MURRAY – With a look to the future of printing technology, the Murray Ledger & Times recently replaced an element of the printing process that had been the norm for over 50 years.

The Ledger & Times recently purchased a machine that completely changes the process of making plaques, which are the aluminum foils used to create the type and images that appear on every page of a newspaper. He’s a CRON plate imager, and Ledger & Times editor Mike Davis said it’s a game-changer for the newspaper.

“For over half a century since newspapers stopped using letterpress they have had this technology where plaques had to be developed and then a protective ‘eraser’ was placed on it to protect it until that it prints, ”Davis said. . “To do that, it has to go through a plate processor. This processor heats and bakes the plates and rinses them and then develops them.

“We have just entered a new technology where the plate no longer needs to be developed. This technology is an innovation in the field of printing, replacing a technology that has been in place for probably 60 or 70 years. Using this new technology, the plate is exposed and placed directly on the press. There is no development, so it saves energy – because there is no processor to go through – it saves chemistry and time. We went from 29 plates per hour to 41 plates per hour with this new technology.

Ledger & Times Press foreman David Stom said the new machine saves his team a lot of time and also conserves resources.

“It’s twice as fast as the old method, so it cuts production time,” Stom said. “It’s cleaner and better for the environment because it doesn’t use any chemicals. Since newspapers have used metal plates, you have always had to develop the plates with chemicals. The types of chemicals used have changed over time. Some of it was additive, and then it got to where it was subtractive, meaning it ate some of the metal to make the picture. But it doesn’t have any chemicals because the water you use makes plaque. It’s also faster and quieter than the old method.

Davis added that CRON is another technology implemented by Ledger to provide its readers with the best possible product.

“All of these innovations that we’re doing – like the new press we put in five years ago for a new color and now this new plate processor – only prepare us for the future to make sure we’re up to speed. cutting edge technology to be able to better serve our Murray Ledger & Times advertisers and readers for decades to come, ”said Davis.