A true technological disruption
Arkana, smart plate processor without water
Agfa’s smart processor Arkana offers consistent, high-quality plate processing with minimal chemistry usage and maintenance, thus allowing printers to further reduce their CO2 footprint. Iris Bogunovic, Product Marketing Manager Commercial Prepress Agfa, explains the concept and its benefits.
What makes this system so revolutionary?
The Arkana is based on truly disruptive technology. The most revolutionary innovation is without doubt the fact that we removed the rinsing section. We are the only ones to offer a processor that no longer requires water for plate rinsing.
The other big advantage stems from the small developer tank of only 10 liters, which drastically lowers replenishment rates and considerably reduces chemistry consumption, and allows for the development of 15,000 m² of printing plates.
The Arkana concept fits perfectly within Agfa’s ECO³ framework, which stands for economy, ecology and extra convenience. In other words, this smart processor enables printers to save costs at different levels, to reduce their impact on the environment and to use and maintain the machine with ease.
What does the system add exactly in terms of ecology?
Thanks to our patented gum cascade system, in which the plate is cleaned in a first step, and coated with a protective layer in a second step, printing plates no longer need to be rinsed with water before going on press, so there is no water consumption. This represents water savings of approximately 90% compared to a conventional processor.
In addition, there is very little need for chemistry. The small development tank only contains 10 liters as opposed to 80 liters or more for a conventional processor. The replenishment rate is 80% lower compared to conventional thermal processing systems, and the Arkana produces up to 50% less waste (washing water, gum and developer).
And what about convenience?
A printer no longer needs to check his machine before 15,000 m² of plates, minimizing the maintenance frequency. The cleaning itself has also become easier. It is enough to empty the tank, and to clean it with a sponge–ready to start up again!
Also, the chemistry is really concentrated in a 1 to 3 rate and dilution is automatically done in the Arkana. This not only shrinks your ecological footprint, it also means less transport, less storage space, and less handling. The physical footprint of the Arkana is small too.
The smart plate processor Arkana
Finally, the combined Arkana-Energy Elite Eco system is very stable. It requires a minimum of operator interference and will produce the same consistent quality time after time. Nevertheless, should a problem arise, our remote diagnostics capabilities put all relevant data right at our fingertips, so that we can help customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.
What about the economical aspect?
The net exploitation cost is lower. For a printer using 20,000 m² of printing plates, The Arkana consumes up to 90% less chemistry, 40% less gum, and 90% less water (as water is only needed for the dilution of chemicals, not for rinsing), while it produces up to 50% less waste than its nearest competitor.
In combination with our Energy Elite Eco printing plate, the Arkana achieves a bath life that is three times longer than that of a conventional system. This results in a minimal cleaning frequency, creating higher up-time and avoiding maintenance costs.
With which plates does the Arkana work?
The Arkana is made to work with Energy Elite Eco, a high-quality, high-performance printing plate that achieves up to 600,000 copies in sheetfed and heatset. Its dual-layer coating technology makes it remarkably robust and eliminates the need for any pre- or post-baking, saving our customers space, time, energy, and money.
Energy Elite Eco is characterized by excellent lithographic performance, fast restarts, low dampening levels, and a stable ink-water balance. Its outstanding chemical resistance results in more flexibility in choosing fountains, washes and plate cleaners, while its excellent resistance to mechanical stresses on press means less risk of plate wear issues, remakes and associated costs.
When the Energy Elite Eco plate is combined with the Arkana smart processing technology, the full ECO³ benefits mentioned before can be achieved.
With conventional printing inks, the Energy Elite Eco plates processed in the Arkana can reach a run length up to 600,000 copies, depending on conditions of use. With UV, the run length of the plate reaches 150,000 copies. It is also compatible with LED UV, yet run length will depend on the exact printing parameters, including ink, fount additives and press type.