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One More Step to Automation --Waldman

March 2005
I look at my 2000 Toyota Rav 4 with admiration. And, yes, I now drive and have owned the exotic cars that make men behave like little boys. But when you cut to the chase, an automobile's job is to efficiently take you where you want to go without you having to take it where it needs to go.

More than five years after I drove my Rav 4 out of the dealer's showroom, other than the usual oil changes, it has never needed a single repair. So my Boxter may be more fun and far more appealing, but it's my dependable Rav 4 that does the job day in and day out.

Look back over your years in the printing business and ask yourself—in our equipment-heavy business—how many machines, devices or solutions have or still perform faithfully like my Rav 4? As I look back over too many years to bring to your attention I can think of one piece of equipment that did just that.

Yes, I had some presses that were very dependable, but no performance through the years matched the DS scanner manufactured by the company we now simply call Screen. I may have referred to the DS scanner in a previous column, but I have such a high respect for quality and reliability in both equipment and people that this machine is at the top of my honor roll.

For those of you who might not have been in the business during the hay-day of drum scanners, it was a time when you spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for a piece of equipment that slowly did what today's affordable flatbed scanners do. (And I am not going to get into the argument with the old-time scanner operators about superior range, quarter tones, etc., because that's all past history.)

But going back to the '80s, when color separations were solely in the domain of our industry, my company had an usually large scanning department running three shifts. We had Hell scanners, like many in those days. Unfortunately they were true to their name; they broke down frequently. We finally looked elsewhere and bought a DS scanner. It ran day in, day out with no problems. In fact, whereas the Hell scanners seemed to need a live-in repair man, our service contract on the DS scanner was dropped for lack of need.

It just performed its job efficiently in producing high-quality scans. All of these memories came flooding back to me as I talked to Jeff Paquette, prepress manager at Cummings Printing. Three years ago, Cummings installed two Screen PTR 8000 CTP devices. As Paquette touted their quality and reliability, I had to smile because it was good to know that some things hadn't changed. Screen was still producing solid equipment. But, as Jeff continued, I really became intrigued.


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