Boosting Pressroom Productivity — Pocketing More Profits

“The two most common are Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma,” Suffoletto points out. “This doesn’t require purchasing expensive equipment—just working smarter, not harder.”

Technology doesn’t necessarily have to be “new” to be effective and to provide productivity opportunities. Suffoletto admits there is a learning curve that follows after implementing a new technology—it takes time and practice to learn how best to use it.

He offers some examples of productivity-boosting options:

* Computer-to-plate (CTP) has enabled higher screen rulings or advanced and hybrid screening options like stochastic or frequency modulated (FM).

* The productivity gains in the pressroom due to CTP workflows are faster makereadies because of better fitting register and accurate dot gains on the plates.

* CIP4 ink key presets from prepress allow the pressroom to shorten makeready time by getting up to color faster with less paper waste.

* Closed-loop color is becoming popular because it can reduce paper and labor costs, while also increasing quality with better color consistency.

* Color management systems using ICC profiles from IT8/7.3 targets allow wide-format ink-jet to be an accurate contract color proof.

As such technologies become more affordable, it will help with the long-term survival of many printers, Kelley says. Also, some printers are more accepting of change than others.

“As history has shown, those who embrace change and find a way to make it work for their customer base will not only survive, but will thrive,” he states. “Future challenges and opportunities will come from the need for new and innovative equipment and processes, as well as the development and procurement of the human element. I see the key element for success being the understanding of how to develop and maintain the workforce during this ever-changing process.”

Still, it is automated equipment that comes quickly to mind when talking about productivity in the pressroom. As a result, many older presses, especially web offset models, are being replaced due to productivity and quality concerns, PIA/GATF’s Prince says.

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