Computer-to-plate (CTP) technology is used on a regular basis in offset, screen-printing workshops, and flexography. As for pad printing industry, computer to plate equipment – laser plate-etching systems – are introduced only recently. However, with newest developments, laser based systems have the potential to conquer pad printing market place over the coming couple of years.

CTP benefits: Laser systems allow the user to convert computer to plate making machine to a best etched picture in just 1 to 5 minutes. Costs of movies, chemicals, consumables shipping, exposure units and removal of hazardous materials are removed, as are maintenance contracts on processing tools and prices of outsourcing steel plate making. Double-sided laser etched plates can accommodate up to 4 images, which reduces plate usage.

There are four steps to make a plate: import the graphic file into the device ‘s software, apply the halftone design on the image, establish the etch-depth parameter inside the laser ‘s operating program, and press start. Laser-imaged graphics are first generation so there’s no loss of resolution.

Etch depth and halftone pattern can be correctly fine tuned to complement the type of image you plan to rheology, the viscosity, and print of the printer ink used, the speed of the printing machine, so the durometer of the printing pads used. As specifications can be kept on the computer, resulting photo quality is completely repeatable.

Laser-based CTP programs can accommodate uv ctp lasers for fine, combination fine/bold, and bold graphics. Laser-engraved plates have a straight-walled etching and more precise inkwell than polymer cliches and thick or thin metal plates.

Choosing a CTP system: Laser type. These days, three styles of lasers have actually been used to build pad-printing plates: diode-pumped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet (YAG), Ytterbium fiber laser (YAG wavelength), and CO2. The primary differences between these devices are maintenance, spot size, and ability to etch various materials.

Maintenance – The diode pumped YAG incorporates a diode bar which heats up which enables it to warp after aproximatelly 10,000 hours of use, requiring costly replacement. The Ytterbium fiber and CO2 lasers don’t have any diode bar so they have no maintenance requirements for as much as 70,000 hours of operation. Spot size – Because the wavelength associated with a YAG laser (1.064 microns) is 10 times smaller compared to the CO2 wavelength (10.64 microns), the former is able to produce a lot more detailed pictures than CO2. Materials – YAG lasers are ideally suited for metals. A CO2 laser beam is substantially better assimilated by organic materials – wood, textiles, glass, plastics, paper, and rubber.

Software. To ensure seamless integration into the workflow of the target business, laser application should have the ability to import are,ai (Adobe Illustrator),,dxf (CorelDRAW, AutoCad), and also,bmp (bitmaps, gradients, process-color images) files. In order to achieve halftone or dot design, the application must have the ability to use different hatches (or separation anhubg the laser lines) to the image. For fine line graphics a small hatch can be utilized, for bold graphics a bigger hatch will prevent “scooping”. The electricity and frequency of the laser therapy has to be adjustable to finely tune the plate depth to deliver probably the very best printing plate for the sort of ink, production speed and substrate. The target level of etch in the plate is,001″

System features. The cron ctp have several available features to consider: Size of system footprint – stand alone or benchtop system. Vector-tracing software. Micro-adjust focal distance. Plate registration systems. Particulate evacuation systems. Pre-etch laser pointer. Availability of auto load.

It may appear like slightly strange that Europe appears to be at the front of this technology, one normally thinks of Japan or perhaps the Usa for originality but for once legislation could have been a help rather than a hindrance. Europe has improved it’s expectations of business meeting environmental requirements in a way that is forcing improvements in the workplace.

Traditional film making uses chemical compounds that are hazardous in use and tough to dispose of, perhaps this has improved the demand for earlier film items to enhance. Many litho printers (us included) will have made use of laser plates at one time or perhaps another for easy short run one colour jobs, it’s quick and easy, printed directly from the desktop. The difficulties are damping difficulties which make these plates tough to run but now it’s feasible to formulate good metal plates utilizing inkjet film. Each and every year the report from DRUPA is the progress the printing industry is making in CTP.