CTP FIELD REPORTS -- Set to Compete
Excell installed a dual-laser, fully automatic version of the 30mW violet platesetter in September of 2002. It's the shop's first digital platesetter, but Blasing says he has always followed a philosophy of staying up with technology. "This company is only 12 years old. I opened it as a trade shop and added printing after seven years. Today we have about 35 employees," the owner notes. "We needed to go CTP from a competitive standpoint. There isn't any other shop in Fort Wayne that has a digital platesetter."
The printer had been exploring CTP options for a while, before deciding it was worth waiting for the photopolymer violet system to come out, Blasing says. "We'd been dealing with Fuji for years, so we decided to stick with them. We felt more confident buying a package (plates and platesetter) from one company."
Bill Purdy, prepress manager, says Excell invested in the dual-beam laser to boost the unit's imaging speed and quality, as well as for redundancy. "We wanted to make the platesetter a time saver, so we opted for full automation. The configuration is more expensive, but we figured the time and labor savings would justify the investment. It has turned out be a huge time saver," Purdy asserts. Since it is an enclosed, in-line system, the only activity that must be done in a yellow safelight environment is loading of plates into the cassette.
From the beginning, Blasing says he has marketed the company as a high-end color shop. He maintained that business philosophy with the expansion into sheetfed printing services, primarily supported by a 40˝, five-color press with coater and two 28˝ presses. The general commercial printer produces everything from letterhead to pocket folders, with a niche in high-end boat catalogs.
Quality in platemaking meant going with a system that produces a hard dot even without baking. "Plus, the plates come out clean and in perfect register, ready to go on-press. Our press operators love the digitally imaged plates," he reports.