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New DM screening

Nov 1, 2009 12:00 AM

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UK-based Hamillroad Software ( has announced a breakthrough in screening technology that it claims will greatly enhance the output quality of today's computer-to-plate (CTP) platesetters. The new “Digitally Modulated,” or DM, screening technology is called Auraia after the Greek word for beautiful. It is a new type of screening that enables the current imaging optics of thermal and violet-laser platesetters to produce images that emulate the quality of a traditional 350-lpi screen (using a 420-lpi equivalent dot).

DM screening digitally modulates each pixel it produces, rather than repeating a fixed pattern of dots, as in AM screening, or randomly marking pixels, as in FM/stochastic screening. The screening analyzes each pixel 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 to be visible.

Andy Cave, Hamillroad Software CEO and inventor of this new technology, says, “It fundamentally changes the rules as to what print providers can now produce and we believe it will introduce a new era and standard in print quality to our industry.”

Beta testing on ECRM Mako devices using Fuji NV and NV2 metal violet plates, reportedly has produced prints equivalent to 350 lpi, using a 420-lpi equivalent dot. On ECRM DPX devices using polyester plates, Auraia screening has produced prints equivalent to 250 lpi, using a 310-lpi equivalent dot. In all cases, Hamillroad reports highlights down to 0.5% and shadows up to 99.5% were obtained, with smooth vignettes, flat tints and exceptional image detail.

Testing of other CTP devices is in progress, as well as initial testing on laser and inkjet printers reportedly indicating significantly enhanced quality.

Auraia screening is expected to be available through Hamillroad Software's dealer network in November 2009.