Can the most popular digital offset printing plate

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Can digital offset printing plates be as cheap as analog printing plates? 10 years ago, when the CTP era began at the 1995 exhibition in druba, many printing houses wondered why the cost of digital printing plates was twice that of analog offset printing plates. They got many explanations, but none of them was accurate. Therefore, people can not help asking: will digital printing plates eventually become cheaper

not long ago, I visited Bonifatius druck printing company near Paderborn, Germany. Since the drupa exhibition was held in 2000, this printing company has purchased a basysprint plate making machine using silicon controlled technology, because it can use ordinary UV photosensitive contact printing plate like the traditional printing plate in the printing industry. Compared with those printing companies that have purchased the computer direct plate making system and used thermal or UV photosensitive technology to double the plate making cost, the plate making cost of Bonifatius druck can still remain at the original level. In less than a year and a half, the saved plate making cost alone was enough for Bonifatius druck printing company to recover its investment in plate making machine. This also proves that the decision of Bonifatius druck printing company is very wise

at the beginning of this year, Bonifatius planned to purchase another plate making machine. This time, he focused on thermal and violet laser equipment. Since the cost of printing plates produced by these devices is 80% higher than that of today's contact printing plates, Bonifatius decided to purchase the follow-up models of the basysprint plate making machine

the only thing that puzzles people is the debate between the salespersons of different printing plate agents about the basysprint plate making machine. They claim that due to the sharp increase in production and the increasingly fierce market competition, the price of digital printing plates will soon fall to the level of contact printing plates (or even lower). I am willing to explore these predictions and the possibility of the decline of digital printing plate prices in depth

price of simulated printing plate

the control of the experimental process is realized through the automatic control of single chip microcomputer. In the early 1990s, no printing plate dealer could become the market leader. The two persistent leaders of the printing plate seller Polaroid (then a subsidiary of the Japanese Sun Chemical Company) made the decision to become the market leader. The company invested in the construction of new highly automated printing plate production workshops in Germany and the United States, and won many annual contracts by providing effective sales means such as attractive prices. This will not only lead to the decline of printing plate prices in the next five years, but also minimize the profits of printing plate production. Although the production level of printing plates is very high, such profits are still too low

as a result, many other printing plate dealers (and their parent companies) lost interest in the printing plate market and sold their businesses to large dealers, such as polaroid and Agfa. The printing plate production departments of Kalle Hoechst, Howson topography and DuPont have been merged into Agfa. In 1998, Kodak merged its printing plate business with Polaroid to form Kodak Polaroid printing group. The two managers of Polaroid subsequently acquired ll anitec, a company with relatively standardized management of freudorfer horse, from an international paper company. Just last year, Agfa also acquired Italy's Lastra. This year, Kodak bought back 50% of the shares held by sunchem in Polaroid. After being acquired by Kodak, Cleo will also become a printing plate dealer (by purchasing two printing plate manufacturers)

the fate of the international printing plate market is therefore in the hands of three global distributors - Agfa, Fujifilm and Kodak - which produce 75% of the printing plates in the world. Even so, in the past decade, they have not been able to increase the price of analog contact printing plates. Analog printing plate has become a kind of consumables, and its production technology is mainly in the hands of small enterprises other than the three major enterprises

the price of digital printing plate

people can realize that the coating and packaging cost of digital thermal printing plate is not higher than that of analog printing plate in principle as long as they turn around the offset printing plate production line. But why are their prices much higher

the common explanation is that it is very expensive to develop highly sensitive printing plates. Silver based printing plates contain a lot of precious metal silver. It is very expensive to switch to a new production process, and it also needs to pay a great price in the process of bringing a product to the market

I think these explanations are groundless, because when a company wants to develop analog printing plates or turn its focus to digital printing plates, it needs to have a research and development department, which can help them avoid higher costs

is it because the materials contained in the silver based printing plate are more expensive than those contained in the polyester printing plate that their cost can reach twice that of the analog printing plate

those sellers who produce contact printing plates and thermal plates on the same production line assured me that, in fact, the cost of switching to thermal plate production is not very high

the promotion of new products must include some fixed costs, but these companies have been introducing new and improved contact printing plates for several years, and have not raised the price of products

high profit return

the main reason for doubling the price of digital printing plates is the strong desire of sellers to obtain high profits in the process of technology conversion and avoiding the price war launched by the two active managers of polaron. Here are a few examples to illustrate this problem

in the past few years, all plate distributors have begun to provide complete plate making production lines using thermal and violet laser plate printing technology. If a printing company decides to adopt CTP technology, the price of printing plates will be much lower than the price on the quotation when calculating the usage of printing plates at the end of the year. In terms of plate printing contracts, as a report from Canada's zarwan research company shows, plate making machines have to make big concessions in price, while developing equipment is usually given to customers as a "free" gift

if the technology of a plate making machine is advanced enough to produce the only printing plate, such as the silver plate of Agfa, then the seller of this plate making machine will have a lot of money. Companies that buy violet laser systems and resin versions will be slightly better because they can buy products from two or three plate sellers

the same problem should be faced in the process of turning to non processing printing plate. Pressek, the first company to provide such printing plates, is a typical example. Those companies that have purchased the dimension plate making machine for pressek plate production will have to rely entirely on pressek's pricing and its production capacity. This is also the reason why Heidelberg turned its di printing machine business to develop plate materials from Japan. This change can make the materials cheaper and more important, but at the same time, this decision also means that its printing plate customers now rely entirely on Heidelberg

compared with the situation of Bonifatius druck, you can only applaud the decision made by Bonifatius management to continue to use the simulation plate

reduce competition

when Agfa wanted to acquire Lastra two years ago, many analysts did not know why no competitors raised objections to the European Enterprise Association authority. This year, Kodak's idea of acquiring Corio caused an uproar in the United States and Europe, because the acquisition plan means that some competitors will disappear from the market again

after the 2004 drupa exhibition, basysprint declared bankruptcy due to the asset crisis and was acquired by the Belgian punch group. Punch group is very familiar with the sales business of plate making machines because it acquired strobbe company in Belgium five years ago. In the 1990s, strobbe developed Polaris, a fast newspaper plate making machine. Agfa successfully took over its sales business and immediately became a leader in the global newspaper market. (the competitive newspaper plate making machine of basysprint company uses the traditional printing plate.)

strobbe, Saikang and basysprint formed a new punch Graphix at the beginning of this year, which was listed on the London Stock Exchange. In May this year, Agfa extended strobbe's production contract for Polaris plate making machine. Not long after, basysprint announced to its dealers that it would stop producing and selling newspaper plate making machines that use economical contact printing plates

plate making machine

in the fall of 2004, Ascot announced that it would stop producing and selling plate making machines for commercial printing, because plate making machines can only make profits when they are sold together with plates. For the same reason, Cleo purchased two offset printing plate production plants in the United States and South Africa, and entrusted small dealers to act as agents for the production of printing plates. For example, ipagsa company in Spain. Although this can help Creo to realize the binding sales of plate making machines and plates, it also makes them go through a painful learning stage, because thermal plates have very high requirements for production, delivery and maintenance

because Cleo tried hard to change its business model and wanted to exchange the price concessions made on the printing plate for the full price sales of the plate making machine, their decision had little effect. When the three major printing plate dealers sold plate making machines and developing machines at low prices and kept the printing plate prices high, Cleo could not go with the tide. If you want to sell plate making machines and developing equipment at low profits, you must increase sales while maintaining the high price of printing plates. Obviously, Cleo has no strength to do so

why is the price so high

maybe we will hear the fairy tale that digital printing plates will soon be as cheap as analog printing plates, but the three major dealers cannot face all this

there are two factors that will keep the digital printing plate price at a high level. First of all, in the past decade, the cost of materials and labor has increased a lot, but the printing plate dealers have been unable to add these extra costs to the price of contact printing plates, so they use the price of digital printing plates to make up for these losses. In addition, Agfa has also increased the sales prices of analog and digital printing plates in Europe to cope with the continuous growth of raw materials and transportation costs

secondly, all printing houses using CTP system have to rely on those dealers for survival at least in recent years, so they are willing to pay extra fees for printing plates. The cost of printing plate only accounts for 2% of the total printing cost. Moreover, as the price factor will have the same impact on all printing plants using digital printing plates (whether thermal or UV photosensitive), the price of printing plates will not disrupt the competition between them

however, as Bonifatius druck mentioned at the beginning of the article, it is also very intentional to use C to finally record the stress state changes in the material during the impact process through piezoelectric sensors and other equipment. The TP system does not mean that the printing factory must

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