Presstek: The Best-Kept Secret in Digital Plate Systems?

Presstek (Booth 3200), known for its digital presses, has quietly been in the plate business for over 20 years, manufacturing plates for the world’s base of DI digital offset presses and for its line of Dimension CTP systems. In both, the plate and the imager operate as an optimized system. With this approach, Presstek became a market leader in providing true chemistry-free plate solutions. These solutions continue to serve the small to mid-sized commercial printer very well.

About five years ago Presstek updated its CTP strategy to include developing open architecture plate and system solutions to serve mid- to large-sized commercial printers. This strategy ensures that Presstek plates can be utilized with platesetters from most other manufacturers.

Kathleen McHugh, Presstek’s VP of Marketing, says, “Our open platform CTP and plate strategy is working and our product portfolio continues to mature. Aeon, a long run plate, is gaining good traction in the marketplace and we expect that to continue. In addition, many printers have turned to Presstek’s chemistry-free Aurora plate as a more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional chemistry-based plates. These plates provide an ideal digital plate alternative for printing companies of all sizes.”

Platesetters, too

Presstek also offers a wide range of platesetting solutions, from its Vector FL52 with chemistry-free Freedom Pro plates for the small format printer, to the highly automated eight-page Compass system with Presstek Aeon or Aurora plates for high volume printers with 40-inch presses. Presstek Latitude workflow helps further streamline the production process, increasing overall accuracy and throughput.

Al Carrero, President of Operations and Finance for Hudson Printing in Macedonia, OH, made the leap from film-based platemaking to CTP, acquiring a Presstek Dimension Pro 800 platesetter with Aeon plates. “We needed plates that would run well on our older presses, which are a lot less forgiving than today’s newer presses," Carrero explains. "The Dimension Pro 800 with Aeon plates looked like the best match for our needs.”

Mike Henle, owner of Henle Printing Company in Marshall, MN, chose a Presstek Compass system with chemistry-free Aurora plates and three plate cassettes. “Not only did we add the Compass with Aurora plates,” says Henle, “but we also implemented Presstek’s Latitude workflow. The two combined has significantly increased our throughput. We are producing at least 20% more plates each month than we were before, and we still have more capacity available.” Henle not only produces his own plates, but sells plates to two other companies.  He adds, “If they need 30 plates in an hour, we can do that now. We couldn’t before.”

Henle also points out that the chemistry-free plate has been a huge time saver, commenting, “It takes one person about 15 minutes per week to clean out the plate washer, whereas before, two of us were spending at least an hour and a half every other week or so to clean the plate processor.”

Henle admits that change can be difficult. “I am a third generation printer with a German heritage,” he says. “Change is not easy and neither is impressing me. We have had a very favorable experience with Presstek.  The Compass is a rock solid machine.”