CTP technology family members and classification

CTP mainly has four family members, namely, CTPlate, CTPress, CTProof, and CTPaper/Print, which can be divided into two major categories. They are CTPlate and CTPress, which are directly imaged on the plate, and CTProof, which is directly imaged on the substrate. And CTPaper/Print. The first type of technology is characterized by converting the digital page in the computer system directly into a printing plate, and then transferring the graphic information on the printing plate to the printing material to form the final product (printed matter) through the traditional pressure process. In this process, the printing plate serves as an intermediate medium for connecting digital pages and prints (Fig. 1a). The latter type of technology is characterized by directly converting the digital pages in the computing system into color hard copies (samples, prints) and eliminating the use of photo printing plates. From such an intermediary point of view, the direct imaging technology represented by CTPlate and CTPress on the printing plate belongs to the traditional printing plate, and the printing method relying on the pressure is an inevitable extension of the digital development of the printing and copying technology. This kind of printing technology can still be perfectly explained from the traditional printing definition, printing plate, pressure and duplication are the inevitable three key words. However, the direct imaging technology on the substrate, represented by CTProof and CTPaper/Print, no longer uses the conventional form or does not use the plate at all. It belongs to the category of plateless printing and the final image formation. Not relying on the role of pressure, it belongs to NIPNon-impactPrinting. Obviously, printing plates, pressure and copying are no longer the key words of this printing method, of course, this kind of printing technology can not be fully explained from the traditional printing definition. However, this does not mean that it is not necessary to discuss whether this form of digital printing belongs to printing. In fact, this discussion does not make much sense, because no matter from which point of view, the output of digital presses is no different from traditional prints. In this sense, it may be time to consider changing the definition of printing itself. Thanks to the use of printing plates, CTPlate and CTPress are still a kind of printing technology that meets the needs of the general public. They rely on the same image on a faithful, massively repetitive printing plate to gain price advantage. However, CTProof and CTPaper/Print are not the same. They are a kind of printing technology for individual needs. They rely on the characteristics of rapidity, personalization and diversity to realize high value-added products.

Perhaps, people have to ask an essential question, that is, printing must use the plate? In principle, the answer is no. The use of printing plates has both historical and technical reasons. From the perspective of historical development, the birth of printing is inseparable from the use of printing plates. From the point of view of speed, efficiency, quality, or cost, using the printing plate as an intermediary medium is the best choice for mass production of the same product (print). In order to obtain prints that meet the speed, efficiency, quality, and cost requirements, people have historically used more than just printing plates, and in order to make such printing plates, other intermediate media are needed. Silver salt photographic film is the most typical example. Even today, this situation still exists and holds a large proportion. The use of silver salt photographic film has reached a peak in the photolithography process. There are masking films, dichroic films, dot copy films, photo-realistic films (or photo paper) for image and text printing, and for making full-page printing plates. Film copy film and so on, a wide variety. The printing industry was once one of the largest users of industrial silver salt films. The purpose of using these silver salt photographic film is only one, that is to produce the printing plate that meets the quality requirements, and the only reason for the existence of the printing plate is to realize a large number of high-speed and low-cost reproduction, producing the same product-print. If it is possible to obtain a plate directly, there is no need to use a silver salt photographic film at all. Similarly, if you can get print directly, you certainly do not need to use the plate. The appearance of the electronic color separation machine has greatly reduced the use of silver salt film. The appearance of an illustrated desktop publishing system has minimized the use of silver salt photographic film. The emergence of direct plate printing means that silver salt photographic film will come from the printing field. Completely disappeared, the emergence of digital printing technology announced that printing can no longer use the plate.

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