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Optimizing the Performance
of Your CTP Plates
Computer-to-plate (CTP) printing proves its
value to printers every day. The latest
refinements in CTP let you spend less for pre-
press and plate-making and get your plates on
At the same time, printers often face problems
with runnability and compatibility. Most involve
incompatibility between the new, "unbaked" CTP
plates and the fountain solutions, plate cleaners
and press washes developed for "baked" plates.
Suppliers of pressroom chemicals need to find
innovative ways to make their products work
more effectively with your CTP plates, finding
ingredients and combinations of ingredients that
do the job effectively and economically without
interacting negatively with plates. The answers
can make a huge difference in helping you get
more from CTP technology.
Most CTP plate runnability and compatibility
problems fit in 3 categories:
1. Image loss:
Chemical attack on the image area caused
by incompatible chemicals.
2. Ink/water balance:
CTP plates often have a smaller "operating
between sensitivity and ink washout.
3. Plate sensitivity:
The newer CTP plates are more sensitive.
In most cases, image loss is caused by
aggressive polar-type solvents, especially glycol
ethers and isopropyl alcohol. Reducing or
eliminating them in your fountain solutions, plate
cleaners and press washes will probably be the
most important thing you can do to prevent or
improve image loss.
Fountain solutions. Replacing glycol ethers
and alcohol with surfactants, surface tension
modifiers and/or other compatible solvents
reduces or eliminates image loss.
Plate cleaners. Alkaline cleaners are usually
the culprits. Use acid/emulsion type cleaners
instead. There’s a trade-off: acid/emulsion
cleaners don’t cause problems but they aren’t
usually as effective. You can’t have it both ways.
You have to make a choice.
Press washes. Check out your wash’s MSDS. If
it contains glycol ethers or alcohol, stop using it.
For instance, water-miscible washes are
notorious for containing glycol ethers and/or
Conventional press washes that don’t use these
solvents cause fewer problems and are usually
just as effective in every area except removing
paper coatings. In those cases, it will take a little
more elbow grease to do the job, but the end
result will be the same. Adding a small amount
of water to the wash will usually make it more
effective in removing paper coatings.
Fountain solution. Optimizing fountain solution
chemistry is crucial to keeping the narrowed
"operating window" as far open as possible.
Work closely with your pressroom chemistry
supplier to ensure that you’re using the right
combination of ink, fountain solution and water.
This is an area where constant vigilance and
routine maintenance play a big role. Monitor pH
and conductivity at least daily and maintain fresh
Plate Sensitivity: Fountain solutions are key
CTP plates are more sensitive than other PS or
Therefore it is key to use the right Chemicals.
Desensitizers and polymer film formers will help
to keep your non-image areas clean and
the most important key. Preventing ink
breakdown and image attack needs good
Changing to a less acidic formula from DSC
reduces ink breakdown and image attack. Your
ink/water balance also will remain longer in good
What comes next? Total Process free
Yes, but this will take time. Changes in CTP plate
technology will continue to come. With those
changes come opportunities and problems.
Today’s solutions won’t work forever, but
FUJIFILM DSC & VINA TÂM as your suppliers of
pressroom chemicals will keep on finding new
ways to help you optimize the printing
performance of your CTP plates.
… and for now VINA TÂM found newly re-
invented the good old
Thermal Plates. Try our new Plates.
DSC DS Chemport Products List:
ALU NET, DS UNIWASH,
FUJIFILM HUNT, STABILAT H 8000
ALCOHOL FREE PRINTING,
STABILAT S 7000, ACEDIN, GRAFO
801, GRAFO GEL, GRAFO DRIER,
ALKALIN, METALLICFOUNT, UV-
FOUNT, ECFOUNT, CLEANSET,
CONDISAL, ALKOLEX, AQUASEC,
FOAMEX, ROTOWASH 60,
NOVASOL, GW, UNIWASH,
ROLLER CLEANER, One Step Roller
Wash, SAFOCOR, ROLFIN
SPECIAL, NOVOGUM, INK
REMOVER, DELTA GEL, AQUA
WIPER, CALCIUM WASH, GLOSS
VARNISH, SATIN VARNISH, MATT
VARNISH, BARRIER VARNISH,
PRIMER VARNISH, INK DUCT
VARNISH, FOOD PACKAGING
VARNISH with FDA CFR21
VARNISH, RETARDER, DEFOSAL,
FLEXOPUR, CLEANER L13,
UNIGUM, GUMMIN, EC GUM,
SYNTHAGUM, Gumin, STANDARD
PLATE GUM, THERMOGUM, ALU
NET, PLATE CLEAN, UV PC - UV
PLATE CLEANER, MILD PLATE
CLEAN, UNISOFT WASHOUT,
AQUA GUM, RENAL PLATE CLEAN,
EP-10, EP10, EP5, EP 5, NP3
Developer, NP1 Developer, PLATE
FIXER, RKE, PLATE CORRECTOR,
MICRO SPRAY POWDER 15B 35B,
LEERLAUFPASTE, REPAFIX, AQUA
DAMPKLEEN, DAMPER WASH,
FILM CLEANER FRS, CLEAN
HANDS, ANTI-SET, PROTECTO,
This DS Chemport FUJIFILM HUNT
Products you may Order direct at
VINATAM, LIKSIN, SAPRIMCO or
our other qualified Agents.
In addition we recommend
TRELLEBORG REEVES VULCAN
Blankets, D TEC TOP PRINT INK,
Process Ink, White Ink, PRINTING
Click & Get