I response to experience with computer to plate technology, I work for a
commercial printer in Phoenix, Arizona that uses computer to plate. We
currently only use it for our small Ryobi one color press although there
has been discussion of trying a larger system for the bigger presses.
We use a Xante 8200 Printer/Platemaker which uses a 12x18 "plastic" plate
and is capable of up to 1200 dpi. It has worked out to be a very efficient
system allowing us to go directly from the desktop to the plate to the
I do not have unit costs on the plates but I do know that they are cheaper
than the metal plates we used previously. They are not good for as many
impressions as a metal plate but most times we are not printing large
quantity on the Ryobi so it does not matter. The quality of screens and
half tones is good and the only time we will use a metal plate is on a
larger run that has halftones. (rare)
Environmentally we have almost eliminated the processing of metal plates
for that press and the new plate wash that goes with the plates is
The Xante has been excellent on speed, quality and low maintenance. We also
use it for doing full size proofs and usually run a test plate on paper
before we run the actual plate which saves on wasting plates. The process
is very fast, usually one can output a plate in under five minutes.
CTP has worked out great for us for this press using this equipment. As I
mentioned before, we have discussed larger systems or using plate material
in our imagesetter to produce plates for the larger presses as well.
Perhaps when costs come down and technology advances we will go with CTP
for all presses.