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Print Process Descriptions: Printing Industry Overview: Plateless Processes

Plateless Processes
Applications - Process Overview - Equipment

Applications

The various plateless printing processes are quite different from the five major conventional printing processes described above. Unlike traditional processes, the new processes do not use printing plates or any other type of physical image carrier. Instead, they rely on sophisticated computer software and hardware to control the printing elements. Currently, however, the plateless processes are restricted largely to in-plant and quick printing applications.

Printing Type Process Overview

In terms of chemical use, the plateless processes have a number of advantages over traditional printing processes. Typically, make-ready preparations are done electronically so the various chemicals associated with prepress operations are largely avoided. Plateless processes do not require solvent washes and with a few exceptions (e.g., ink jet printers) dry (solventless) inks are used. Though the chemicals used in plateless processes depends on the particular process involved, important chemicals include Freon 11, inks, and hydrocarbon based solvents (GATF 1992b).

Equipment

A number of commercial plateless printing technologies exist including: electronic printing, ink jet printing, magnetography, ion deposition printing, direct charge deposition printing, and the Mead Cycolor Photocapsule process.
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