Agfa has announced a new chemistry-free thermal printing plate, the Adamas, together with a dedicated Adamas clean-out unit.
These are grained and anodized aluminium plates that build on Agfa’s proven ThermoLink plate technology. This uses a photopolymer process where the plate compounds cross link under exposure in the platesetter.
They are said to be good for runs of up to 350,000 without needing pre-heating. They can hold images with 240 lpi Sublima screening and are said to exhibit low dot gain. The plates have a coating that prevents oxidation and eliminates ablation. The plates exhibit strong image contrast so that they can be measured with densitometers and plate readers and operators can see the image when mounting the plates.
They are compatible with most 830nm external drum thermal platesetters currently available, requiring 90 mJ/cm2. They can be used for newspaper and commercial sheet-fed and webfed and cold-set to heat-set printing. They are compatible with both conventional and low-power curing UV inks though the run lengths falls to just 30,000 impressions with UV inks.
The plates need to be washed with a pH-neutral clean-out solution which is said not to use water. Agfa is offering two Adamas clean-out units, the COU85, which takes plates from 200 to 850mm wide, and the COU125, which takes plates from 200 to 1250mm wide. They can be used inline with a platsetter or separately. As with other Agfa plates, the surface is covered with a protective gum that also combines a pH neutral clean-out gum. This gum has a long bath life and there’s no need for a developer or replenisher. The clean out units can run at up to 160cm per minute and should be able to handle up to 50,000 m² of plates a year.
Iris Bogunovic, product manager for Thermal Plates, commented: “Adamas is a testament to our ECO3 sustainable innovation drivers, which bring ecology, economy and extra convenience to our customers. With Adamas, commercial printers enjoy every advantage of chem-free printing, combined with new technology, ThermoLink, that takes press performance and process efficiency to new heights.”