German print service provider, Penzler, has boosted its sustainability credentials and improved production quality and stability after investing in the KODAK SONORA XP Process Free Plate. The company is using the innovative plate as part of a remote-control CTP operation in conjunction with business partner, Eckenfelder GmbH & Co KG.
The KODAK SONORA XP Process Free Plate allows users to produce print without any dedicated plate processing equipment and materials. This thermal plate can be used immediately after digital imaging, cutting prepress production time. It also saves users the cost of purchasing and maintaining a plate-processing system, and reduces their energy, water and chemical consumption.
Mr. Ralf Penzler, Owner and Mrs Anke Penzler
Based in Andisleben, Thüringen, Penzler started out offering prepress services, software programming and computer hardware. Today it offers a wide range of print services, and about three years ago even began developing home automation apps.
Setting up a remote CTP operation
The company reached a significant milestone in 2006, when the film imaging service was superseded by computer-to-plate. Owner Ralf Penzler invested in a semi-automatic KODAK TRENDSETTER Q800 Platesetter, S-Speed version, as well as the KODAK PRINERGY EVO Workflow.
Equipped with this advanced technology, he forged a partnership with Eckenfelder GmbH & Co KG, based 45 km away in Wenigenlupnitz, Eisenach. The thermal platesetter and workflow system were installed on the premises of this publishing and printing company, which specialises in end-to-end production of photo products and advertising materials.
Whereas plate imaging for offset printing takes place on the printer’s premises, back in Andisleben, Penzler uses KODAK PREPS Imposition Software to create the impositions, operate the PRINERGY EVO Workflow, and monitors the output process online. Penzler has also developed software to aid communication between the two sites and help organise jobs more effectively.
Straight from the platesetter to printing
Penzler says that Druckerei Eckenfelder was interested in environmentally friendly production for years, and the SONORA XP Plate was an ideal fit: “The company really appreciates a process-free plate. Also, the overall plate production cost is lower – there is no need for a plate processor, and they do not have to worry about buying and disposing of chemicals.”
Penzler adds that the removal of the plate processing stage is an advantage for their type of business partnership: “Removing one of the variables means the overall production process is more stable. The straight-forward process also makes life easier for operators if they are on their own during the night shift and need a new plate. ”
The SONORA XP Plates are 800 x 1040mm (31.4 x 40.9 inches) with a thickness of 0.3mm (0.012 inches) for multicolour 3B sheet offset presses, and 459 x 525mm (18.0 x 20.6 inches) with a thickness of 0.15mm (0.006 inches) for smaller presses. The TRENDSETTER Q800 Platesetter handles a monthly throughput of between 1,000 and – during the busy season for calendar production in the second half of the year – up to 2,000 plates, using a 70 lines/cm AM (175lpi) screen.
Prior to the SONORA XP Plate, Penzler and Druckerei Eckenfelder were using the KODAK THERMAL DIRECT Non Process Plate: “For our operators, switching to the SONORA XP Plate was simple,” says Daniel Eckenfelder, co-owner of Eckenfelder GmbH & Co. KG. “It offers many benefits, including the exposed image, which is more visible on the imaged plate compared to the THERMAL DIRECT Plate. Plus it delivers greater consistency on high-volume runs of 100,000. ”
Around 90% of print runs are less than 50,000 copies. For jobs significantly above the 100,000 mark, possibly using uncoated stock, two plate sets are used as a back-up.
“With the SONORA XP Plate, our production process is extremely stable, ” continues Penzler. “Another great feature is the improved sensitivity (150 mJ/sq cm). This means the laser output of the TRENDSETTER Q800 Platesetter, S-Speed, could be reduced, further protecting the thermal head.”
Olivier Claude, General Manager for Print & Vice President Commercial Business EAMER, Kodak comments: “Penzler and Eckenfelder are showing how companies on separate sites can use KODAK Technology to team up and create commercial opportunities. In addition to the excellent print results, it is great to hear how the SONORA XP Plate is helping these businesses lower their production costs and increase margins while being environmentally conscious.”