Chemistry-free CTP: Miami-Dade County
Steve Schmuger, graphic services manager for Miami-Dade County’s General Services Administration, can summarize one of his most important job responsibilities into three words: feeding the organism.
Schmuger envisions the shop’s workflow as a dynamic, vital entity. “It can do more and more things for you, but you must keep feeding it—that is, investing in technology and adding more components,” he asserts. “You have to think in terms of overall impact, rather than just ROI.”
About two-and-a-half years ago, the in-plant’s offset location was served a gourmet, multi-course meal with the installation of a Heidelberg Suprasetter A74 thermal CTP system. Schmuger expected the platesetter to serve as a key component to enhance overall operational automation and integration, as well as to create an eco-friendly situation.
Thermal was Schmuger’s technology of choice. “Once thermal systems were mature enough, that’s what I wanted,” he declares. “It’s more stable, the lasers are less finicky [compared to violet] and the system requires minimal cleanup.”
Schmuger has been more than happy with the results. “We have not had to compromise on quality at all,” he reports. “And, even more than that, the price differentials are evaporating quickly.”
Heidelberg’s Saphira Chemfree thermal plates are “headache free,” according to Schmuger, who claims to get as many as 350,000 to 500,000 impressions out of the plates.
“We can be almost irresponsible about resetting exposure times and, although there’s a gum agent, it’s completely soluble,” he relates. “Even our environmental people have had no objections.”
The system’s ability to perform without harsh or harmful chemistry was a huge selling point. “We have been positioning the whole plant to be environmentally friendly,” Schmuger notes. “It’s a very important part of what we do.”
While the technology’s learning curve was steep, Schmuger recalls, really getting to know the unit was well worth the effort.