Years ago, as talk of removing the processing step from platemaking began, users were left wondering what they would have to sacrifice. Early solutions may have indeed required compromise, but today, professionals can enjoy outstanding image reproduction, productivity, run lengths, and consistency while completely eliminating the need for processing and the associated environmental impact. Kodak is one of the few companies to offer a truly process-free thermal solution in its SONORA XP Plates. Unlike other processless plates that may require a pre-rinse or wipe, SONORA XP Plates come off the platesetter ready to go—just image the plate, mount it on the press, and print.
Because customers require the best product on time and at the lowest cost, printers need to look for ways to make the process more efficient to improve profitability. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to squeeze expense out of the production cycle, and process-free plates make that easier by eliminating the processor and chemistry, freeing up valuable floor space, and reducing electricity and water demands. The result is a stronger bottom line.
The benefits of process-free plates are many: fast imaging, reduced waste, lower costs, and more. By removing the variability of processing chemistry, users can achieve more consistent results, plate after plate and job after job. SONORA XP Plates are designed for commercial printers of all sizes as well as large web publication printers and offset package printers, using a write-the-image, non-ablative technology that offers enhancements in imaging speed, resolution capability, and latent image contrast over Kodak’s THERMAL DIRECT Plates.
Post-imaging, SONORA XP Plates can go immediately to press, where a state-of-the-art coating technology and the physical properties of a lithographic press prepare the plate for print during normal start-up procedures. These plates provide customers the same resolution, reliability, accuracy, repeatability, and run length capability as traditionally processed thermal plates, while improving stability and reducing environmental impact. They have up to a 20 micron stochastic FM screening capability, and are good for runs up to 200,000 impressions with heatset/commercial coldset web presses, 100,000 with sheetfed presses, 50,000 for non-UV offset packaging applications, and 10,000 for UV-ink applications.
It is Kodak’s press-ready technology that enables KODAK SONORA XP Plates to bypass processing and have the un-imaged plate coating removed as part of the press startup sequence. An improved version of the develop-on-press technology used by more than 1,500 THERMAL DIRECT Non Process Plate users, press-ready technology uses the basic principles, mechanics, and components of lithographic printing to clean out the plate.
W.O. Jones Printers Ltd., a fourth-generation, family-owned, high-quality commercial lithographic printer in the UK, uses SONORA XP Plates in its facility. “The KODAK SONORA XP Plate has exceeded all our expectations, and the ability of the plate to hold the image has helped enormously,” says Andrew Langridge, Systems Manager at W.O. Jones. “We are constantly aware of our environmental responsibilities. By using the SONORA XP Plates we completely eliminated the need for processing chemistry, as well as the associated costs. We are reducing our energy consumption and printing all of our jobs on the same line of plates. The results are outstanding. Choosing the KODAK SONORA XP Plates was the best decision we have ever made.”