Min. plate size 250x450mm
Plate thickness 0.15 - 0.40mm
Resolutions 1,200 and 2,400dpi
Speed 20 PPH.
When the Xcalibur was launched, the basic model was the 45S, which imaged and processed 20 40in thermal plates an hour at 2,400dpi. Over the past couple of years, the 45E has been introduced to appeal to smaller printers on lighter budgets as it produces 15 plates per hour, whereas the 45XT and 45XXT have increased speeds of 25 and 40 plates an hour respectively. “As a thermal machine its productivity was among the best at the time. And it’s kept up with the pack,” says Wood.
The 45 was launched with ApogeeX, Agfa’s “next generation” workflow software, based on PDF and JDF. This has allowed printers to choose the level of automation they require, making it easier to use with better control and processing throughout.
The firm’s PlateManager was introduced about a year after launch, which made full automation possible on the Xcalibur. The 45 was now available in manual, semi-automatic or fully automatic models. On a fully automatic version, up to four removable cassettes could keep multiple plate types online at all times. Up to 250 0.3mm plates or 500 0.15mm plates could be kept online, stored with emulsion side-down for protection. This took up no extra space and the compact nature of the machine was a great selling point. “A lot of people were impressed by the small footprint and that it could be used as an online processor, which was useful for smaller B1 printers,” says Wood.
The input transport mechanism includes a de-skewing feature that automatically pre-aligns the plate as it feeds into the drum – ensuring accurate loading and registration of every plate. The output features an optional exit conveyor that can lead directly to an online processor.
The Xcalibur 45 has recently been replaced by the Avalon, which has been described as the “second generation Xcalibur”, meaning it uses much of the same technology, although speeds and reliability have increased. The B1 Avalon is available in speeds from 10 plates per hour LE to 40 plates per hour XXT.
The market in secondhand CTPs is quiet as manufacturers fight to offer deals on new kit, rather than agree to install and maintain older models. Although large manufacturers are reluctant to train freelance engineers to install and service platesetters, it’s worth holding out for training or servicing contracts from the manufacturers, who will have to accept that the secondhand CTP market is often the only affordable path for small print firms.
Despite this, a few Xcalibur 45s have come onto the secondhand market. Martyn Elmy from Marlowe Graphic Services says: “Agfa machines are rock solid. Buying a secondhand Agfa is usually a good buy.” It’s also worth trying Pre-Press Direction or ICG Pre Press.