Bieler Press Photopolymer Platemaking Service

Megaloceros, Aaron Horkey, Dead Arts Publishing, 2010. Printing at The Bieler Press.

Gerald Lange of The Bieler Press has printed with the photopolymer plate process since 1991 and provided plates for the contemporary studio letterpress community since 1995. Offered to letterpress printers are professionally processed premium-grade plates for today’s common bases. Plates are generally processed and shipped (M-F) or available via convenient 24/7 pickup (any disruptions are indicated in Scheduling at bottom of post).

Professionally processed film negatives are required. Recommended is Tamburello Productions, an online silver-based film negative processing service who supplies a quality product at low cost with delivery to The Bieler Press (contact Tamburello directly for their payment requirements).

Client must notify via email of pending orders prior to receipt of film as this provides a means of quick, specific communication, and scheduling. Attach a PDF of your imaging for identification purposes; this also allows for checking of possible technical problems prior to processing. To prevent delays, clients must provide contact information and indicate with order their delivery/pickup preference (with the address for shipment), and specific plate needed.

Photopolymer Plate Specifications:

Currently stocked are the following Toyobo Printight Type K brand plates for use with flatbases. These specific photopolymer plates are state-of-the-art industrial quality and meet the standard letterpress formulated hardness rating of Shore D 67˚. They are manufactured with photosensitive nylon resin, thus they hold sharp detail and fine lines exceptionally well with no loss of imaging during presswork.
KM95GR—steel-backed at .038" thickness—highly recommended for use on production Vandercooks or Heidelbergs with properly configured magnetic base, e.g., an industry standard Bunting Magnetic Cerface Flat Base ground to .880" (no interlay required). This was the plate used at The Bieler Press for all of its production (see pic above). It is especially recommended for large format pieces and/or difficult imaging. This plate can also be fitted to a Patmag base (or similar non-industrial economical base with magnetic top sheeting) with appropriate underlay (+/- .022) and interlay [such as 3M’s 75 Spray Adhesive].
KM152GR—steel-backed at .060" thickness—specifically recommended for use on job platen presses, such as a C&P or Kluge, and smaller platens, where roller height issues may be of concern. Normal configuration for a Patmag base or fitted to a Bunting Magnetic Cerface Flat Base ground to .858".
KF95GC—polyester-backed at .038" thickness—common configuration for economical non-industrial aluminum flatbases such as the Boxcar Base, the ─ôlum Eluminum, or others of similar non-magnetic construction. Plate includes attached .004" transparent film adhesive interlay [from BiesSse Tape Solutions]. Requires appropriate underlay if used on any flatbase measuring less than .875" +/-.

Maximum plate size (including required margins, crop marks or other registration devices) is 16-1/2 by 23-3/8 inches (A2). Plates are furnished with unaligned edges cut approximately 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch (+/-) margin around imaging (if more or less edge border is required client should request this with order and provide adequate room on e-file).

Imaging and Film Negatives:

B/W line art furnished for platemaking must be in the form of high-quality imagesetter generated silver-based film negatives with discernible emulsion side, a resolution of 2400 dpi (highly recommended), and made as RREUs (right reading/emulsion side up). Select EPS or Press Quality PDF when submitting e-files to your film processor. For difficult imaging requiring dot patterns, such as photographs or tonal backgrounds, please inquire.

If client requires multiple plates cut from negatives, imaging should be separated by a minimum of 3/4 of an inch and aligned for linear cuttings in either direction. Cutting schematic should be emailed via PDF or enclosed with film negative. In all cases, to avoid problems please leave at least half an inch margin at outside edges of the film negative.

Negatives and all other materials are returned to client. Negatives are trimmed to facilitate platemaking.

Ordering and Pricing:

Plates are available/shipped (Monday–Friday) service at the rates listed below. Dependent upon receipt of film, plates are usually available by end of the business day (client will be notified via email when plates are ready for pickup or have been shipped). Dates and times our normal service is not feasible are listed at the tail of this post, and are to be considered prior notice. Large jobs may require more than one day to complete.

• KM95GR plates are charged at 73¢ per sq. inch of image/s.
• KM152GR plates are charged at 75¢ per sq. inch of image/s.
• KF95GC plates are charged at 71¢ per sq. inch of image/s.

Minimum charge for processing is $32. Dependent upon image configuration charged measurement includes up to 1/4 of an inch over plate’s image size—width and height (including client requested border)—per plate. Each job has a paper invoice attached to it in shipment.

Shipping. Shipping at cost via USPS Priority Rate, UPS Ground, or FedEx Ground. Please indicate your shipper choice. If you need expedited service (guaranteed next day/specific day delivery) please indicate that as well. Shipments are insured for the value of both the plates and returned film negatives against damage or loss.

State sales tax: California residents (9.5 percent is added for all nonexempt billings). Resale Certificate must be on file to qualify for tax-exempt status.

Payment is due upon receipt of plates (and must be received within ten days). Cash, business or personal check, and PayPal are accepted.