19 March 2015
Joint venture brings Chinese CTP equipment to North America
TEWSKBURY, MASS—Chinese manufacturer CRON and ECRM have formed a joint venture to sell CRON’s CTP product line in North America and Mexico. The new company, CRON-ECRM cut the ribbon on its North American headquarters and showroom in Tewskbury, Mass., earlier this week with CRON founder and board chairman Mike Xiang, ECRM executives, and local and state dignitaries in attendance.
“While others look to digital, CRON will focus on CTP. There are hundreds of thousands of offset presses in the world that will keep working for a long time to come and they will need CTP,” said Xiang.                                                                                                                       Mike Xiang founded CRON 20 years ago

With a stated goal of taking market share away from the three biggest CTP suppliers over the next three years, CRON’s products include a thermal line and a UV line. Each comes in four formats (2-up, 4-up, 8-up and VLF) with a resolution up to 3,600 dpi. Each can also be tailored to specific productivity requirement by modifying the number of imaging diodes, up to 96 diodes. Units can also be configured for manual, semi-automatic or full-automatic operation, optional in-line punching system, multi-cassette loader, remote diagnostics, and vibration free operation.

Future products for imaging flexo plate are promised later this year.

See the CRON platesetter in action!

CRON-ECRM will also distribute a full line of workflow software, supplies, and the Blackwood metal printing plates, though the thermal platesetters can image thermal plates from other manufacturers.

The devices will be sold through a network of dealers across North America, including the Graphic Systems North America group, represented in Canada by Montreal’s KBR Graphics and Winnipeg’s Canadian Printing Equipment.

Under the agreement, all manufacturing, including plates, will take place in China, though the diode configuration will done in Tewskbury before shipping. CRON has a plate-making facility in China with an annual capacity for 40 million square metres. 


A thermal platesetter demo models in Tewksbury, Mass.

CRON, or properly Hangzhou CRON Machinery & Electronics Co., is one of the world’s largest CTP manufacturers with 3,000 installations worldwide. The company was founded in 1992 by Xiang and today has more than 300 employees in offices in Asia, Europe and North America.

The North American joint venture was announced last September, and the two companies exhibited together at Graph Expo. Last year CRON set up a similar joint venture with ECRM in Dusseldorf, Germany, to establish a European presence. According to company officials, it has racked up more than 100 CTP installations on the continent.

ECRM will continue to exist as a separate entity and will continue to sell its violet-imaging platesetters. The company has been in business for about 40 years accumulating more than 3,500 installations, mostly in the newspaper segment.
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