CTP vs. CTF — The Debate Rages On

Another company that began recognizing an immediate time and energy savings with its CTP acquisition is Derry, NH-based Eastern Rainbow, which was founded in 1976 as a prepress trade shop. Eastern Rainbow merged with Souhegan Color, a commercial sheetfed printer located in nearby Nashua, NH, in 1999. Together, the companies became Eastern Rainbow and Souhegan Color, a division of Eastern Rainbow; reported revenues for the combined effort are in the area of $15 million.

With the merger, the new company evolved into a full-service graphic communications company providing graphic design and production, digital photography, digital and traditional prepress, and printing services. Customers of note include Putnam Investments, Timberland, McGraw-Hill, Bass Shoe, T.J. Maxx and Hasbro. With such a diverse client base, the company began looking to the future and installed an Agfa Galileo VS platesetter in February, 1999.

The new Galileo VS is a visible light, computer-to-plate system designed to raise the productivity of high-volume printing operations by employing a reliable, violet laser diode operating at 410nm. The shorter wavelength reportedly enables the fastest imaging speeds in the industry, thereby increasing throughput, and raises Rainbow’s productivity to new levels.

“The Galileo VS will improve our quality and, in combination with our new 40˝ press, enable us to be more competitive in our fiercely competitive market,” contends Bob Stuart Jr., president of Eastern Rainbow. “The Galileo VS will make us a much more profitable company.”

Film Still Has Proponents
Aside from the manufacturers’ litany of CTP benefits, commercial printers have been putting the equipment through real-life paces for two or three years and proclaim they “never want to go back to burning plates from film.”

On the flip side, though, are companies like K&H Integrated Print Solutions in Everett, WA. Jay Ackley, co-founder, executive vice president and general manager, still believes in the merits of a conventional, film-based workflow. “Conventional offset will never go away given the low cost of most offset jobs compared to jobs produced using other technology, specifically CTP. In addition, film is much easier to archive, then re-strip for a reprint as needed.”

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