Thermal Versus Violet

Andrew Tribute’s previous column, which did not run in this magazine, was titled Creo: A Critical Assessment In the column, Tribute attacked the ground on which thermal CTP stands and suggested that violet-diode-enabled CTP was a major success at drupa. “It is likely to increase its market share in the future at the expense of thermal CTP,” wrote Tribute. “As expected these comments… drew immediate scorn from certain thermal CTP vendors, and in particular from Creo. It is interesting that Creo takes any opportunity to decry any form of CTP but thermal-based CTP, with what is confusing and usually incorrect information.”

Creo’s response to Tribute’s column was swift. The company’s vice president of marketing, Boudewijn Neijens, wrote an open letter to the industry stating that controversy is often made just for the sake of doing so. “case in point: industry analyst Andrew Tribute, who doggedly continues to resuscitate the decade-old thermal versus visible imaging debate when it is clearly ready to be put to rest,” wrote Neijens. “Mr. Tribute claims that Creo ‘never fails to decry any form of CTP except thermal.’ Creo has consistently acknowledged alternatives to thermal imaging, most recently in a letter published in the UK’s PrintWeek on 1 July, 2004. Indeed, the first CTP systems we ever sold used visiblelight, so we know the alternative technology very well. However, we still stand firmly behind our choice of thermal.”

In his column, Tribute claims to have been the first person anywhere to write about the potential of violet diode. He refers to a particular article of his from 1999, which was published long before any products had reached the market when the technology was referred to as blue diode because few realized it output violet colour light. “At that time Dan Gelbart of Creo referred to my article as a Red Herring and attempted to confuse the market with comparisons to expensive argon ion blue gas lasers,” wrote Tribute.

Tribute continued to suggest in his recent article that the Red Herring of 1999 is now having a large impact on Creo’s CTP business, and even went so far as to suggest that “[Creo] will do anything in presenting misinformation to derail the progress of violet technology.”

The coming domination of visible light, according to Tribute’s article, can be seen by the fact that KPG, which has always had a thermalonly plate stategy, is expected to introduce a violet photopolymer plate by the end of 2004. “While Mr. Tribute may accuse Creo of burying our ‘head in the sand’ by refusing to switch to violet technology, we believe we can deliver far greater value to our customers by developing even better thermal solutions,” replied Neijens.

Neijens also took exception with Tribute’s claim that Creo has lost an estimated 30 per cent market share to Screen because violet is taking over the world. “What he neglects to mention is that absolutely all of Screen’s 8-page and VLF sales in the past few years have been thermal CTP systems… not violet. And while he observed that violet was a “major success” at drupa, activity at the show indicated that thermal is easily outselling violet.”

Tribute finished his column by evaluating Creo’s financial health, in which he expresses his own interpretation of the numbers. “We respect that he has a right to express his views, but we hope that your readers will choose to form their own opinions,” wrote Neijens. “We believe that growing a company from $6 million to over $630 million in revenues over 10 years in a very competitive market is generally construed as a success.”

Copyright Youngblood Communications Co., Ltd. Sep 2004

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

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