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Penton Media is well on its way to earning a merit badge for CTP proficiency, partly because its initial efforts exemplify a basic Boy Scouts tenet: Be prepared. The company, in addition to producing Web sites and trade shows, publishes more than 50 business-to-business publications serving numerous, diverse industries, including design and engineering; electronics, food, retail, government; Internet and broadband; leisure and hospitality; management, manufacturing and mechanical systems.
Most of the publisher's titles are produced at its Cleveland headquarters. Penton began converting those publications to CTP production last November.
"Eight titles were completely digital by early December," reports David Healy, director of digital production technology for Penton. "And we're moving several more over each month." Healy predicts that the vast majority of all Penton publications will be CTP-enabled by year's end. "We're working at an aggressive pace," he admits. "We're already ahead of schedule."
Penton's long-standing partnership with its primary printer, R.R. Donnelley & Sons, certainly facilitates the transition, according to Healy. Printer and publisher had been laying the foundation for the move for about a year, paving the way for immediate action once Donnelley installed its first CreoScitex Trendsetter. "We had a mutual understanding and a commitment from Donnelley that our publications would go in that direction," Healy recalls.
The publisher already had a centralized in-house prepress department for conventional production. "By going CTP, we became more efficient," Healy assesses. "Because we eliminated a lot of manual processes associated with film-based production and proofing, we were able to reduce our prepress staff and take in more magazines."
Making work flow
Penton chose to implement a single-page, raster-based CTP workflow with Donnelley using the Rampage RIPing solution. "A raster-based workflow allows you to generate a proof from the same electronic file that will be used to make the plate," Healy explains. "It's similar to the traditional film-based workflow, in that I'm assured that what's on the proof is what's going to be on the press."