An impressive diversity of opinions concerning many important aspects of the Frequency Modulation process are heard from users and vendors. It has not been difficult to catch a single vendor contradicting themselves within their own publications. Many of the claims vendors make are not supported by users' experiences. Other users, on the other hand, have found many of the vendors' brightest claims to be realistic. The information sought for this project was aimed to answer the question "What can I expect if I implement Frequency Modulation screening technology in my shop today?" In order to answer that question effectively, a clear and comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of the FM process is required. The results and experiences of those that have had the opportunity to test the process are integral to a complete survey of the technology as it exists today. These requirements became the focus of this research effort. With limited access to any of the hardware and software necessary to implement an FM screen, research must necessarily be conducted by means of interviews, seminar attendance and surveys of recent publications. A list of questions was developed primarily out of the discussions at the GATF Technology Alert in Pittsburgh this past January and the Seybold Conference in Boston this spring. Both covered Frequency Modulated VI screening extensively. The GATF seminar was particularly helpful in developing a set of relevant questions that were shared by many of the users later contacted. Even among knowledgeable users and lithographic crafts people, the range of opinions on nearly every relevant topic covers the gamut of possibilities. A consensus among all of the sources included within this project on any major topic relevant to FM screening has proved difficult. The framework used here must therefore be flexible enough to accommodate contradictory opinions within its findings. Interviews were only conducted with experts recognized in the field and with users having first-hand experience in their own FM experiments. Testing and validation of the opinions and experiences reported here has not been part of this project, rather, the anecdotal experiences of many qualified users together are presented as a valid indication of what new users may expect when implementing the FM process. As it appeared that the range of possible answers to each question had been uncovered, the answers were formatted into short, self-contained bits of information. It is intended that a curious user be able to access complete chunks of knowledge contained within the document quickly without need for any supporting information (besides the requirement of familiarity with basic lithographic principles.) Most topics are less than a page. Some are more and a few are only short paragraphs. No first-hand verification of the information presented here has been attempted. By collecting the opinions and experiences of qualified users and researchers in the field familiar with the process, a body of knowledge is created which accurately reflects the state of the FM process as it currently exists and provides an answer to the question "What can I expect if I implement Frequency Modulation screening technology in my shop today?" Many early reports of FM screening implied that FM screening would soon sweep all of lithographic printing. As the realities and the difficulties involved in the process have become known and reported, it becomes apparent that a less enthusiastic and better balanced opinion indicates that FM screening can create a much improved print product though production difficulties make FM screening unlikely to gain wide use before dramatic improvements in the tools used to maintain process controls.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Lithography--Technological innovations; Image processing--Digital techniques; Scanning systems; Screen process printing
Department, Program, or Center
School of Print Media (CIAS)
Mell, Michael, "A tutorial in frequency modulation screening technology for lithography" (1994). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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