CTP FIELD REPORTS — Set to Compete

“We save between 10 and 15 percent of the cost of the plate by eliminating chemicals and the work involved in maintaining them. The system is a lot more cost-effective than conventional platemaking, even considering the higher cost of the plate,” Burns says. The fact that the Anthem thermal plates don’t require pre- or post-baking adds to the cost and floor space savings, he notes.

Ease of use and reliability were selling points for the platesetter, Burns continues. The shop had previously tried going direct-to polyester plates using its imagesetter. “The system couldn’t run the plate sizes we needed for all of our presses, and polyester just wasn’t an effective solution for us.”

Nova has a staff of 15 people producing a mix of four-color and spot-color general commercial printing, typically with run lengths of 10,000 to 20,000 impressions. Its equipment lineup includes two AM Multi duplicators, a two-color Heidelberg Quickmaster 46-2 and a Heidelberg Speedmaster 52-H. The Presstek CTP system, which was installed about six months ago, produces plates for all of the presses.

“There are very few of the type presses we have in the city, which puts us in a niche where we can be more competitive because of the automation on these machines,” Burns says. “That’s even more the case now, with the platesetter.”

The current business environment actually provided greater incentive for the shop to invest in CTP. “Prices of jobs have come down so far that people are starting to almost give printing away. We can’t stay competitive unless we automate,” Burns asserts.

“Working from film, it would take us one hour to RIP the job, image the film, process the film, strip it up, expose the plate, process the plate and get it ready for the press. Now we go from file to plate in 20 minutes. The 40 minutes of time we are saving is well worth the cost of the machine. When you start to factor in the cost of the materials and labor savings, it got to the point where it was just cheaper to use a digital platesetter,” the company exec says.

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