Agfa has launched SPIR@L, a patented screening technology that replaces traditional dots with alternative shapes.

SPIR@L is targeted at commercial and newspaper printing and makes it possible to hold dots from press to paper ranging from 1 to 99 percent without additional effort, Agfa says. Due to the shape of the screen, print artifacts such as image slur or smaller CtP imaging artifacts become invisible, the company says.

The new screen avoids color contamination in the blue color range, yielding a higher quality reproduction, according to several early adopters, Agfa says. SPIR@L has early users in Denmark, the U.K. and the Netherlands.

Due to the nature of the dot shape, the ink layer is reduced, which reduces drying time or energy consumption, Agfa claims.

“The concept behind SPIR@L is simple but brilliant,” says Erik Peeters, market manager for commercial print at Agfa. “We replaced the traditional dot used in printing with a more efficient spiral shape. That way, print jobs require less ink to fill in the exact same space, resulting in a crystal-clear image and a higher press efficiency every time.”

SPIR@L requires no hardware additions to existing press and workflow setups, Agfa says.

ECO³ program

SPIR@L is part of Agfa’s ECO³ program, which represents the three Es of ecology, economy and extra convenience. Agfa calls it an effort to make prepress and printing operations cleaner, cheaper and easier to manage. “SPIR@L adheres to Agfa’s ECO³ philosophy by improving quality and saving our customers time and money,” says Guy Desmet, head of marketing for offset solutions at Agfa.

The tech was designed in the Agfa software R&D department in Belgium, as was other tech that Agfa dubs milestones in the past three decades: Agfa Balanced Screening, Agfa Cristal Raster FM screening and Agfa Sublima hybrid. Agfa spends about 30 million euros (nearly $34 million) per year in the R&D for its offset solutions business division, according to Ranier Kirschke, marketing manager for Agfa’s newspaper and business offset solutions division.

The cost depends on a customer’s print process, Kirschke says.The value of SPIR@L screening more than offsets the cost, say customers who are using the screening, Kirschke says.

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