CTP Troubleshooting--Covering All Bases
Before any company can experience successful CTP troubleshooting, however, it must first win over employees resistant to change.
"We've got a couple of conservative guys in back who'd rather wait [to go CTP] until the technology is more fine-tuned," says one printing executive, who requested anonymity. "But that's not going to happen. There's a continual learning curve, which takes place each time a piece of equipment arrives. So, you'll always be fine-tuning. You just have to roll the dice and make it work."
Facing an untamed, filmless technology, which will inevitably throw some wild-pitch glitches, the rookie CTP printer must practice to gain maximum control over its digital workflow process.
Repurposing is part of the practice.
"CTP is an important piece of the workflow equation, but it's only one piece," contends Lee Webster, prepress production manager within R.R. Donnelley's Commercial Print Sector. "Photography, page geometry, images, text, SKU numbers, price, permissions, photographers, copyrights—you have to be able to bring all these pieces together. Repurposing is the key."
Webster says repurposing has been an essential link in the evolution of Donnelley's CTP process, which began 20 years ago with the company digitally burning plates.
"What's most important here is how you manage your digital assets," continues Webster. "It doesn't matter what the output is—plate, film, digital press, etc. The key is to create the file in a way that can be repurposed. Content management is especially important in repurposing."
But there's a lot more to repurposing than just content management, says David Donovan, systems engineer at Print Direct in Houston.
"Repurposing gives you better control over the manufacturing process; it gives you more flexibility in output, while maintaining consistency in input," he explains. "In the digital environment, we have the flexibility to control the input, which allows us to output in many formats."