COMPUTER-TO-PLATE -- CTP Editions
The one technical issue that still presents its share of challenges is keeping up with the network and storage capacities required to support the CTP workflow, the prepress expert notes. "We've had to make significant changes in our storage and network systems almost every 12 months. I think we'll be moving toward SAN (server area network systems) technology, with redundant everything to support a prepress environment that will become 100 percent CTP," Aho says.
Brown Printing has had a similar experience with implementing CTP production in its publication printing operations, reports Scott Borhauer, central imaging manager. The process is used for about 60 percent of the work done at Brown, he says, with the remaining customers hesitating to make the change for a variety of reasons.
"One of the most compelling reasons is that the advancement to CTP production is cost neutral (in its entirety)," Borhauer explains. The other big factor is simply a hesitancy to change, he continues. "We are providing detailed education to help break down the barriers and offer a comfortable transition to CTP."
This training is backed up with financial incentives to further motivate customers to make the change, the imaging manager says. "Brown Printing has pricing tiers that reflect the use of CTP and the file types provided, thus enabling customers to control their costs," he explains.
Brown also markets the time savings that can be realized with CTP production, Borhauer says. "With remote proofing and automation becoming more prevalent in the industry, we are able to pull more days out of an already fast production environment."
At the same time, Borhauer believes the flip side to this trend is the biggest potential problem area remaining with the technology. "As we become more reliant on automation, we are removing many safety-nets in the process. People can forget how to do the simplest of tasks when they're not practiced on a daily basis. Unfortunately, to remain competitive in today's marketplace printers have to reduce their high level of labor costs, and automation supports this goal," he explains.