Analysis of the technical characteristics and development status of the UV-CTP plate-making system

Editor's note: UV-CTP technology refers to a CTP technology that uses UV lamps or UV lasers to directly make plates on a traditional PS plate, also known as CTcP technology.

At present, the UV-CTP plate-making machine of Punsh Graphix Company has developed to the fifth generation, the imaging quality and plate-making speed are obviously improved, and the running stability is good. According to sales personnel of Shanghai Saitu Printing Equipment Co., Ltd., the general agent of CTcP direct plate-making machine of Basyprint, the total number of UV-CTP plate-making machines in the world has reached 1500 in 2006.

With the increase of the light source power of the plate-making machine, the application of the new generation of DSI2 digital screening technology, and the continuous introduction of high-sensitivity plate materials by many well-known plate manufacturing companies in the world, the application of UV-CTP technology has been rapidly developed. At present, UV-CTP Plate-making machine has accounted for about 6% of the global total CTP plate-making machine.

Introduction to UV-CTP technology

1. UV-CTP technical characteristics

(1) Adopt digital plate-making process, save the output of film and other links, and reduce the loss of graphic information transmission.

(2) Adopt square dots to improve resolution, compress output files, shorten RIP processing time and data transfer time, and improve platemaking efficiency.

(3) The plate-making operation can be carried out under the bright room (yellow light safety light).

(4) The conventional PS version and medicine package are adopted, the price is low, and the comprehensive cost is lower than the conventional CTP.

(5) The laser head of the plate-making machine has a long life (about 3000h), a low price (about 10,000 yuan), and low maintenance cost.

(6) The equipment model is complete, you can choose automatic, semi-automatic or manual version.

2. UV-CTP technology development trend

In recent years, the introduction of 365nm and 375nm semiconductor UV lasers has brought new dawn to UV-CTP. The UV-CTP system using violet laser light source will soon occupy the market and achieve good economic benefits.

The future UV-CTP technology will present the following advantages:

(1) The plate making speed is faster;

(2) Higher accuracy;

(3) Better compatibility with traditional plates.

It can be predicted that with the development of semiconductor UV laser technology and the high-sensitivity process of plate materials, UV-CTP will be the product of the combination of the advantages of both violet laser CTP and UV-CTP. [next]

UV-CTP plate making equipment

According to the light source used, the UV-CTP plate-making machine can be divided into two types: ultraviolet light UV-CTP and ultraviolet laser UV-CTP. The former is like the UV-Setter series plate-making machine from Punch Graphix, and the latter is like XPose from Luscher! UV-Setter series plate-making machine.

The earliest ultraviolet light UV-CTP, CTcP plate-making machine appeared in drupa1995 printing exhibition, three companies Purup-Eskofot, basysPrint and Esko-Graphics have successively launched the purple laser / laser direct plate-making machine prototype.

Especially after 2000, basys Print commercialized it and launched four series of plate-making machines such as UV-Setter 5, 6, 7, and 11, which added vitality to the CTP market and attracted investment from many small and medium-sized printing companies. In 2004, Punch Graphix acquired basys Print and renamed CTcP technology as UV-CTP technology. As of 2006, at least 1500 UV-CTP platesetters have been installed worldwide, and 70 have been installed in mainland China, mainly distributed in Guangdong (Dongguan, Shenzhen), Zhejiang, Shanxi, and Northeast China.

In recent years, as Photonics and Power Technology have successively launched 355nm, 365nm and 375nm ultraviolet laser diodes, the laser power has gradually increased, and the requirements for plate sensitivity have been reduced accordingly, which has brought greater development for the application of UV-CTP technology. space. Among them, the 375nm ultraviolet laser diode launched by Nichia Chemical has a power of 800mW, and has been developing corresponding CTP users. At the 2006 All In Print Exhibition in Shanghai, the Swiss Luscher company exhibited the XPose! UV-CTP new plate-making machine, using a 405nm ultraviolet laser, with a plate-making speed of 20 sheets per hour. Plate making machine.

Currently Luscher has launched LuscherXpose! Three models of 130UV, 160UV and 190UV ultraviolet laser UV-CTP plate-making machine, and began to sell globally, to April 2007 has sold more than 20 units. It uses a 405nm laser light source, which is relatively close to the photosensitive peak of the conventional PS plate, and the PS plate can be used for direct plate making.

In June 2007, Longma Aluminum Group held a "CTdP System" press conference in Beijing. Luscher provided UV-CTP platesetters (XPose! 75, 130, 160, 180, and 190). Longma Group produced Longma-CTdP Version, the two together, will make printing digitalization from "noble" to "civilian", will have a positive impact on the application of UV-CTP technology in China.

The rapid development of the UV-CTP plate-making machine is determined by its technological progress. [next]

UV-CTP plate-making imaging principle

1. The imaging principle of UV-Setter plate-making machine of basys Print

Basys Print's UV-Setter series plate-making machine utilizes Texas Instruments' digital grating processing technology (DLP, DLP2) to develop into digital screening imaging technology (DSI, DSI2), using an ultraviolet light source (high pressure mercury lamp, 350 ~ 420nm) Direct exposure to the traditional PS version of plate making.

The core component microscope (DMD) of the plate-making machine is a 4cm2 wafer with tens of thousands of ultra-fine lenses. Each ultra-fine lens processes the image information from the RIP and then exposes it. The working principle is that the ultraviolet light emitted from the UV light source modulates the exposure data into an ultraviolet light signal through DSI, and then focuses the light onto the DMD, refracts the required light, passes through the optical lens, and reaches the surface of the plate to implement accurate exposure imaging; Unwanted light is deflected by the digital microscope and cannot pass through the optical lens to reach the plate surface.

At present, with the application of DSI2 technology, the increase of light source power, the use of continuous scanning and the improvement of plate sensitivity, the plate-making speed of the UV-Setter series plate-making machine is further increased, up to 25-30 sheets / hour.

2. Luscher Xpose! Series UV-CTP imaging principle

This series of plate-making machine adopts 405nm UV laser light source to expose the traditional PS plate. It can apply frequency modulation, amplitude modulation and mixed screening methods, and the imaging speed can be compared with Xpose! The thermal version is comparable.

The biggest advantage of this system is that it only needs to replace the laser head to realize the conversion between UV laser and thermal laser (830nm).

Luscher Xpose! Series UV-CTP platesetter is made by its Xpose! The CTP is improved, using a unique laser set and inner drum design, and the ultra-close distance of the optical components and the plate, ensuring the maximum energy transfer efficiency and exposure accuracy. According to Lars Janneryd, Vice President of Lushcer, Xpose! The 130UV plate-making machine can complete the exposure of 1000mm × 700mm specifications in 2 minutes, with a production capacity of 20 sheets / hour. Xpose! The 160UV and 190UV plate-making machines use a double-plate exposure structure, and the plate-making capacity is doubled. [next]

Problems faced by UV-CTP technology

1. The promotion and application of UV-CTP technology will be subject to certain resistance

In order to highlight its own characteristics (using the traditional PS version), the owner of CTcP technology, basys Print, has applied for a CTcP registered trademark, which will inevitably lead to a standout, and its promotion strength is slightly insufficient. Other industry giants have seriously affected the promotion speed of UV-CTP technology due to reasons such as unfitness or unwillingness to intervene. The CTdP jointly launched by China's Longma Aluminum Group and Luscher also faces the same problem.

For any new plate-making technology, only competition will develop and it will have its commercial value and greater profits. This can also be proven from the failure of the promotion of the anhydrous CTP version launched by Toray Japan a few years ago, because no other large companies participated in the competition, and finally declared failure, which became a "short-lived". Also failed to promote the application in the industry.

2.UV-CTP plate-making machine is facing price pressure

At present, the price of UV-CTP plate-making equipment is still relatively expensive. This situation is similar to the case where the price of CTP plate materials is high. On the one hand, manufacturers have to allocate the early development costs to the products; on the other hand, with the market demand, more equipment suppliers will join the ranks of competition, and the final result is that the price of the plate-making machine will be further reduced to achieve It is at the same level as the price of CTP platesetter.

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