CTP FIELD REPORTS -- Set to Compete
Wood Printing is enjoying labor savings despite having installed a manual system. "We do have an in-line processor, though," Wood notes. "At this point, I'm content to have a simple and reliable system, even if it is a little bit slower than a more automated system. Almost everyone in the plant can operate the machine." Going with a manual configuration helped keep the investment cost down, Wood adds.
He did find one drawback in going with a manual system. "We had to create a separate room for the platesetter because it operates under yellow safelight. Since the polyester system was self-contained, we didn't have that issue. I saw it as a step back, but it has worked out fine since we got the logistics ironed out."
The labor saving haven't impacted the shop's staffing level, but it did move people around a little, Wood says. "CTP put more of a load on prepress. It takes more time to prepare the files because we have to do impositions. We didn't use imposition software with the imagesetter.
"There was more to the transition on the computer side than I originally thought," he continues. "The learning curve was bigger, but what really struck me was all the software and other pieces you need to purchase. There's much more involved than just the platesetter—RIPs, workflow software, imposition software, etc.—and it's all fairly expensive."
With hindsight, one piece of advice Wood offers to new adopters is to consider making the transition in stages. "We brought in a digital proofing system at the same time as the polyester platemaker. I wouldn't do it that way again," the company exec says.
"We had been using Matchprint as our color standard, so we tried to match the proofer, polyester platemaker and our printing to that standard. That made for too many variables to deal with at one time. It would be easier to bring a proofing system in, get it calibrated and set up so you can trust the proofs, and then install the CTP system and calibrate it to the proof," Wood concludes.