SCREENING SYSTEMS — Spotting an Opportunity

At the time, the shop was printing 175- to 200-lpi screens, its prepress supervisor notes. “Today, 85 to 90 percent of our work is produced using Staccato; we’re still receiving some film. I’m amazed at the detail it picks up. The results are near photographic quality.”

Printed representations of paint chips were the initial application pursued by Creative Press. It saw the screening as a vehicle for producing smoother tints and gradations in blended colors and pastels, McHugh says.

Mass Production

The printer has expanded its use of the process to include production of posters, brochures, labels and more. One reason clients have been so willing to embrace the process is the fact that the shop hasn’t been charging a premium for it. Part of what makes the process practical is Creative Press’ ability to use its Trendsetter Spectrum platesetter/proofer to output plates and proofs for the screening.

Side-by-side comparisons really sell the technology, McHugh claims. The printer had to do a fair amount of testing initially to stabilize its processes, so it would ask clients to send in sample jobs or reprint previous work. “Our testing process ended up being a selling tool,” he says.

The character of Creative Press’ operations masks some to the potential benefits of the process, McHugh asserts. He can’t fairly judge the impact on makeready times, for example, because the shop has set very exacting process standards for all its work.

“Since we aqueous coat everything on-press, I can’t even say the sheets dry faster,” the prepress supervisor continues. “In theory, they should. We don’t have any data on ink usage either, but our salesman did comment that he thought we were using quite a bit less ink since switching to 10 micron screening.”

Creative Press runs three six-color, 40˝ sheetfed presses that are basically identical. A common printing platform and running with 10 micron screening almost exclusively have helped the shop get its processes under control and keep them that way, McHugh adds.

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