Prepress UK Appointed Dealer of Auraia DM Screening

Prepress UK, the pre-press specialists based in Cheltenham and Brighton, has announced that it has been appointed as the UK dealer for Auraia screening – a “digitally modulated” screening solution that is quickly winning a following for the reproduction of high quality, ultra-high definition images.

Auraia 6 is a second generation “digitally modulated” (DM) screening software. This UK developed screening technology perfects stochastic screening as it not only achieves a high level of image detail (up to 500 lines per inch screens), but also produces ultra-fine flat tints that are as smooth as (or more often smoother than) conventional AM screening.

Commenting on the appointment of Prepress UK as dealer for Hamillroad Software, Andrew Aldridge, Technical Manager at Prepress UK, said: “Having been involved with Auraia since it’s early testing with CtP manufacturers, I’ve seen at first-hand the amazing quality DM screening can bring to offset print with near continuous tone reproduction. 

“This is a real breakthrough in high quality screening technology. Ultra-high definition screening combined with smooth, flat tints that are easy to control and print. The quality improvements are focused on the huge tone range that can be reproduced from 0.01% through to 99.99%.

“What’s most impressive is not the benefit it can bring to the newest highest specification thermal CtP, high-end stocks and modern presses – which is startling in itself – but the fact that the same benefits and improvements can be achieved on older technology, including violet CtP and uncoated stocks.”

With regard to bringing new users up to speed with the technology, Andrew explains: “We take prospective users through an easy qualification process demonstrating the quality that will be achieved by Auraia on their actual equipment – even before we will take an order from them. The installation process is straight forward and includes calibration of the high definition Auraia screening either to match the tone reproduction of existing AM screens, or that of ISO 12647-2.”

The latest enhancements to Auraia screening really do move the technology forward in several important areas of image reproduction. In addition to great images, the software gives special focus to ink-on-ink issues – an area of waste that printers pay little attention to. The product has been engineered to pay specific attention to this issue, and has already been shown to provide ink savings of up to 20% in tests.

Nic Chapman, Sales Director of Prepress UK, adds: “One particular long-held area of criticism for both AM and FM screening is with regard to creating smooth vignettes and flat tints. Auraia 6 delivers significant improvements in both areas. Printers will also want to understand that both screening and object moiré are eliminated. In short, it really is easier to print with!”

Making the Most of Computing Power

This latest innovation in screening takes advantage of the immense computing power now generally available for very little cost for file processing. It works well particularly with violet, ultra-violet, and thermal plate imaging systems.

DM screening is so named because it digitally modulates each and every pixel it produces, precisely controlling not only the dots in each separation, but also between the separations, so as to completely eliminate noise.

It does this through the use of a “stochastic rosette”, which interleaves the screens in all the separations. By doing so, it eliminates noise (and moiré). The “stochastic rosette” helps to maximise the amount of ink-on-paper and minimise the amount of ink-on-ink, expanding the available colour gamut whilst eliminating colour shifts due to misregistration.

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.

Why do printers need DM screening?

Vignettes are smooth and flat tints are flat. DM cleverly modulates each pixel through software algorithms that have been created with a deep understanding of laser optics, plate technology, printing press behaviour, and ink flow, to ensure that dot gain is eliminated. The result of all of this activity is the complete removal of patterning artefacts and graininess.

The final delivery is of a high quality print that was previously unachievable.

Based on years of research and experience, this patent-pending screening technology represents a fundamental change in the expectation a printer should have on the quality of print that is achievable. No longer are printers restricted by issues with moiré, misregistration, rosette drift, colour shifts, banding, dot gain, dot loss, or shadow loss, and are now free to do what they do best – print beautiful pages!

Auraia 6 screening technology is only sold through specialist resellers, such as Prepress UK, who possess the knowledge, experience and expertise to fully support the product and its users. This includes initial installation and set-up, including the checking and adjusting of the CtP device in use, as well as plate calibration, and press profiling, either to match current output or to achieve a specific standard, such as ISO 12647-2 for commercial print.

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