The unit was particularly aimed at printers using the Accuset, Agfa’s imagesetter. According to HighWater, it was great for printers moving into CTP because, at the time of launch, the only option available was a 4-up platesetter or to go polyester. This meant that to achieve good registration and fit on the press you needed a skilled press minder.
Technological advancement led to the replacement of the machine with the Cobra, which was capable of imaging both silver and photopolymer violet plates. While the flatbed operation of the 2218 meant it could handle a wide range of plate sizes (from B3 down to small envelopes), one of the drawbacks was that it was very hard to control the edges of plates. “With polymer you can achieve 2-98 per cent and with flatbed you can achieve 3-97 per cent dot hold,” says Flynn. The market was moving towards photopolymer and chemistry free. To stay ahead Highwater had to move with this trend.
Fast and versatile
Plate size was altered by manually fixing a location register pin on the corner of the bed. Once mounted, it took just under four minutes to image a plate at 2,540dpi. The machine’s flexibility suited the small to medium-sized printer and catered for any combination of single- or two-colour presses handling four-colour work.
Optional extras came in the form of workflows available: for example, if you wanted to take on trapping, or needed a room proofing solution such as the company’s Pixelproof application. There were also different RIP options available.
The original machines were based around a YAG laser – the only way to produce violet images at the time. But at Drupa 2000, the machine was released with a 5mw laser diode, making the machine even more affordable.
Current Cobras have a 120mw laser diode.
Highwater has eight engineers in the UK and keeps a stock of spare parts locally. Although the manufacturer does provide spare parts for the 2218, these are likely to diminish over the next two years as parts for newer machines take up storage space. However this doesn’t affect lasers.
Buyers should make sure the machine comes with a Torrent RIP and what the vintage is. The Platinum 2218 uses Version 4 or 5 while current Cobras run on Version 8 so buyers might have problems with PDF transferences.
Although Highwater does buy and sell used 2218s as part exchange, they are very difficult to come by. “We have a waiting list,” warns Flynn
Max image area 558x462mm
Resolution 1,270 dpi or 2,540 dpi
Speed (max plate size)
2min at 1,270 dpi
4min at 2,540 dpi
What to look for
• Condition of lasers and lenses
• An up-to-date RIP
Read the original article at www.printweek.com.
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