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Technical Development Award Given to Process-less Thermal CTP Plate SUPERIA ZN for Newspaper Printing in Japan

February 25, 2016

FUJIFILM Global Graphic Systems Co., Ltd. (President: Hisanori Makaya; hereinafter “FFGS”) has been awarded the Technical Development Award by the Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association for its process-less thermal CTP plates SUPERIA ZN for newspaper printing, launched in July last year.

The Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association grants its Technical Development Award to manufacturers that contribute to the development of new newspaper production technologies in order to encourage their commercialization and reward development efforts. The award is for newspaper production equipment and systems on display at newspaper production technology show in JANPS (Japan Newspaper Production Show), which is held once every three years. The winners are selected by the Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association's technical committee. This is the first time that the award is given for the consumable manufacturer since its establishment in 1995.

SUPERIA ZN was selected for being “the first of the new eco-friendly printing plates supporting newspaper web presses to be successfully commercialized and adopted by Japanese newspaper companies”; furthermore, it has “contributed to reducing production costs and labor at newspaper companies with a process-less technology that completely eliminates the development processing while maintaining high plate durability and superior printability.” On this basis, the association has praised SUPERIA ZN as “a technology expected to become the mainstream of the future newspaper industry”.

The board of the association held the award ceremony on January 20. On this occasion, FFGS's President, Hisanori Makaya gave a speech on plate development history and future initiatives: “People in the newspaper industry have been supporting us since the era of film cameras, and have long purchased our plate materials from the very first offset PS plates up to the current CTP plates. Since putting preheat-less HN-N on the market in 2003, the CTP plates have been making consistent improvements while taking into account our customers' requests. The technology developed in this process allows us to create process-less plates that eliminate the need for a processor. We will keep working to develop innovative solutions, leveraging all of the Group's resources so that we can contribute to further boost the quality and efficiency in the newspaper industry while reducing environmental impact.”

Process-less Thermal CTP Plate SUPERIA ZN for Newspaper Printing

Plates for newspaper printing are required to have a high level of durability to endure the high speed and large workload of web presses, as well as adaptability in terms of printing quality, stability and systems. By using Fujifilm's unique formulation and improving the accuracy of manufacturing processes, SUPERIA ZN has realized process-less plates that meet all of the above requirements, while eliminating the need for alkali development or gumming.

● Two major breakthroughs in adapting to newspaper printing

In the course of developing process-less plates for newspaper printing, two technical breakthroughs were required - namely, improving plate durability while maintaining on-press development ability, and preventing the edge toning that is typical of newspaper printing.

  1. 1. Improving plate durability
    In order to achieve the higher plate durability that is required for high-speed printing on web presses, new technologies were introduced for both substrate and photosensitive layer formulation. Photosensitive layer formulation has been enhanced based on process-less plates - which already have a proven track record in the field of commercial printing - in order to more efficiently promote the polymerization reactions caused by exposure energy. This improvement allows the plate durability for newspaper printing to be achieved. As for substrate, ultra-fine grain structure has been optimized in order to boost the substrate's adhesion to the photosensitive layer. Keeping the grains within an appropriate size range, while maintaining uniform surface roughness, has enabled balancing of plate durability with other aspects of performance at a high level.
  2. 2. Preventing edge toning
    Insufficient hydrophilic performance on the edges during on-press development can cause toning. A new technology has been employed to prevent this, allowing improvement in hydrophilic performance within the very limited area of the edge portions. Controlling the hydrophilic area with great accuracy so as not to negatively affect the image area has successfully prevented edge toning.
● Advantages of introducing SUPERIA ZN

Positive feedback has already been received from newspaper companies introduced SUPERIA ZN.
The fact that processor maintenance and liquid management are no longer required is being praised as a particularly important advantage. Cutting down the workload of processor cleaning, which used to take several hours of work by two or three people per machine, leads to considerable labor saving in the workplace. Positive feedback on eco-friendliness and cost benefits have also been received, such as the Yomiuri Shimbun reporting that employing process-less plates at two lines out of three at a factory has allowed them to cut waste liquid down to approximately one third, and the Chunichi Shimbun reporting that the quantity of developer used has gone down and processor roller rewinding is no longer necessary, reducing material costs and waste liquid processing costs.
With regard to plate durability, the Chunichi Shimbun's Tsujimachi plant reported that they have now reached a sufficient level to allow stability in printing the Chunichi Shimbun's Sunday edition, which can reach up to 600,000 copies and 150,000 impressions. Concerning handling, the Yomiuri Shimbun reports that SUPERIA ZN plates can be used just like conventional processed plates, without putting limits on web presses and printing materials; and the Yomiuri Shimbun's Kiba Plant pointed out that SUPERIA ZN plates have shown improvement over processed plates regarding resistance to scratches. In terms of quality, each company have given appraisal of how SUPERIA ZN plates compare favorably with processed plates, and offer impeccable stability.

FFGS will continue to develop cutting-edge materials and equipment as the leading company in the field of printing plate materials, and contribute to the growth of newspaper/printing industry.