Curt Frederickson, Spectra-Physics Lasers
With annual revenues exceeding $300 billion, the printing industry is the third largest manufacturing business in the world. Several types of lasers play critical roles in this market, helping to transfer digital information from computer-generated layouts to on-press and off-press printing plates. As the graphics industry moves into the next millennium, further developments in laser technology and printing plates promise to enable significant printing advances.
The driving force behind laser developments has largely been the introduction of new photosensitive materials, from the original silver halide-based films through the novel thermal plate materials. As these materials become more efficient at new wavelengths, so the laser market changes.