Operation Digital Output
Shopping for and finding digital output devices to enhance workflow productivity is a matter of education in relation to your needs.
By Marie Ranoia Alonso
SHOPPING THE output odyssey is not a simple task for package printers looking to expand in a digital direction. So many solutions in the platesetting segment, so much to consider. Thermal or non-thermal platesetter? Small or large format? Semi- or fully-automated? What is the ROI?
Pay close attention to new OEM agreements, such as the recently struck Agfa agreement to market Krause America's LaserStar 140 and LaserStar 170 platesetters, bringing a great deal of PDF power to the Krause line. Also, take notice of the ongoing technological initiatives of the Heidelberg/Creo alliance which should prove for interesting moves in digital platemaking and digital color proofing.
Dan Keane, president at Buffalo, NY-based Mod-Pac, a converter of folding cartons for the pharmaceutical, healthcare, food, confectionery and automotive markets, did his homework regarding digital prepress options. Currently, Mod-Pac has a digital prepress unit routed to the Macintosh G3 platform. The prepress force at Mod-Pac accepts a bulk of its work via digital file transfer, primarily using 4-Sight's iSDN Manager. It also operates a Kodak DCP 9000 digital color proofer, with a Creo Spectrum halftone digital color proofer on order from Heidelberg Prepress.
Making the decision to be a thermal CTP shop, Mod-Pac accomplishes its digital platesetting on a Creo Trendsetter 3244, driven by a Delta workstation from Heidelberg Prepress. PackPilot, Heidelberg's digital workflow solution for packaging, is in place in the Mod-Pac operation, delivering automated step-and-repeat, as well as built-in nesting.
How digital does Keane want Mod-Pac to go? The folding carton converter is working to be fully CIP3 compliant (see CIP3 Refresher sidebar, this page), sporting CPC32 functionality from Heidelberg, which gives Mod-Pac a digital interface between the prepress and press departments.