CTP FIELD REPORTS -- Set to Compete
"I really like the way Esko-Graphics builds its machines," Gust says. "They're solidly built, with a heavy-duty cast-iron frame, drum and wiring harnesses. The design is modular, with the ability to switch out laser technologies, for example. Because of that, I'm looking to pay off this platesetter in five years and then still have a viable machine for maybe another 15 years."
"Longevity was very important to me as a small owner," Gust continues. "In a digital environment where platforms and associated software sometimes become obsolete within a year, keeping up with technology has become a significant cash-flow issue."
Gust viewed not having CTP as cost to the company in the form of a lost business opportunity. "No other shop in our market has an eight-up CTP solution in place yet. I could see the benefits just by crunching the numbers—the debt service I had for a previous machine, the labor expense I was incurring for stripping and platemaking, consumables expense for film, etc. I didn't want to wait any longer."
The printer didn't go looking for a violet system, and in fact had a 1,064nm thermal, semi-automatic system for a short period of time. It encountered problems with one brand of thermal plates toning on-press and another supplier announced it was going to stop selling 1,064nm plates in the U.S., Gust reports. "We were left without a workable solution."
Esko-Graphics replaced that platesetter with a new PlateDriver in October of 2002. "We're looking at possibly switching to a 30mW violet laser and photopolymer plate in the future, but the 5mW was the only available option at the time," Gust notes. "We've always had darkrooms and cameras, so the safelight environment necessitated by the silver-halide emulsion on the plates wasn't an issue for us."
All Service Graphics is a sheetfed printer with 24 employees. It produces a range of work, from annual reports down to technical manuals, Gust says. The shop's new platesetter supports its full pressroom lineup, from a two-color Heidelberg Quickmaster duplicator up to a six-color, 40˝ Speedmaster.