JT Prepress Invests in Esko CDI and HD Flexo
Waiting until they found a digital flexo plate imaging system they believed could exceed the work they did with analog processes, JT Prepress Express selected an Esko CDI Spark 2530 imager with HD Flexo, along with an ArtPro prepress front end.
Based in Costa Mesa, CA, JT Prepress Express is a trade shop that produces film and plates for its clients, and does all of the prepress and graphic manipulation work to assure the printed result is as good as possible.
"For 12 years, I believe I was able to produce better analog plates than digital plates. I was extremely competitive compared to many other trade bureaus—until about three or four years ago,” recalls Joe Cantarella, president.
"We decided to conduct head-to-head tests against three or four imagers. Esko's CDI flexo plate imagers with HD Flexo held a smaller highlight dot than I could, and used stochastic screening in the highlights under 10 percent with small bumps to hold these dots. It was better than what I could do," admits Cantarella. "I believe it is important to combine all the features of the software and plate imaging, because it can deliver a higher quality plate."
HD Flexo combines high resolution, 4,000 dpi optics with proven screening technology. This combination makes it possible to achieve outstanding print quality with a straightforward plate production process. Just as significant, this technology is easy to use. There is no longer any need for tweaking or adjustments—it is simple and straightforward.
"With digital flexo presses that can hold the dots, better aniloxes, and a higher-end digital plate, we are seeing 175 lines per inch," Cantarella says. "This puts our clients—such as those who print labels for wine bottles—in the realm of high-end premium printing."
Workflow has also improved. According to Cantarella, his team no longer has to spend time adjusting photographs to assure that there is not a hard edge around a 1 percent dot. With HD Flexo, they are able to produce smooth vignettes from 10 percent, down.
The company is also seeing 40-50 percent time savings in plate production. "I can send several files and compose them on one sheet on material. It takes only 13 minutes to image the plates. With our analog process, it took 25 minutes to expose the film, and then run it through a processor, image the plate, and run the plate through a processor.
"We can't wait to get samples back from our customers to show off how well the plates work, as well as to help us become HD Certified,” says Cantarella. “I expect to work with three or four new clients—pretty significant for our small shop.”