Apex to sell Cron CTP in UK

Apex Digital Graphics has signed an exclusive CtP and plate distribution deal with Chinese pre-press manufacturer Cron covering the UK and Ireland. Cron’s thermal and UV platesetters range from B3 through to VLF (very large format). All machines are available with up to three plate cassettes, or one high-capacity supply cassette, plus an auto-feeder. The UV CtP can work in daylight removing the need for a specialised production room. They feature a precision-manufactured suction drum complete with punching unit. These units will connect to any workflow or RIP that can output a TIFF file, though Apex is selling FFEI’s RealPro workflow.

Output speeds vary depending on the number of laser diodes configured in the particular unit. Bob Usher, managing director of Apex, explained: “The number of lasers can vary from 16 to 96. In B2 size plate terms, a 16 laser machine will image 14 plates per hour, whereas a 96 laser machine will image 56 plates per hour.”

Apex will also sell Cron’s Blackwood UV plates, but will also continue to market thermal plates from Fujifilm for the time being. Apex has tested the processors and plates with a number of UK users. Usher says: “We’ve got the plates running successfully in live installs, with no batch-to-batch issues, and we’re talking about plates that could offer a saving of £1.50 to £2.00 per square metre over the gang of three.”

Cron makes a Blue plate for standard inks and a Red plate for UV inks. Tests at Apex indicate that the Blue plate can print in excess of 30,000 impressions with UV ink. “We printed a test run of 34,000 on the Blue plate with UV inks before we saw the 50% dot go below 40%,” said Bob Usher. “The Red plate will go on and on – certainly it would be capable of handling a run of 250,000 to 300,000 on a UV press.”

Usher believes that this latest range of equipment, used in conjunction with the excellent and consistent plates being produced by Cron, could offer a 30% saving over what he describes as the “big three” producers. Cron itself is in the process of launching a “major assault” on Europe and North America in a bid to break the oligopoly of Agfa, Fujifilm and Kodak.

The list price for the 36in platesetter plus processor, which will take three plate sizes – 510 x 400mm, 745 x 605mm and 920 x 640mm – is around £68,000.






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