Preparing aluminium plates

Phil Jenkinson, a printer at Bartholomew, describes how aluminium printing plates were prepared.



So that would be the late '60s — aluminium plates came on the scene.

We used to put this special coating on it which was light-sensitive, but we used to use a centrifuge to do it. The table on the centrifuge was this size because the machines were big presses, you know — 900 by 1280 millimetre sheet size they would take.

So we used to clamp the plate on this turntable — the machine was actually called a 'whirler', that’s what they were called. And basically it was like a spinning-top, in a frame. And it had big doors that you slid open. You put the plate in, the bare plate, clamped it in to get it right in the middle and then you set it spinning. It was going a fair rate of knots.

And then you got this light-sensitive coating and you put it in a cup or I can even remember using a teapot and you'd to stand and lean right over. You'd to lean and you were right over 'cause you had to get right to the centre of this and then it just spun. As you poured it, it spun all the way out till you had a nice even coating right across the full width of the plate.

You then stopped it. And then you shut the doors and put the heaters on and baked it.


Go to Machine Room page