CTP FIELD REPORTS -- Set to Compete
Kirkwood's last platesetter still had a lot of life left in it, but several issue made it ripe for replacement, the prepress director says. "For one, it was a fully automatic device that had trouble keeping the plates perfectly straight," he explains. "We installed a new press about a year ago that has plate autoloaders on it. Its tolerance for plates being imaged crookedly is extremely small. We'd get plates that were 1⁄16˝ out and that was too much."
Static was the culprit, Monfette says, despite the printer's best efforts to rid the plates of any charge. "It made two plates stick together; or even just sliding one plate across the slip sheet would cause it to pull like a magnet. The end result was crooked plates. I understand the technology has since been improved," he says.
The quality of the platesetter's screening proved to be another concern, the prepress director reports. "We're located fairly close to Agfa geographically, so we had ended up helping the company test its screening. We thought its ABS (Agfa Balanced Screening) screening was excellent, which convinced us to go look at the platesetter. The screening offers more levels of gray at output, is a little smoother and provides a nice rosette," he says. The printer is now working on implementing the manufacturer's Sublima hybrid screening, Monfette adds.
Kirkwood opted to stick with the manual feed configuration for its new platesetters. "People can get hung up on automation and a lot of little features that don't need to be there," Monfette says. "Simplicity is a positive these days with all the work being on such a tight turnaround. You have to look at what can take the machine down. We left off the online punches for that reason. If you have to wait 24 hours for a service call on a relatively simple thing like that, it's a real killer. We installed two units for redundancy."