Expanding the Sheetfed Operation?More Than the Metal
CTP, Ericksen contends, reduces the amount of machine and labor time necessary to produce certain stages of the job, such as high-volume step-and-repeat platemaking, along with make-ready and plate makeover time in the pressroom by providing plates imaged with laser accuracy and tighter dot control.
Before the end of 1998, Carqueville Graphics plans to have a digital platesetter in operation. John Nowicki, general manager at the operation, reports the company is moving in the thermal direction because, looking to the future, thermal CTP will enable Carqueville to provide its customers with more consistent, higher-quality production.
Even without the platesetter, Carqueville still delivers a value-added punch with a pressroom full a Mitsubishis. The site sports a seven-color 51˝ press loaded with a tower coater and both ultraviolet and infrared lightsources.
Eagle Printing, a Cold Water, MI-based division of Fort Dearborn Litho, also relies on Mitsubishi press technology. Just-in-time production pressures have resulted in investments in advanced drying and curing systems, including infrared drying and ultraviolet curing systems from Wm. Fuchs-Jac. DeVries of Chicago.
"Drying systems give you an edge in moving faster to the finishing phase, which gets the job out the door faster and to the customer—which, in this competitive business, can be the difference between success and failure," explains Mickey Hicks, president and general manager at Eagle Printing.
And the prospect of failure is all too real nowadays, particularly for independent sheetfed operations trying to staying afloat in an industry replete with acquisitions, mergers and market-driven pressures.
"The competition in the sheetfed marketplace is fierce—and it isn't going to diminish anytime soon," Hicks projects. "The market itself is driven today by the demands of the customer—demands for fast turnaround—and only the implementation of new technologies, such as CTP and advanced drying and curing systems, will allow for the faster production schedules we have to meet."