into offset litho when it emerged in the early 1900s. A modern, automated offset shop is unrecognisable to those early ones and CTP production is the heartbeat of the workflow as jobs progress from design to completion. Screen GP Australia is proud to be an important part of this progress.”

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