Kodak has introduced the Sonora X process free plate, claiming benefits such as longer run length, faster imaging, and more robust handling capabilities than other process free plates.

The company says print companies can use Sonora X plates for nearly any application typically printed with an unbaked processed plate. Kodak estimates that up to 80 per cent of the offset print market can now go process free, including large commercial sheetfed printers, heatset and coldset web printers, offset packaging printers, and printers using UV and low-energy UV.

Sonora X plates can print two to six times longer than Kodak Sonora XP plates, depending on application. Kodak says improved exposure sensitivity ensures printers can maximise platemaking throughput on even the fastest platesetters on the market. It adds that a proprietary enhanced anodising and coating technology increases the robustness of the plate, so it can withstand highly automated or fast-paced operating environments.

Brad Kruchten, president of the Print Systems Division at Kodak, says, “Kodak’s goal is to make printing more sustainable and to make it profitable for all printers by eliminating processing and chemicals from platemaking. Sonora X delivers a breakthrough for process free technology. The dramatic improvements to run length and handling enable the market fit for process free to expand to up to 80 per cent of the market, thus making Sonora X truly mainstream.”

Ralf Lokay, owner of Druckerei Lokay in Germany, one of the first printers to test and convert to Sonora X plates, says, “Sustainability is a business advantage for our company, from how we heat our facility to how we print for our customers. In fact, over 75 per cent of our customers print with Lokay because of our strong commitment to sustainability, and Sonora plates play an important role here. Since converting to process free plates, we have reduced water consumption by more than 30 per cent and have eliminated all chemicals. We do all of this while producing the highest quality output for our customers.”

Kodak forecasts the trend to process free plates to continue and anticipates the company will have 30 per cent of its plate volume process free by 2019.

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