CTP FIELD REPORTS -- Set to Compete
Platesetter: ECRM Mako 2 CTP
Plates: Agfa Lithostar Ultra LAP-V
Technology: 5mW violet
Matt Wood, president, describes his company's first foray into CTP production as a "horrible experience." The shop tried using a computer-to-poly system. "The concept didn't work for us," Wood reports. "The machine was constantly breaking down and the materials kept jamming. We also ran into some issues on-press with the polyester plates. A lot of times we would have to tighten down the plates again after running a few impressions.
"We've been much happier since getting back to running metal. The plates are more expensive, but we've gained time and labor savings," the company exec notes. "When we put these metal digital plates on the press, the register is almost dead on."
The 18-employee shop has a two-color, 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster press to service a greater range of its customers' commercial printing needs, but the machine is kind of an odd-man-out in the pressroom. The rest of its Heidelberg press lineup includes two (four- and two-color) GTOs and two (two-color) Quickmasters. After weighing all his options, Wood decided the best solution for his operation was to run a dual workflow. The shop continues to produce film on its ECRM Mako 3600 imagesetter to make plates for the 40˝ press, he points out.
"At the time, we couldn't find an affordable system that would handle the whole range of plate sizes we use," Wood says. (Editor's note: ECRM only recently announced plans to introduce a four-up version of its Mako platesetter.) The company's past experience with ECRM led it to install the two-up platesetter in October of 2002, he adds. "Even in a down economy, you have to be as competitive as you can be. Given the number of four-color plates we use, the labor savings seemed to make it the right move for us. We try be as cost-effective in production as possible."