Computer-to-plate and Thermal Advancements
"We really did our homework before we made the big jump into electronic workflow in 1994, which was step one of our walk into CTP," Minyon reports. With workflow in place, Minyon guided the half-sheet printer of marketing literature to platesetting and digital proofing.
At present, 65 to 70 percent of First Impression's work is CTP. "Our direct-to-plate throughput is really only limited by our customer's ability to provide us with their jobs electronically—it's just a matter of time before our entire client base works electronically," Minyon estimates.
On thermal technology, First Impression feels it's a bit immature. For now, the company's silver halide plate delivers predictable results and accommodates its run length. "Thermal might be the future, but we believe it's really not so special right now," Minyon reports. "For today, we're making great progress with our CTP effort, and we feel there are no limitations to what we can achieve."
Mahaffey Quality Printing
Mahaffey Quality Printing is a $7 million general commercial printer located in downtown Jackson. Family-owned since being founded in 1951, it now employs 45 people and specializes in high-quality, short-run color as well as narrow-web flexo work.
"We're the only CTP-equipped printing company in Mississippi," boasts Jeff Wall, production manager. "We keep 17 presses running daily and average about 800 print jobs per month."
Mahaffey's CTP device, a Presstek Pearlsetter 74, feeds two midsize Heidelberg MO presses.
"We beefed up prepress this year as well with the addition of a 533MHz DEC Alpha file server and OPI spooler along 100 base-T network switch and DLT backup system," he continues. "We archive more than 150GB per month to tape and were using 4mm DAT."
Digital workflow is the most important part of the equation, he contends. "We have been outputting to fully imposed and punched film since late 1993 using a Linotype-Hell (now Heidelberg Prepress) Herkules imagesetter—we were ready for CTP before it was ready for us."