Fill Your Own Plates
Don't send your plates out to be imaged; do it yourself. Find out how—and why—to invest in computer-to-plate technology.
For Manager Pat McCord, going computer-to-plate (CTP) was an option that made sense.
Before purchasing an A.B.Dick DPM 2000, his in-plant at Asgrow Seed Co., in Parkersburg, Ind., outsourced its negatives to make paper plates at $16 to $18 a pop—a pretty hefty price for a shop with only two full-time employees.
By comparison, the DPM 2000 produces poly plates at $2 each, McCord says. And instead of sending out 200 to 300 negatives—and risking quality problems and decreased cycle time—the in-plant can now manage everything internally.
"It has given us higher quality by replacing our generation-loss problems of sending the negatives out," says McCord, manager of the print shop/mail center. He points out that since he became manager three years ago, business has increased by 300 percent. This year, the in-plant will do $600,000 in profit—up from $150,000 in 1995. Investment in CTP was a primary factor in the increase, McCord claims.
Elsewhere, the buzz words "faster workflow" are at top of the CTP benefits list for Richard Cozier, graphic arts manager for Perko, a marine hardware supplier in Miami.
Since purchasing a digital PantherPlate 34P from PrePRESS Solutions, the in-plant doesn't have to spend the better part of the day shooting volumes of plates on a dual processor camera—its previous method.
But though platesetters provide ease of use, increased quality and reliability, there are other issues to look at before taking the direct-to-plate road. One danger, notes Hal Hinderliter, director of the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF), is that customers and in-plant employees may expect too much of the platesetter.
"Customers may envision a system that allows for last-minute delivery of files with impossibly short deadlines; salespeople may long for lightning-fast AA plate remakes and even faster press makereadies; and your finance people may expect instant savings in consumables and manpower," he says. "The smart manager will manage expectations to allow some start-up time for working out the kinks."