CTP Alliance Debuts at Nexpo

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By: Jim Rosenberg

The annual Nexpo newspaper technology trade show and conference opened Saturday morning with formal announcement of an alliance among computer-to-plate hardware, software and consumables suppliers. The initiative also identified its first two CTP system sales.

In the booth of Southern Lithoplate, CEO Edward A. Casson III announced that in addition to its Viper 830 and Cobra 830 plates, his Wake Forest, N.C., company will sell the PlateRite News 2000 thermal platesetter (E&P, Sept. 2004) and TrueFlow News workflow software from Screen (USA), the Nela RAO punch-bender from Nela, and the NewsWay workflow solution from ProImage America.

“The entire package is less expensive when you come under the Southern Lithoplate umbrella,” said the plate manufacturer’s sales and marketing vice president, Steven P. Mattingly.

According to Mattingly, the arrangements are not exclusive. “We have purposely made sure the market stays open,” he said, adding, “We are the lead marketing and sales arm for the Screen News 2000,” and will function similarly for the Nela and ProImage products.Processors for platemaking lines will be those from Glunz & Jensen and E-graph. Besides the Screen and Southern Litho booths, PlateRite News also was shown by Konica Minolta.

The double workflow offering targets different customers. NewsWay generally will aim for those with more than 50,000 circulation, TrueFlow for those with smaller circulations or running commercial work as well. Executives said that whereas TrueFlow is a strong commercial-printing solution, NewsWay was written for newspaper needs and would have to be rewritten to serve commercial printing.

Furthermore, ProImage, headquartered in Israel and with offices in Princeton, N.J., was acquired by Agfa in 2004 — but with assurances then and now that its sales channels remain independent. It will determine its “own destiny [and] we support that fully,” Hans Gerinckx told E&P. As far as teaming up with potential Agfa competitors, “I don’t see any problem with that,” added Agfa’s worldwide sales manager for newspapers.

Sheila Nysko, Agfa North American business development manager for newspaper systems, called it a good decision “because workflow is a very good business.” While pointing to benefits (among them, “no fingerpointing”) of bundling a total solution from a single source, Nysko said, “We’re open — we’re giving the customer the opportunity to choose” what it believes to be the best fit. In any event, Agfa has moved on with its own new software, not the least of which is Arkitex workflow and Affirma process control and remote diagnostics — developed to monitor Agfa’s and others’ output systems components.

ProImage America Chief Operating Officer John J. Iolacci said he expected the partnership to further both companies’ market penetration. The browser-based NewsWay Lite includes modules for edition planning and tracking, imposition and page pairing, furniture burning, output management and security. Germany’s Nela, with offices in Oakdale, Minn., will supply the Nela RAO, which automatically positions single or double plates over electronically controlled stops that align the plates for proper punching and bending. The RAO can be upgraded on site to video detection of register marks on exposed plates emerging from the processor.

Screen USA’s headquarters, in Rolling Meadows, Ill., and what was probably its first PlateRite News customer, Korea Daily News (E&P Online, Feb. 8, 2005), are both in suburban Chicago. So Nexpo may have been a fitting venue to announce the first PlateRite News sales under its new partnership with Southern Litho.

The first installation in a multi-site CTP sale to Paxton Media will go to the Owensboro (Ky.) Messenger-Enquirer. A buyer of Southern Litho’s plates for 15 years, Paxton said it was in CTP discussions with its plate supplier for almost two years. A plates and platesetter combination also will go to the Bradford (Pa.) Era.

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