Varoprint (Zellik, Belgium) is a printing company specialized in full-color commercial and publicity print jobs. The company uses Agfa Graphics’ chemistry-free offset printing plate Azura TU and the matching Azura CX125 clean-out unit.
The Azura TU printing plate is based on Agfa Graphics’ patented ThermoFuse technology, a unique ecological solution for the production of printing plates offering chemistry-free operations without compromises on the quality of the print jobs. We interviewed two of the company’s directors: Natalie (administration, tenders, bookkeeping) and Bart Vander Roost (planning, production, purchasing).
"Azura TU is convenient, ecologically sound, stable, reliable and highly consistent." (Bart Vander Roost, owner Varoprint)
Can you tell us a bit about the history of the company?
Bart: “Natalie and I belong to the third generation. About 80 years ago, our grandfather started a hot metal typesetting company in Brussels. Later, our fathers and uncle joined the company and the first printing press was installed. In 1988, we moved to our current site in Zellik. Technology changed, from typesetting and book printing to phototypesetting, computer-to-plate and offset.”
Natalie: “The fact that we have been doing mainly contract work for other printing companies runs like a thread through our history.”
What kind of company are you running at the moment?
Bart: “We are a modern sheetfed printing company specialized in full color print jobs such as company brochures, flyers, folders and magazines. A high degree of automation and a strong team of motivated employees let us meet the current market demands. Our 10-color large-format sheetfed offset press (75x105 cm) is capable of producing 5-color two-sided prints in one pass. We work with Agfa Graphics’ environment-friendly Azura TU printing plates.”
Natalie adds: “Our small size enables us to work fast and flexibly, both for larger volumes and for small job order.”
Why did you opt for the Azura printing plate?
Bart: “We feel strongly about environmental friendliness. That is why we try to operate as ‘green’ as possible. In the past, we already used processfree printing plates of another manufacturer, which were developed on the printing press itself. In fact, this way of working led to a number of practical problems on the press. We looked for a solution, but wanted to retain the chemistry-free way of working. Research taught us that Agfa Graphics and its partner Sagamgraphic offered the best solution: the chemistry-free offset printing plate Azura TU with the matching Azura CX125 clean-out unit with gum.
Which characteristics of a printing plate matter most to you?
Bart: “We have a lot of print jobs with low run lengths but a lot of plate changes. We want to avoid polluting the fountain solutions and the press rolls. Azura TU only requires two production steps before it can go on press: imaging and cleaning with gum. Working with it is convenient and happens in full daylight. The underlying ThermoFuse technology is a purely physical imaging technology. Advantages are a wide imaging latitude, no influence of chemical factors and the complete elimination of variables through the obviation of chemical plate development. The result is a printing plate ready for highly qualitative print jobs. The clean-out unit Azura CX125 uses a simple mechanical process. The engine requires little maintenance, consumes only little gum to clean out the plates, and provides an excellent image contrast. The installation and integration went smoothly. We are very happy to have chosen Agfa Graphics’ solution.”