CTP Troubleshooting–Covering All Bases

Lehigh Press, of Cherry Hill, NJ, has been fully operational in CTP since November 1997. Eric Roberts, technology marketing manager, believes the key to a seamless transition is having an infrastructure that’s as digital as possible. This includes digital proofing.

Roberts explains that Lehigh implemented QuickLink, its high-speed data transmission system, two years prior to going CTP: “With QuickLink in place, there was very little transition in the front end. Our customers were already used to submitting their work digitally.”

Early Preflights
Lehigh is careful to catch problems early on. Incoming files are assigned a job number and ticket, before being run through the preflight process to determine if any are corrupt. Lehigh uses Markzware’s FLIGHTCHECK, a standalone software application that verifies all the elements of an original file, then reports detected problems.

Preflighting programs such as these are becoming an essential part of the troubleshooting process, says Roberts, especially since an increasing number of customers are completing their own scans.

But preflighting is only part of the troubleshooting process. For Osborne, things started happening as soon as the system was running.

“Program issues were the least of our worries,” he says, “until the program we tried to use grounded us down to a halt. We weren’t expecting that.”

In this case, troubleshooting meant trying other programs, and Osborne claims the answer came from an unlikely place: the Mac. By using programs like Quark and PageMaker, and treating the CTP system as a printer, Print Direct was “able to go straight-to-plate with no problems,” Osborne says.

Challenge Printing reports several successful troubleshooting experiences as well. Brustad notes solutions in such problem areas as plate scratching (tracked and located in the transport to the processor), plate fall-off on press (presently experimenting with increased exposures) and inconsistent laser exposures (eliminated by weekly inspections and equipment maintenance). The end result: Challenge may soon be switching from photopolymer to thermal plates.

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