A Printer's Nightmare: Unhappily Ever After
The ideal scenario for Steve Olson, of Steve Olson Printing and Design, is to sell his CTP system, but he says he can’t, in good conscience, unload the machine on someone else.
Steve Olson Printing and Design’s platesetting system.
Welcome to the gray area. What follows is the tale of a printer whose story is still ongoing, but it is far too late to enjoy a happy ending. The white knight has been replaced by a legal team and a stack of invoices and contracts. In the end, the printer received no satisfaction from its manufacturer, dealer and technicians. And the printer is still on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars while saddled with gear that is the printing version of the automotive lemon.
In the interest of fairness, we will not reveal the name of the manufacturer. Perhaps this story can serve as a cautionary tale.
Every month, Steve Olson, owner of North Chicago-based Steve Olson Printing and Design, writes a check for $700 to pay for a glorified paper weight—a near-worthless CTP system acquired two years ago. At press time, Olson still owes $21,000 and he cannot, in good conscience, sell it to another printer.
"When we first set it up, we were getting some pretty good images coming off our Ryobi 662H; it's stochastic as opposed to a conventional screen," Olson notes of the platesetting system, which the dealer said could handle a four-up format. "Then, we started running into little problems. Maybe the image would rub off, or we couldn't gum the plates. We still can't get the gumming right in order to re-use the plates."
Olson tried to work through the issue, but the system's inkjetting system began to experience "spit-ups." One of the four plates would be out of line or register, and the manufacturer's engineers—who flew in from overseas—could not determine the issue. The manufacturer cited the Ryobi press as being problematic, but Olson had owned the Ryobi since 2005 and never experienced a line-up issue using plates made by film from his imagesetter. As a test, Olson used plates made by another printer "that lined up beautifully."