The Ctp Do's and Don'ts
Everybody's Doing it—or at least thinking about doing it. Contemplating conversion to computer-to-plate, that is. The question is: Why?
Many printers are pressuring their customers into CTP. Although it's understandable that printers want to recoup the investment they've made to go CTP, for the publisher, this is not good reason for change. Nor is it an adequate incentive to adopt CTP merely because it's been touted as the wave of the future. No publisher should implement a technology for the sake of technology.
Many of you have heard stories about the great benefits to be gained by going digital, and it's a common misconception among our industry that if you adopt, you will automatically reap the rewards.
Granted, there are significant benefits to be realized from a digital workflow—money to be saved, cycle time to be reduced and quality to be enhanced—but these incentives become reality only when you devise a suitable, well-planned workflow. How much you will gain will depend on how the new, improved digital workflow compares with the one it will replace.
What about my needs?
Before diving in, you must understand your workflow completely and be able to perform detailed analyses of cost, schedule and quality differences. Most importantly, you must establish goals, devise a solid plan of attack, and create check points along to way to make sure that you're on track to attain your goals.
If your company's management dictates that it will only support CTP if it means saving money, be sure your new workflow will, in fact, reduce costs. This doesn't simply mean a lower per-page rate for processing; all aspects of production must be taken into account, including hardware/software investments, equipment maintenance contracts, consumables, upgrades, communication tools (e.g., T-1 or ISDN lines), asset management systems, employee training and, often overlooked, higher salaries for employees with more sophisticated skills.