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Ditial Prepress--Beta Watch!

May 2000
Eastern Rainbow and Offset Paperback are knee-deep in beta exercises. Eastern Rainbow is testing Agfa's new violet laser digital platesetter, Galileo VS. Offset Paperback is exploring new reverse imposition territories with a new Purup-Eskofot EskoScan.Why the testing? What are the verdicts?


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


Beta duty. It ain't pretty. In the trenches, dozens upon dozens of commercial printing operations in the United States, each year, open their doors, their digital infrastructures, their prepress departments, their pressrooms, to bleeding-edge technologies. There are PDF workflows to test; there are new digital proofing devices to calibrate; there are top secret on-press imaging technologies to refine for the next-generation of on-demand digital printing presses.

Beta is serious business.

On beta duty right now are Eastern Rainbow of Derry, NH, and Offset Paperback Manufacturers of Dallas, PA; both have been testing two devices slated for launches at DRUPA 2000.

* Eastern Rainbow's beta work is linked to a new digital platesetter from Agfa. The eight-up Galileo VS is a violet laser, internal-drum platesetter designed for use with Agfa's new Lithostar Ultra silver halide plates, which is also on the launch agenda for DRUPA 2000. Eastern Rainbow needed a cost-effective transition into CTP—one that could support its short-run applications with high-end plates, but not drain the company's purchase portfolio. An Agfa shop, Eastern Rainbow saw logic in the Galileo VS.

* Offset Paperback, which produces 1.3 million paperback books each day, is actually the inspiration for the Purup-Eskofot scanner it is currently beta testing: a new EskoScan that sports sophisticated new reverse imposition scanning software, designed by Purup-Eskofot to meet specific imposition requirements at Offset Paperback.

Eastern Rainbow: Raising a Galileo
Before the beta: Interested in an economical transition into CTP, Eastern Rainbow, a $15 million operation—the merging of a $4 million general commercial printer and an $11 million full-service prepress house—was approached by Agfa to test Agfa's new violet laser digital platesetter, the eight-up Galileo VS. The VS enables users to output 17 40.5˝ plates per hour at 2,400 dpi.

Souhegan Color, the $4 million printing arm of Eastern Rainbow, had pulled beta duty for Agfa several times and saw the logic in testing the new violet laser Galileo.

The new Galileo utilizes Agfa's new Lithostar Ultra plates; specifically, the Lithostar Ultra LAP-V, engineered for use with violet laser output devices, and currently compatible with all major visible-light imaging technologies. The Lithostar Ultra's ability to be handled in yellow safelight conditions was appealing to the team at Eastern Rainbow.

 

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