Thermal CTP--Making Life. . .and Plates. . .Easier
"I looked at other machines, but the beauty is that it's completely automatic," adds Wexler. "It loads plates automatically, images the plates automatically, develops the plates automatically—and all I really do is take plates off the other end. I don't have to load the machine each time—it really operates itself. That's why we chose the Galileo."
Earth Color Group operates within the Apogee-PDF workflow, which Wexler deems a safer environment, as there are no re-ragging problems. "We can just burn in and burn out," he remarks. Minor, quick fixes can be made without "re-RIPing" an entire file. The workflow leading up to the laser imaging is one of the major reasons Earth Color chose to go with the Galileo Thermal.
The ThermoStar 971 plates are more apt to crack than they are to wear out, according to Wexler. Upon completing a 1.2 million impression run recently, Wexler's press operators removed the plates and found them to be in excellent condition.
"With conventional plates, we'd probably change plates at least once, maybe twice," Wexler points out. "Our pressmen are seeing a difference; the quality is just so much better. We've ran as much as 1.4 million impressions on some plates at our plant in Florida. Agfa told us we'd probably get about 1 million impressions out of these plates. But I don't think they even realize just how many impressions you can really achieve.
"My feeling is we could probably get 2 million impressions out of a set of ThermoStar plates," he adds. "There's more of a problem with the plate cracking than the plate wearing, because of the way they're clamped to the press."
Looking back, the only improvement Wexler would make on his implementation experience would have been a more intensive training program.
"If I had it to do over again, I would pre-train a little bit more," Wexler concludes. "I would have trained on different imposition programs that I was working on up front, which was something we didn't do."