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E&D Web--Pursuit of Productivity

October 2000
E&D Web believes that using the latest printing technology delivers the rewards of greater productivity and profits. It's no wonder then that the 36-year-old commercial printing operation is able to push more jobs through its facility by using some of the most advanced printing equipment in the industry.

"We strive every day to operate as efficiently as possible," says Ken Love, COO of the Cicero, IL-based company. "Several press and plate processing equipment acquisitions have brought us leaps and bounds ahead of how we used to work."

In E&D Web's endless pursuit of greater quality and productivity, bi-metal plates from Printing Developments Inc. (PDI) have been a mainstay. The commercial printer of magazines, advertising inserts, covers, cover wraps and direct mail pieces has used the distinctive copper and aluminum plates exclusively since 1982. "We've always thought PDI plates the best on the market," adds Love. "They produce the quality our customers demand."

In 1998, E&D Web went digital and began using PDI's Prisma thermal CTP plates. Love says the major contributing factor to stick with PDI, after the quality, was because it eliminated the baking issue.

"You don't bake these plates," he notes. "That not only saves us an additional step that lengthens processing times, but there are no additional costs on gas and electricity. We've also reduced possible pre-baking imaging problems and post-bake plate cracking, as well as the regulatory concerns with the EPA and OSHA of people working around an oven."

As good as E&D Web believes the plates are, the printer saw a new piece of PDI gear at last year's Graph Expo show as a must-have for its productivity push. PDI's automatic, self-adjusting plate transport mechanism, which sits at the front of PDI's in-line processor, takes plates from up to three platesetters and conveys them to the PDI processor. So impressed was E&D with its capabilities, they bought the equipment right off the show floor.

Love reveals that PDI's complete CTP processing system has been tremendously efficient for E&D. "Overall, the Prisma plate has doubled the capacity of our prepress department," he says. "Conventional film processing could take 40 minutes under average conditions. With CTP and PDI's automatic processing line, we conserve a half hour per plate of man time and machine time for each of the 250 plates we produce every week. It's a huge savings.

"One of the basic concepts we operate by is to keep things simple," he contends. "Conditions are always changing—papers, PMS colors, use of varnish and temperatures. When issues come up, one of the places we don't have to look is in the plate department. The efficiency we gain in the plateroom is passed on to the pressroom."

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