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Paper  | Agfa Graphics, Mortsel, Belgium  | 15 March 2012

Thermofuse CtP

The Next Level of Digital Platemaking

Digital platemaking without chemical processing

Just as computer-to-plate eliminated the variables that come with film imaging, processing and copying to plate, ThermoFuse technology makes it possible to do away with any remaining variables resulting from conventional computer-to-plate imaging and processing. ThermoFuse, such as it is used in Agfa’s Azura plate, is the next level of digital platemaking. There are no chemicals in the process. The laser and the laser only forms the printing image, and nothing affects it after exposure.

Removing the variables of chemical processing

Digital plate imaging such as it is used in current computer-to-plate systems forms a latent image on the plate using the heat or the light of a laser. This image is latent, which means it is not yet ready for printing. It may or may not be clearly visible on the plate. Chemical development transforms the latent image into a durable printing image such as it is needed for offset printing.

Although chemical plate development is an automated and tightly controlled process, it remains an essentially analogue step. The affect of the chemistry on the image varies depending on the temperature and exhaustion of the chemicals, the speed at which the plate travels through the processing unit, the thoroughness with which the plate is rinsed and treated with preservative gum and optionally, pre-heat or pre-wash steps. Chemical processing is analogue rather than truly digital. No matter how tightly you control it, it is only accurate within tolerances...

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