Doug Fenske’s decision to replace the CTP unit in his in-plant might be characterized as an “It’s not you, it’s me” break-up.
Fenske, the director of printing and photocopy services for Minnesota State University-Mankato, didn’t detest, dislike or even distrust the five-year-old ECRM Mako2 violet laser system.
“The old system was good; nothing was wrong with it besides its age and a messy, hard-to-clean processor,” he admits.
Still, Fenske knew, even from the start, that violet technology wasn’t “the one” for him. “I’ve been looking at chemistry-free [CTP] ever since we bought the first platesetter,” he acknowledges. “I used to tell vendors, ‘When you’re ready to show a chemistry-free system, I’m the guy you want to talk to.’ ”
Last year, Fenske saw and purchased a Fuji-film Dart 4300 thermal CTP system for the self-funded in-plant.
“This was the only one presented to me that was a completely dry system—others required a washer with gum,” he notes. “You can take the plate right out of this platesetter and go to press with no liquids touching it. No odors. No chemicals.”
The machine was installed in December 2008, and Fenske has been thrilled with the results. The shop also invested in a new RIP, the Screen Trueflow.
“The system is working extremely well, beyond my expectations,” he enthuses. “Our motto is ‘Work smarter, not harder.’ And that’s what we’re doing.”
Fenske attributes the smooth transition, in part, to proactive preparation. “We had a trainer spend a week—actually 200 man hours—with us, training everyone,” he recalls. The shop has 11 full-time employees and about three dozen student assistants.
“With the old system,” he continues, “there was only one person fluent in imposition, so if that person was sick or took time off, we were stuck. Now, if one staff member is out or even forgets how to do something, another will remember and step in. Training the whole staff has been the most important part of the process.”