From the Platesetter, Back
A prepress systems manager offers some advice for modifying your workflow for CTP production.
Several years ago, American Trucker, an Intertec Publishing publication, went through an evolution—a revolution, if you will—by transitioning to the computer-to-plate (CTP) production method. Instead of modifying its workflow to involve only digital production, the Indianapolis-based publisher went one step further and assumed the role of platemaker.
CTP cause and effect
While better quality is an unquestionable benefit of moving to CTP, other benefits are more easily quantified by numbers and dollar signs.
American Trucker, which is an advertising-based publication for the used truck and trailer market, moved to CTP more than four years ago. Produced as a four-color magazine format, the publication's manufacturing situation was unique in several respects. Even prior to moving to CTP, all prepress work, including film output, was done in house.
CTP brought some attractive advantages to the American Trucker table, as Steve Schwein, electronic prepress systems manager, explains: "The equipment and the technology were there, and we knew that we were going to save a lot on overtime and labor. Our staff, for example, hasn't become any smaller, but we've probably gone from paying 80 hours of overtime a week to less than 10 hours a week. Imaging film was so much slower, and we had to process it, hand strip and lay up all the color."
Using QuarkXPress, Photoshop and Freehand, 10 American Trucker operators are responsible for creating the majority of ads that run in the 18 regional editions of American Trucker and one edition of Mine & Quarry Trader.
"Most of the truck dealerships that advertise with us don't have advertising agencies," Schwein points out. "If we get a new advertiser, they may give us some rough ideas … something to give us some direction for page design. Once we settle into that design, we generally stay within that format. In its simplest form, I'm picking up an ad they ran last month, and I'm replacing it with new pictures of vehicles and descriptions.