From Kodak website:
1st generation - preheat/postbake - KODAK THERMAL GOLD Digital Plates and KODAK DITP GOLD Thermal Plates (sold in Europe and Asia Pacific) offer high quality and long print runs but require the use of processors, chemistry, and ovens to achieve quality print runs. The conversion to thermal CTP technology allowed the complete elimination of film and film processing, as well as the use of silver-based materials in the plate making process.
2nd generation - elimination of preheat - No preheat/with postbake plates in the Family of KODAK ELECTRA EXCEL Thermal Plates removed the need for prebaking plates, reducing chemistry and energy needed to produce plates.
3rd generation - elimination of preheat and postbake - No preheat/no postbake plates such as KODAK ELECTRA XD Thermal Plates and the Family of KODAK SWORD Thermal Plates removed the need for ovens altogether offering significant reduction in energy as well as reducing chemistry and waste. These plates also enabled the regular use of alcohol-replacement founts without the need of postbaking.
4th generation - elimination of chemistry and processors - Non process plates such as KODAK THERMAL DIRECT and KODAK PF-N Non Process Plates removed the need for processors and chemistry altogether offering a plate solution consuming no additional energy, water, or chemistry without processing waste to dispose of.
You don't use pre baking liquid, you use simple liquid called offsetgum like we are in our developer, we use P-47 offset gum uni from Cinkarna and that liquid help to protects the plate some time before printing, after printing, for reprint, you must use it again, this is standard procedure!
And concerning technologies mentioned here they all exist with a reason.
Depending on what kind of business the company deals with and how much, let's say, packaging and label printing where it requires a relatively large circulation and the frequent repetition
My personal experiences are that Thermal is very stable way of production.
you claim this because you are directly comparing the same job with two types of plates or just guessing?
I was in a situation where we have damaged thermal panels in the press and must replace with our uv plates. I must say after all measuring, plate with plate reader and print sheet with i1 pro the differences were not visible or difference is in range of tolerance, not to say that no person who could tell that print is not made with thermal platesâ€‹â€‹!
And in our company it pays off itself pretty well.
Check this with the Department for procurement production materials.