Proofing in Digital Color
When Mike Rink took over the reins of his father's small print shop in 1985, he had very BIG plans for the company's future. Foremost, he wanted to invest in technology that would transform the South Bend, IN.-based business from a "glorified instant printer" into a real commercial contender.
Rink upgraded the shop by installing new equipment from prepress to bindery and, as a result, the company had witnessed double-digit growth for nearly a decade. Based on that success, Rink is presently positioning the company for a 2003 transition to computer-to-plate. The first phase of the CTP conversion involved installing a new digital color proofer.
"We do a lot of work for advertising agencies, recreational vehicle manufacturers, colleges and universities, and other [major] companies," explains Rink, president and chief executive officer of Rink Printing. "We put in [a digital proofer] to get customers used to [technology]. The transition from analog to digital proofing was transparent.
"[Customers] are thrilled that we don't have to output additional film to make changes, which saves them between $300 and $500 per flat," he continues. "In the past, moving a comma or deleting a period cost hundreds of dollars because we'd have to re-output film. With the digital proofer, changes are made on the computer, and the only cost is re-RIPping time and any file intervention. The result is a tremendous savings in hands-on manpower, which can be shared with customers."
Significant savings are also being realized in quicker makeready, since digital proofing is a lot faster than analog, Rink states. After conducting his research, Rink chose the FinalProof product offered by Fujifilm, which offers up to 2,540 dpi halftone resolutions and output screens up to 200 lines, and produces one B2 proof in about 15 minutes.
The product is based on the FujiProof Color-Art standards, and features pigment-based CMYK colors that are exposed using Fujifilm's laser-diode thermal-transfer technology, which allows for lamination to the same printing stock used on press. According to Rink, the quality of digital proofing is "exceptional" because the halftone dot offers the same color integrity and consistency as an analog proof.