DI Presses in the In-plant
EVEN AFTER installing an HP Indigo 1050 digital color press four years ago, San Diego State University ReproGraphic Services still found it challenging to reach portions of the four-color market. Longer-run jobs were not cost effective on the 1050, so the in-plant was using its aging computer-to-plate (CTP) system and two-color presses to produce them. It was not the most efficient setup.
So in 2006, Leslie Rutledge, manager of the nine-employee in-plant, made the decision to install a Presstek 34DI direct imaging press. Life has not been the same since. The chemistry-free, waterless offset press images plates directly on the press, saving time, improving quality and decreasing costs.
“For our shop, it was the best decision I ever made,” declares Rutledge.
A growing number of in-plants agree with her.
Though introduced to the market back in 1991, direct imaging (DI) technology has lingered on the fringes of the industry; traditionalists were skeptical of it and progressives bypassed it for toner-based devices. Lately, though, DI seems to be gaining traction; numerous in-plants have installed DI presses in recent years, viewing it as a cost-effective way to enter the four-color market.
That was the case at California State Polytechnic University, in Pomona, where the in-plant added a Presstek 34E DI to stem the flow of four-color work to outside printers—work the in-plant couldn’t previously handle with its one- and two-color presses.
“The 34E DI enables us to produce four-color work in-house,” explains Daiken Fiore, manager of Graphic Communications Services.
“We needed to get into four-color,” adds Dave Nelson, director of Printing Services at Illinois State University, in Normal, Ill., where a Heidelberg Quickmaster DI 46 has been in place for nearly a decade. “We were a two-color shop, and this was the most compact and, frankly, least risky way to get into four-color.”
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.