Product Portfolio: Brillia HD Pro V plate from Fujifilm

The plate brings the benefits of high quality, low-chemistry plate production to users of violet CTP systems, and is suitable for commercial and newspaper print, finds Sachin Shardul

09 Mar 2011 | By Sachin Shardul

During PrintPack 2011, Fujifilm India showcased the Brillia HD Pro-V a low chemistry plate which was one of the star highlights at the show.

When is a processless plate not a processless plate? When it’s a chemistry-free plate! But is a chemistry-free plate really chemistry-free? How could it be, it’s made of stuff?

Whether you classify a plate as chemistry-free, processless, processed-less or low-chemistry, is to some extent academic: they all share the same admirable aims of reducing the environmental impact of the platemaking process by reducing the amount of chemistry, wash water and energy consumption used.

When it launched Brillia HD Pro-V, Fujifilm tried to clarify things by referring to its new plate as ‘low-chemistry’ –  although the plate isn’t conventionally processed with separate developer, wash and finishing solutions, it does use a combined wash-out and gumming step with a single finishing fluid.

Padmakar Ojale, country general manager, graphic arts at Fujifilm India, says: "Brillia HD Pro-V brings the benefits of high quality, low-chemistry plate production to users of violet CTP systems, and is suitable for all commercial and newspaper print."

Brillia HD Pro-V is the latest Fujifilm plate designed to simplify the pre-press process, as it uses less chemistry, requires less maintenance of the finishing unit and produces less waste than its processed alternatives.

In addition, the replenisher normally required to control the pH or conductivity of the bath is no longer needed, as it is kept stable through a daily top-up of a few millilitres of pure water.

Ojale says: "Thanks to Fujifilm’s ‘high sensitivity polymerisation technology, Brillia HD Pro-V also brings unmatched quality, consistency and productivity to plate production, being capable of 1-99% resolutions and able to print FM screens."

The Brillia HD Pro-V plate uses considerably less chemistry than processed plate alternatives, with reductions of up to 75% typically being possible. As a result, Fujifilm has created a new plate classification called ‘low-chemistry’ that summarises clearly the benefits of these solutions.

In line with Fujifilm’s long term strategy of offering choice, the Brillia HD range of CTP plates comprises both violet and thermal versions, with processed, low-chemistry and processless derivatives.

The range is unique in that all plates are rated at 1-99% resolution, 200lpi and capable of printing 20µm FM, and is the only range on the market capable of delivering consistently high quality irrespective of the plate used.

Long-standing technology
Presstek pioneered processless plates over a decade ago with its PearlDry thermal ablative plates.

Subsequently, the market moved on with the launch of other thermal plates: those that needed a water wash (Presstek Aurora); those ‘developed on press’ where unexposed areas of the plate are removed during makeready in the first few revolutions (Fuji Pro-T and Kodak Thermal Direct); and those that use a combined washout and gumming unit to remove unexposed areas and provide an oxidisation resisting gum layer (Agfa Azura TS).

The photopolymer technology used in processed violet CTP plates differs from thermal CTP, as it needs a pre-heat step to complete the cross-linking of the polymers prior to processing.

Kamlesh Tripathi, national manager technical support at Fujifilm India, says: "Fujifilm opted to develop a plate that required a pre-heat. This does require that there is a processor, but it also ensures that customers with violet platesetters can access a low-chemistry plate."

The only machines that can’t use the Pro-V are the earliest violet versions with 5MW lasers designed for silver plates.

However, the majority of the installed base of upgraded violet machines uses laser diodes of at least 30MW, which are powerful enough to expose the Pro-V and with no loss of speed thanks to the plate’s high sensitivity of 0.045-0.09MJ/cm2," says Tripathi.

Cost savings
Firms that are already running violet photopolymer plates also save because they can use their existing processors too. "We’ve had a lot of interest from people who can realise the benefits of the latest plate technology without having to invest in new technology," says Ojale.

For firms running violet silver plates, or those switching to violet, Fuji partner Heights and Glunz & Jensen have developed a range of finishing units designed for the Pro-V.

The HD range is available in 85cm and 115cm widths for B2 and B1 formats respectively and is designed for firms using more than 250 sq/metre of plates per week. For lower volumes, the MD is available in 85cm- and 62cm-wide versions for B2 and B3 printers.

Fuji has identified two target markets for Pro-V: high-volume B1 and B2 printers looking for lower cost and lower environmental impact platemaking systems; and low-volume B2 and B3 firms either looking for a simple cost-effective CTP set up or a way to cut costs and improve the environmental impact of platemaking using an existing violet platesetter.

At the high-end of the market, Ojale claims the photopolymer plates’ high speed makes them an attractive option for high-volume printers, estimating that for a line capable of producing 40 plates per hour, the hardware costs of a violet machine are around 40% lower than a comparable thermal line.

As a result, he argues that Pro-V may prove even more attractive to this market as the plate delivers lower costs without any speed penalty.

The price of Pro-V, which like all plates is subject to the size and duration of the contract, is said to be "a small premium" of 10-15% over the cost of processed photopolymer plates.

As a low-chemistry plate, there are chemical costs to be considered in the financial equation.

Ojale says: "The total cost of one bath wash and gum is around 40-50% lower than current chemistry. Litre for litre, it’s more expensive, but it’s doing two jobs, it’s cleaning and gumming. All the calculations we’ve done show there is saving."

Benefits of low chemistry
There are other benefits from the Pro-V’s low-chemistry formulation. As a combined wash and gum, there is no need for wash water, which can be 15 litre /m2, a cost saving and environmental benefit.

The Pro-V also uses much less chemistry; Tripathi says a typical B1 customer might use 450 litre  of developer and replenisher per month compared to 100 litre for Pro-V, a saving in itself, but it also reduces disposal costs.

The lifetime of the chemistry is the same as polymer developer at two months or 2,000 sq/metre, whichever is reached first. Fuji has also simplified the replenisher, with Pro-V only needing a replenisher for volume and heat evaporation.

"In this product, the chemistry has been more of a challenge than the plate," says Tripathi.

No compromise
On press the plate makes no compromises. If anything, its 1-99% resolution at 200 lpi and support for 20 micron FM is better than the LP-NV2. Pressroom characteristics are the same as LP-NV, and the plate is as good if not better for 200,000 impressions and can be baked for longer runs. It is also compatible with UV inks.

Having invested heavily in making Pro-V cleaner and greener through developing the developer, it’s easy to see why it wanted to make sure it made the most of the message that it’s low-chemistry, rather than no-chemistry, otherwise it would have hidden from view the benefits of Pro-V.



Agfa Azura TS
This thermal chemistry-free plate uses its ThermoFuse technology to harden the image areas of the plate.
Sensitivity     200mJ/cm2
Run length     100,000
UV ink resistant    No
Contact    TechNova Imaging Systems +91 22 4220 0300 /

Agfa Azura V
V, is the violet plate Agfa announced at Ipex. Like the Pro-V it uses a pre-heat and a wash/gum step.
Sensitivity    n/s
Run length    200,000
Bakable    Yes
UV ink resistant    n/s
Contact    TechNova Imaging Systems +91 22 4220 0300 /

Fujifilm Brillia HD PRO-T
Significantly the 120mJ/cm2 sensitivity matches processed plates and means there is no penalty in imaging speed.
Sensitivity     120mJ/cm2
Run length    100,000
Bakable`    No
UV ink resistant    No
Contact    Fujifilm India +91 22 42364000 /

Kodak Thermal Direct Non Process
At 325mJ/cm2 the plate is slow, meaning there will be a productivity penalty or the need to pay more for a higher powered platesetter.
Sensitivity     325mJ/cm2
Run length    100,000
Bakable    n/s
UV ink resistant    n/s
Contact    Kodak India +91 22 66416300 /

Presstek Aurora PRO
This uses a non-ablative process and needs just a water wash before printing.
Sensitivity    150mJ/cm2
Run length    25-50,000
Bakable    No
UV ink resistant    Yes

TexhNova Viogreen
It is an eco-friendly plate, as it totally eliminates the use of water and developer for processing the plate.
Sensitivity    n/s
Run length    200,000
Bakable    Yes
UV ink resistant    n/s
Contact    TechNova Imaging Systems +91 22 4220 0300 /