Agfa Graphics has announced that Aoba Printing (Hiroshima, Japan) is the first printer in Hiroshima City to use :Azura TS printing plates, reducing Aoba’s ecological footprint and improving platemaking efficiency. :Azura TS is based on Agfa Graphics’ ThermoFuse™ technology, which removes the variables associated with traditional chemical processing, thereby assuring printers of high-quality plates consistently. Compared with a conventional thermal plate, the system needs minimal maintenance, the plate has a high image contrast and chemistry usage is virtually eliminated, all achieved without compromising on pressroom performance.

“We installed Japan’s first :Azura system in 2005. Today, just five years later, we have reached the landmark of 250 installations at Aoba, a tremendous achievement in this demanding market,” said a proud Tim Van den Bossche, president of Agfa Graphics Asia. “Japan is the largest single market for :Azura TS worldwide. Its ability to meet Japanese printers’ demands for advanced technologies combined with environmental benefits has led to this success. In a recent survey, more than 80% of printers in Japan indicated they plan to use chemistry-free plates in the future,” he added.

“We have known about :Azura since IGAS 2007 but have only now decided to replace our wet thermal plate system with :Azura TS. We were impressed with the productivity of the :Azura TS system, which is considerably faster than the first generation. It is easier to use, offers high print quality and supports our vision on environmental care,” said Mitsuaki Kobatake, general manager of Aoba Printing. “The next step is to aim for a ‘Clione Gold+’ mark, which rewards eco-friendly production activities for the printing industry here in Japan.”

Hiroyuki Matsuishi, president of Agfa Graphics Japan explained: “The high level of satisfaction among printers working with :Azura TS plates has resulted in a fast-growing customer base and a market share of more than 90% in Japan. Among chemistry-free plate technologies, :Azura TS is today the de facto standard for chemistry-free plate making in Japan.”