Like bowls of porridge, rocking chairs and ursine beds, various CTP systems may or may not fit the needs and suit the taste of a particular prospective user. Fortunately, Gordon Rivera found a platemaker that was just right for Allan Hancock College’s in-plant.
Rivera, the coordinator of Campus Graphics for the Santa Maria, Calif.-based community college, had been planning to upgrade the facility’s platemaking capabilities for some time.
“We were already using several smaller CTP systems, such as D-Stat, but they couldn’t meet all of our quality needs,” he explains. “At that time, we could have afforded a [Mitsubishi] SilverMaster, but I didn’t want to go back to chemistry. So, we sat around for a few years and waited for technology to catch up.”
It did. This year, Rivera found an ink-jet-based solution, the Glunz & Jensen PlateWriter 2000, which he felt outpaced the competition.
“I had been researching, studying and teaching about [ink-jet technology],” notes Rivera, who is also a part-time lecturer at the California Polytechnic State University. “I jumped at the chance to try this system.”
Why ink jet? “We could have gone ablative, but that would have been too expensive for us,” he asserts. “We paid $40,000 for the unit, versus around $80,000 plus $7,200 in annual maintenance for a thermal system. And our metal plates are a buck apiece.” Rivera estimates that he is saving $800 a month by selecting ink jet over thermal.
“If we were a big commercial shop, we probably would have chosen thermal,” he acknowledges. However, Rivera points out that the in-plant—which is fully subsidized by the college and comprises four full-time staff members—simply doesn’t have the sales or the need to justify the outlay.
“This technology is good for people like me who want high quality, but don’t have the truly picky clientele you’d have [in the retail sector],” he opines, noting that he has used a 200-line screen at 2,400 or 2,540 dpi and has been very pleased with the result.