Screen (U.S.A.)

Special Editions — The Joy of Printing
June 1, 2007

You know that you’re a small-town printer when your customers stop by without an appointment, with their kids and pets in tow, just to say Hello. That’s what life—and business—is like in the small Midwestern town of Sussex, WI, and Brandon Esser, president and co-owner of Special Editions, wouldn’t have it any other way. He claims that he and his partner, Tom Peterman, are perfectly happy running their small, but-high tech printing business, which boasts only 13 employees (including the owners), 150 customers and revenues of about $1.5 million a year. According to Esser, living in a small town and doing business with people

May 1, 2006

OVER THE last several months, I have had occasion to speak with a number of print shops that have acquired direct imaging (DI) presses. Out of these conversations have come some common themes that present an interesting picture about where this technology fits in today’s increasingly complex and competitive printing environment. Interest in DI was relatively flat prior to DRUPA 2004, when several new DI technologies were announced. It is these new product developments and continued growth in high quality, short-run color that have created increased momentum behind the DI press. The owners I spoke with had some terrific business growth stories to

March 1, 2006

BY THIS time, the shipping crates are certainly well on their way to Birmingham (UK), if not already on the grounds of the National Exhibition Centre, laden with the latest and greatest that exhibitors at IPEX 2006 have to offer. Earlier this year, nearly a dozen companies gave the industry media a preview of their show plans at an event organized by the British public relations firm AD Communications. The primary intent was to give those already committed to attending the international exposition a head start in developing a must-see list. But, it’s not too late for others to book a last-minute trip if

March 1, 2006

MEETING DELIVERY dates can be a challenge for any type of printing operation, but there’s nothing quite like the deadline pressures of producing a daily newspaper. Pages need to be kept open as long as possible for competitive reasons, but the printed paper absolutely must be available to readers with their morning coffee. All elements of the newspaper production workflow have to be up to the challenge, and platemaking is a critical link in the chain. More plates typically are output in the final 15 minutes before the presses start to roll than during any other block of time. In recent years, digital technology

WORKFLOW SOLUTIONS -- Can't Beat the System
November 1, 2005

BY MARK SMITH Technology Editor "Workflow" used to be an easy, concise way to reference the digital equivalent of conventional prepress. It spanned the processes from when a file came in the door until the plate went out to the pressroom. Over time, usage of the term has been extended to encompass so much of the print production process that it now is in danger of applying to everything and effectively defining nothing. Workflow already has been—or is in the process of being—extended: * back to the customer, initially in the form of preflighting and remote proofing solutions, but increasingly including production portals

PRINT 05 PREPRESS WORKFLOW & CTP -- Streamlining the Prepress Process
October 1, 2005

BY MARK SMITH Technology Editor Industry vendors continue to weave a convoluted web of interconnecting technologies and business relationships. Imagine, for a moment, if all of such connections between exhibitors at PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05 had been represented physically by running strings between their booths. The result likely would have rivaled the work of even the most industrious spider. Quiet a few new strands would have been added just at the show, particularly in the areas of interfacing offset and digital workflows and marketing of new plate technologies. Though not expressly sold as JDF (Job Definition Format) solutions, that technology generally

September 1, 2005

BY MARK SMITH Technology Editor Printers in growing numbers are having second thoughts about their computer-to-plate (CTP) systems. First-time buyers are still the dominant force in the market today, but the aging installed base is rapidly driving up the percentage of shops looking to invest in a second, or even third, generation of technology. By the end of 2004, the installed base of CTP devices in North America had reached nearly 12,000 units, including metal and non-metal systems, according to a new plate market study recently published by PRIMIR (the Print Industries Market Information and Research Organization). Completed by State Street Consultants in

SCREENING ALTERNATIVES -- Screen Out the Competition
March 1, 2005

BY MARK SMITH Technology Editor Few things are as fundamental to the color offset printing process as screening. Add to that the experience built up with conventional screening, general resistance to change and some technical issues, and it's easy to understand the industry's caution when it comes to alternative screening solutions. The category of enhanced screening technologies now has been expanded to include what are referred to as "hybrid" systems, along with true stochastic or frequency modulated (FM) screening. Hybrid technology claims to combine the benefits of conventional, or AM (amplitude modulated), and FM screening. One group of specialty screening solutions that won't

DIGITAL COLOR PRESSES -- Digital Devices' Dance Card
February 1, 2005

BY MARK SMITH Technology Editor It’s been more than a decade since the first high-volume, modern digital color printing systems were introduced. Heidelberg and Presstek teamed up to launch the digital offset (GTO DI, in this case) product category in 1991. A few years later, the Indigo EPrint and Agfa/Xeikon Chromapress ushered in the era of the all-digital production color printing systems. In the future, though, 2004 may be looked back upon as a key transition period in the maturation of digital printing as a business segment—both on the vendor and user side. No fundamentally new technologies were unveiled, but all the vendors