At the Plate
After nearly nine months of researching CTP products, it only took one day for Santa Rosa, CA-based Chromagraphics to get the digital technology up and running. Eric Janssen, company president, admits that they immediately started benefiting from the improved quality and turnaround time.
"Our research took a lot of time," he explains. "There's nothing we don't like about the system! We run the heck out of it."
The company decided that Fujifilm's CTP products, Pictroproof digital color proofer and Dart Luxel T-6000 thermal platesetter, would work well within the printer's workflow.
"We took the Pictroproof out of the box, hooked it up and started using it. We were able to map the colors using a color management program and when we went to press, we hit! Rather than saying 'a little lighter here' or 'a little darker there,' we were right on the mark," admits Janssen.
When the two machines were installed, he thought the company would spend at least six months doing 50 percent traditional film and 50 percent CTP. But after just a few days, he says, "We stopped doing proofs that require film. We jumped immediately into computer-to-plate and have never gone back."
Recently, Chromagraphics ran 47 plates in a regular shift with CTP. Janssen says that producing that many plates with film used to take two shifts. "Our prepress makeready times have been reduced by about 50 percent," he says. "And our waste has been less. We get a full paginated proof that is highly accurate and are plates are accurately duplicating those proofs. If the proof looks right, the plate will work right. That's the benefit of having the systems integrated."
The two-page digital contone proofer uses thermal development and transfer technology (a laser diode-exposed imaging process) to produce color. Additionally, the devices utilize CMY donor material and receiver paper to stimulate commercial printing ink stock. In total, Janssen wanted a system that could make about 16 plates an hour at 2,400 dpi. The clarity of the system had to ensure accurate images.
He had customers on his mind. "And they're always happy about that," Janssen says. "The best think about having CTP and being able to offer top quality and quick turnaround is we can now service high-end customers that we were never able to tap into before. Instead of the proverbial seven-day turnaround, now we get things out of here in just a few days."
Janssen says that recently the company handled a dozen rush orders where clients called on a Wednesday and wanted their orders by Friday. He admits that before converting to CTP, Chromagraphics would have been hard pressed to meet those deadlines. But now, there's no problem turning the jobs around in two days.
"Chromagraphics prides itself on having very little turnover," Janssen adds. "The company is 27 years old and a lot of people have been here a lot of that time." And though he may have been concerned that implementing a digital workflow would be difficult as far as training, the proof came quickly. "They're experts in their jobs and enjoy working in printing," he says.