Over the Rainbow
They interviewed hundreds of commercial printers throughout North America. Their findings, revealing attitudes, experiences and expectations about computer-to-plate (CTP) technology, are published in State Street Consultant's latest report, "The Future of Computer-to-Plate." The consulting group also published a companion study, "The 4-Page Printer: A Statistical Overview," providing details of the printing marketplace as they relate to market slowdown. The report specifically chronicles printing profiles, applications, color work and installed equipment, including manufacturer, model, age and purchase intentions.
According to the report, CTP system buying habits now dictate that over the next two to three years the largest press sizes will be enabled. Nearly 35 percent of two-page press printers voiced interest in establishing CTP functionality, whereas nearly 40 percent of four-page press printers and over 40 percent of eight-page press printers are enthusiastic about CTP processing. The report also signals that there's a large opportunity within the four-page printer market for CTP systems because even though fewer printers within this segment are CTP-enabled, the intention to adopt the technology is high. State Street estimates that approximately 12,000 printers have a four-page press, and for 8,000 of them, it's the largest press on vicinity. Of this last group, only about three percent are CTP-equipped, but 14 percent have plans to purchase platesetters within the next 12 months. The four-page printers profiled were selected based on already having imagesetters or platesetters. Three-fifths of the CTP buyers among the four-page printers are also interested in four-page CTP systems, whereas the other printers within larger markers report buying larger systems.
Inevitably, what prevents even the most enthusiastic printer from going digital is cost, cites the report. The second greatest deterrent, according to the report, is the associated investment in prepress and networking infrastructure for both equipment and software. In order to bolster the market, however, vendors would have to lower the cost of investment to the $100,000 level. For printers who make the investment in CTP technology, the report says they save money on film and labor and improve quality and turnaround time for clients.