Should I work with a printer that uses polyester plates?

What's the story on polyester direct to plate systems? Can polyester plates produce the same quality as metal plates? A print salesman who is trying to convince me to use his shop says it keeps their prices down and will give me the same quality.

Many people may not realize that direct to polyester plate material has been around for over 10 years and presently represents a product market size of roughly $100,000,000 world-wide. Understand that $100M in polyester plates represents a small fraction of the print business these plates produced.

Polyester plates are often used in situations where run lengths are 20,000 impressions or less and screen rulings are 150 lpi or less. For these types of jobs cost advantages can be realized in using polyester plates over metal plates, within minimal to no quality loss depending upon the print job.

Agfa’s customers continue to amaze us with the quality and type of products they are producing with polyester plates. Everything from one to two color books to four color coupons are printed using polyester plates on both sheet fed and web presses.

My recommendation is don’t miss out on a potential opportunity to save money. Give your printer a chance to help you determine what kind of work could be best produced using polyester plates, document the savings, then spec the jobs accordingly.

Kernin Steinhauer, Sr. Marketing Manager of Print and Digital Media Forms, Agfa Corporation, answered this question. Thanks, Kernin! For more information, contact Kernin Steinhauer at 1-800-540-2432 x 8280, by e-mail at or visit the Agfa Web site at
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