Running the Gamut
Three days. Two shifts. Seven hundred plates. This is the mission for Media Lithographics, recently ranked among Printing Impressions magazine's Top 500 Printers—and recently, with time to spare.
The company underwent a restructuring that converted it's film-based workflow into a complete computer-to-plate (CTP) operating system. According to Dan Armenta, digital press supervisor at the Commerce, CA-based company, "Thanks to the Fujifilm Javelin Luxel T9000 CTP thermal platesetter, we're producing plates at an extraordinary rate. The speed has really helped cut our turnaround time."
Armenta says that the company now produces 12 plates per hour, punched inside the machine, instead of externally for consistent registration. He also notes that the digital workflow has improved color consistency and repeatability.
"Digital platesetting has significantly reduced press makeready times and improved our overall product quality through enhanced registration and decreased dot gain," adds General Manager Al Rivero. The company transitioned to CTP with the purchase of a complete CTP workflow system, including the Javelin, Celebrant RIP, C-550 flatbed scanner, PictroProof and PreProofer 2000. Since making the switch to CTP, Rivero says Media Lithographers has saved more than 16 percent each month in overall prep costs. He also reports a 137 percent increase in productivity.
"Digital proofing is essential to CTP workflows," explains Rivero. "Our workload is a mix of high-quality four- to six-color sheetfed jobs and one- to two-color web books. We use the continuous-tone Pictros as color contract proofs and the large ink-jet PreProofs for imposition or pagination proofing."
Armenta agrees that being able to make a proof in a matter of minutes is a necessity to a digital printing workflow. "And," he adds, "the color matches on-press. Our pressmen know they can match the PictroProof with the press sheet and customers know the color they see on the proof is what they'll see in print. It's a relatively inexpensive proof and it doesn't take long to produce."