Four open CTP plates can not be ignored (in)

Mixed effects printing plates and printers
Before buying CTP, Mr. Steve Kramer has been studying it for two years. "Our production cannot produce film, so this has a huge impact on us," Mr. Kramer said. He owns Printech, a sheet-fed commercial printing company with 19 employees, and mainly prints catalogs, brochures and flyers, as well as envelopes and business cards. Average press throughput is 3,000 to 5,000 sheets. Printech uses a six-color Mitsubishi 1F, a two-color Shinohara and seven two-color Ryob printers.

After attending the two exhibitions Graph Expo 2000 and Print 01, Mr. Kramer said: “I should study more equipment and compare them. After two years of experimentation, I can see which supplier has upgraded the equipment and what Progress. At the same time I can be sure which technologies will stand the test of time."

Printech eventually purchased the Creo Trendsetter Spectrum four-way computer-to-plate system, the Brisque workflow, Preps Pro prepress software, and the DiamondPlate LT-2 plate produced by Western Lithotech. In addition to the spectral features of the Quansheng computer-to-plate equipment that can be directly used for proofing, Printech also uses an Iris43WIDE for proofing. (Mr. Kramer says that Printech often uses Iris for proofing. “Some customers are willing to pay more for Matchprint, but Matchprint is more than three times more expensive than Iris.”)

"I am also afraid of facing desperation." Mr. Kramer admitted. "I didn't even know what RIP was. But after having been in contact with it for a while, I began to realize how easy it is to use it. I am still learning, but I will soon start exporting the plates." Printech is now 90% All use CTP output, and most of the prepress work is done by Mr. Kramer himself. He took a week of training and hired a person familiar with film output to help him through the transition period.

Mr. Kramer believes that the initial outsourcing work is too difficult to manage, and jobs like multi-color mixing and hard-to-make make it harder to manage. But "in just a month and a half, we don't need to think about film anymore," he claimed.

The press operator did not quite understand the digital plates. Six months before the platesetter was installed, Mr. Kramer gave a demonstration to have a friend use the CTP system to print a directory. "As a result, press operators like the direct platesetter."

He said that once there is no problem does not mean that will never go wrong, Kramer admits that after Printech officially started to use the CTP system, at first, due to lack of experience and many problems occurred: "These questions are about our press type and printing plate Type," he said. Western Litho's representatives worked with Printech's employees and provided the LT-2E plate (unlike LT-2 plate particles, which are said to be better used on the Printech press). "This kind of support and plate solves all our problems. Since then, each of our jobs has used platemaking machines to make plates, and even includes copying."

RIP is RIP

"Ten years ago the workflow was this: Open the document, click on 'Print', then the Postscript page description language starts to transfer to the device - in this process you can't see anything until the final device terminal output," Hinderliter Consulting & Creative Consultant Hal Hinderliter, president of Services Consulting, said. "Now you can output the PDF file and put it in an activation folder so that you can do all kinds of things."

Mr. Hinderliter said that he found that the various options for the workflow are costly and that many four-press printers do not have to exchange money to buy all the features. However, he determined that there are at least three levels of RIP in the market:
The first level is a skinny simplified RIP. According to Mr. Hinderliter, "Some CTP devices work just like laser imagesetters."

The second level is usually a standard RIP (usually Harlequin RIP) plus some small-function plugins such as PDF/X and TIFF/it. According to the consulting firm, the basic RIP price is generally between 12,000 and 17,000 U.S. dollars. In addition, each small plug-in probably costs about $5,000.

The third level comes from "the supplier's heavyweight RIP, which provides the smaller version of the customer's request." Hinderliter said, such as Heidelberg and its metaDimension, Creo and its Prinergy, Fujitsu and its CelebraNT. These more sophisticated front-end devices are estimated to be worth about $30,000.

Although small-scale printing plants can also benefit from the multiple functions of RIP, Mr. Hinderliter pointed out that when companies choose high-grade RIP, they still need to consider clearly. It is necessary to determine whether high-end RIP is required according to the needs of each company and the type of general processing job. In addition, we must first pay attention to the training of CTP technology: "Training is the most frequent in the entire CTP installation process," the consultant commented. “Printers who are concerned about CTP cannot simply focus on prices and ROI (return on investment), and soon they will realize that 'people must be trained to make RIP work.'

(to be continued)

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