September 1999 Issue


Opening New Doors

Packaging-specific prepress technologies are opening new lines of communication, unprecedented quality-enhancement opportunities for printers, and strategic alliances between suppliers. by Terri McConnell "It doesn't get any better than this" was one of the first principles I was taught 15 years ago as a fledgling mechanical artist. Thankfully the statement wasn't a commentary on my career potential—it was a strong warning that as layouts moved through the analog printing process, image quality had generally nowhere to go but down. I also remember another warning: "When a press operator walks through those swinging doors carrying plates, pray he's not looking for you." In those days, little

Seeing Applications Through

Screen material suppliers address vignette and metallic ink printing challenges, and look toward digital prepress compatibility solutions. by Susan Friedman With a wide-open attitude toward changing needs, screen material suppliers are addressing everything from larger pigment ink problems to process printing prospects, to compatibility with more presses. With nickel sleeve constructions, the byword is stability. Stork Rotaform's line of Rotamesh rotary screens, which are produced in the round, feature a 100 percent nickel, non-woven material that is electroformed to create walls and holes, along with a smooth surface inside and outside. "Most other rotary screen materials are woven with the same materials typically used

Vying to Add Value

Narrow-web letterpress, screen, and gravure pressmakers and printers show off their specialties and gauge the competition. by Susan Friedman Letterpress: quality still rules Letterpress hasn't lost its high-end lustre, but its marketshare may be vulnerable to claims of improved quality at less cost by other processes—particularly flexo. "For years we've been rotary letterpress, and flexo has been 10 paces behind," says George Noah, V.P. at Lewis Label Products. "Now flexo is one pace behind, and nine out of 10 buyers can't tell the difference." Noah estimates Lewis Label now prints 50 percent of its work with rotary letterpress—a level that was formerly as high