CTP-Is It Right For You?
Computer-to-plate systems can reduce your expenses and increase your productivity and quality. Find out if CTP belongs in your in-plant.
Computer-to-plate (CTP) technology has changed drastically over the last two years. The cost of digital workflow systems has dropped dramatically, becoming more affordable to even small in-plants. One benefit of this is the increased availability of thermal CTP systems and printing plates.
A completely digital workflow may seem limiting, but in truth it offers just as many options as a traditional or computer-to-film process. Using digital technology will allow you to use polyester or metal plates or, if required, print out onto film.
Still, with so much information available via trade magazines, vendors and the Internet, it is difficult for even the most savvy professional to filter through it all to make a sound and profitable decision.
The Advantages of CTP
The most notable benefits of CTP are its high quality and the reduction of expense accompanied by an increase in productivity. Implementation can eliminate the need for producing film, decrease your turnaround time and usage of materials, and provide a high-quality end product. The process also allows in-plants to produce short-run materials more economically.
"The whole point in going CTP is to improve productivity and reduce labor in the process," says Ken Newton, senior vice president of sales and marketing at A.B.Dick.
The main reduction in labor comes from printing the plate directly from the computer after proofing, as opposed to the traditional process of shooting a negative then burning a plate. Even with imagesetters, plates have to be made, incurring at least one extra step—and the additional risk of human error.
Along with the elimination of unnecessary steps comes the benefit of perfectly registered plates. These plates reduce the time it takes for traditional makereadies, which means less wasted ink, water and materials before the first sheet is even printed.