NEW DM SCREENING PRODUCES 350 LPI ON VIOLET CTP DEVICES
7th October, 2009
CAMBRIDGE, UNITED KINGDOM -- Hamillroad Software, a leading RIP and screening innovator, today announced a major breakthrough in screening technology that will greatly enhance the output quality of today's computer-to-plate platesetters. The new "Digitally Modulated" or "DM" screening technology, being called "Auraia"TM (after the Greek word for beautiful), is a revolutionary new type of screening that enables the current imaging optics (of both thermal and violet platesetters) to produce images that emulate the quality of a traditional 350 lpi screen (using a 420 lpi equivalent dot). The patent-pending software upgrade is now available for CtP manufacturers to evaluate. For more information, please go to www.hamillroad.com.
Utilising the immense compute power available with modern computers, 'DM' screening is so named because it digitally modulates each and every pixel it produces, rather than repeating a fixed pattern of dots (as in AM screening) or randomly marking pixels (as in FM screening). The screening analyses each pixel it produces to ensure that no dot is too small to plate or print, no 'non-dot' is too small to fill-in and no dot or 'non-dot' is too large so as to be visible.
Dots are created in a carefully controlled manner, to ensure detail is placed exactly where it is needed, vignettes are smooth and flat tints are, well 'flat'. It cleverly modulates each pixel based on a deep understanding of laser optics, plate technology, printing press behaviour and ink flow to ensure that dot gain is eliminated, resulting in the complete removal of patterning artefacts and graininess.
"We're really excited about the release of our new Auraia screening," comments Andy Cave, Hamillroad Software's CEO. "It fundamentally changes the rules as to what print providers can now produce and we believe it will introduce a new era and standard in print quality to our industry. No longer will printers be restricted by issues of moiré, mis-registration, rosette drift, colour shifts, banding, dot gain, dot loss, highlight loss, or shadow loss. They will be free to do what they do best -- print beautiful pages. Based on years of research and experience, the patent pending 'DM' screening represents a fundamental change in the expectation a printer should have on the quality of print that is achievable."
In beta testing over the last six months, Hamillroad has successfully tested the Auraia screening using the Harlequin RIP on a number of CtP devices, plates and presses. On ECRM MAKO devices (including 2, 4, and 8-up systems, as well as the newer MAKO 800) using both Fuji NV and NV2 metal violet plates, the Auraia screening has consistently produced outstanding prints equivalent to 350 lpi, whilst using a 420 lpi equivalent dot. On ECRM DPX devices using lower quality polyester plates, the Auraia screening has been able to produce high quality prints equivalent to 250 lpi, whilst using a 310 lpi equivalent dot. This marks a substantial improvement to the currently recommended maximum 175 lpi screen. In all cases, highlights down to 0.5% and shadows up to 99.5% were obtained, with smooth vignettes, flat tints and exceptional image detail.
Testing of other CtP devices is currently in progress, with the expectation that any device (violet or thermal) that can currently achieve a 175 lpi screen will be capable of producing at least a 250 lpi (or even 350 lpi) equivalent Auraia screen and any device that can currently achieve a 200 lpi screen will be capable of producing a 350 lpi equivalent Auraia screen.
"We have seen a significant improvement in quality after we started using Auraia screening.", said Mr. Håkon Amundsen, Eiker Trykkeri AS/ CEO. "Hilite & shadow detail has improved significantly, vignettes and flat tints are incredibly smooth. It´s also nice to see that moire is a problem that doesn´t exist anymore. This will be a great advantage with the tough competition we face these days."
Following a substantial amount of research and development, including a significant amount of plate and press testing, Hamillroad Software has filed a number of patents on the core technology. As well as filing these patents worldwide, Hamillroad is also filing a number of additional patents in the US to cover the many breakthroughs in Digitally Modulated screening that the Auraia screening contains. Although the screening has been developed and designed with CtP devices in mind, initial testing on a number of laser and ink jet printers indicates that there should be significant benefits there too, with enhanced quality over existing methods of screening.
The Auraia screening module is currently in final pre-release testing and is expected to be available, through Hamillroad Software's dealer network, at the beginning of November 2009. For a list of dealers, please go to http://www.hamillroad.com/main/sales/dealers.htm . For further details, please go to http://www.hamillroad.com/main/products/auraiascreening.htm.
Andy Cave, the inventor of the Auraia 'DM' screening, was previously the original developer of the Harlequin RIP in 1987, and the founder of the Digital Printing Division within Harlequin. As the Chief Designer of the Harlequin RIP for over 12 years, Andy was one of the key personnel who designed and developed many of the advanced algorithms that still today mark the Harlequin RIP as the leading high performance PostScript and PDF RIP used in print. During his tenure at Harlequin, Mr. Cave was responsible (amongst many things) for the design and development of HPS; the Harlequin RIPs high-quality AM screening solution.
Hamillroad Software is an independent software group, with offices in Cambridge, UK and Cape-Town, South Africa. The company specialises in the development and sale of software products relating to Harlequin and other RIPs in the prepress industry. Currently offering two high performance RIP related products, FirstPROOF and Lightning TIFF, Hamillroad constantly seeks to develop and sell products that will dramatically change the way users work, making them more productive. For more information on Hamillroad Software and its products please visit their web site at http://www.hamillroad.com.