DIGITAL SOLUTIONS NEWS

CTP Next Logical Step

MORTSEL, BELGIUM Agfa recently announced the co.'s first European installation of the Xcalibur VLF (very large format) computer-to-plate (CTP) system. According to Agfa, Limmatdruck AG, a large packaging and commercial printing co. near Zurich, Switzerland, also uses Agfa Avantra imagesetters, Galileo thermal plate mfg. systems, Agfa Thermostar plates, Alliance film, and the Apogee workflow system.

Limmatdruck general manager Jean-Pierre Pfister says the co. chose Agfa as its primary supplier because “Agfa can provide a total solution — including equipment, workflow integration, and consumables — and take full responsibility. A VLF computer-to-plate system was the next logical step toward increasing our efficiency and productivity.”

Shown for the first time at Drupa, the Xcalibur, says Agfa, is an innovative thermal platemaking system that combines high productivity, image quality, automation, and production reliability. Xcalibur began shipping early this year.

CSA Names New President

VANCOUVER, B.C., CANADA Creo Products Inc. has named Larry Letteney president of CreoScitex America (CSA). Effective March 1, Letteney replaced Kevin Joyce, who, for personal reasons, has assumed a new role in the co.'s business development division.

Letteney joined Creo in 1995 and has held a variety of leadership positions, including VP of sales and VP of operations.

A graduate of the Univ. of Delaware and a 13-year graphic arts veteran, Letteney now reports to Mark Dance, president/CEO of CreoScitex. The co. says that Letteney will focus on supporting and growing the customer base by leading the CSA teams in all CreoScitex businesses in the Americas. Notes Dance, “Larry… has been instrumental in the growth of CreoScitex in the United States. His experience and knowledge…will allow us to…enhance our plans in the Americas.”

Pitman Partners with Barco

VANDALIA, OH Pitman Co. has agreed to be the primary distributor of Barco Graphics Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI) Spark in the US, reports Barco Graphics Packaging Systems. This distribution agreement further expands growth initiatives in the digital flexo market for both cos.

According to Barco, Pitman features a full range of digital imaging equipment, prepress, and press products and offers products tailored specifically for the packaging industry. Pitman is headquartered in Totowa, NJ, and has 20 branch locations throughout the US.

Enfocus Garners Seybold Pick

GENT, BELGIUM & SAN MATEO, CA Enfocus Software's Certify PDF was among the “hot” products featured at the Seybold Seminars last month in Boston.

The Acrobat plug-in for certifying PDF documents within PDF workflows is the co.'s third Seybold selection; the co. also garnered Hot Picks in 1998 and 1999.

Seybold Publications awarded “Hot Picks” to 23 out of 200 “products and innovative technologies designed to advance Web, print, and cross-media publishing.”

Says Seybold's John Parsons, “Because PDF files are editable, accountability for making changes is a major concern for document creators and producers. Enfocus's new offering… creates a dynamic environment for tracking ‘who did what.’ For users embracing late-stage PDF editing, it can bring order out of chaos.”

Seybold Seminars' next meeting is slated for this September in San Francisco, CA.

Vendor Agreement Will Ease Color Conflict

FORT LEE & LAWRENCE- VILLE, NJ A recent agreement between Sun Chemical and Datacolor Intl. has made viewing color a bit easier. According to Sun Chemical, Datacolor's Colorite technology is available exclusively through Sun's range of ImageChek products. Sun Chemical says ImageChek enables end-users and designers to see color accurately on their monitors.

Notes Gordon Stone, Sun Chemical's European liquid ink product director, “ImageCheck also provides brand managers the ability to evaluate design colors across all media in the program simultaneously. For example, in a packaging program, a manager can see design colors in product packaging, labels, cartons, and POS displays. This provides assurance that colors designed and printed at different sources will match when they come together at the point of sale.”

CIP4 Goes Swiss

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND The Alps, yodeling, and now the world headquarters of the Intl. Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press, and Postpress — or CIP4. Started in 1995 as CIP3, a graphic arts industry-vendor joint venture, the restructured organization will be based in Zurich and is registered as a Swiss association.

The organization has been developing the Print Production Format, which currently is used in the marketplace. Almost a year ago, four companies — Agfa, Adobe, MAN Roland, and Heidelberger Druckmaschinen — agreed to hand over rights to the new Job Definition Format to the renamed and restructured CIP4.

MAN Roland's board member, Dr. Rainer Opferkuch, says of his co.'s involvement: “Our customers strongly [desire] the integration of vendor independent products, and we have to support our customers' needs. Worldwide standards will be more and more the precondition for the power to compete in the printing industry. We were one of the ‘standardizers’ from the start.”

For more information visit www.cip4.org.

X-Rite Wins Big

GRANDVILLE, MI X-Rite Inc. recently announced the signing of the co.'s largest contract in its corporate history. The co. will develop an instrument and quality control program for a Fortune 500 customer. X-Rite's customer reportedly will utilize the program in its worldwide QC program. The details of the contract terms, market, and technology are restricted by confidentiality agreements, but X-Rite reports the contract amounts to $18 million over the next five years.

Presstek Expands Support Services

HUDSON, NH Presstek Inc. has expanded its customer service organization. The co. reports that the new organization will provide service to support its DI® enabled presses, thermal plates, and CTP systems. The service operates out of a new 50,000-sq-ft facility that also houses the co.'s executive offices.

The support organization, reports the mfr., offers both end-users and dealers a wide range of services, including applications training, product demos, equipment service training, and technical support.

Barco Adds Spark to Clemson Program

VANDALIA, OH Barco Graphics has donated a Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI) Spark to Clemson Univ., Clemson, SC. CDI Spark is a digital flexo device for imaging photopolymer plates from a mfr.'s digital format or PostScript 3 format. According to Barco, the CDI spark is designed for the narrow web and label markets, and final print quality is comparable to offset or gravure.

“By donating software and working together on industry events and projects, we have long been a supporter of Clemson University,” notes Barco's business development manager Ian Hole.

Clemson Univ. is the home of a graphic communications program that offers education in printing methods, undergraduate through doctoral. Says professor Dr. Sam Ingram, “We prepare our students to enter the world with a knowledge of the latest technologies used today. The addition of the CDI Spark rounds out our teachings in flexographic printing. We've been teaching digital flexo; now we'll have the ability to give our students hands-on experience.”

PDI Cites Top Three CTP Concerns

RACINE, WI “Growing pains are inevitable with any maturing technology, and computer-to-plate (CTP) is no exception. Three areas in particular [proofing, lack of backup, and file creation] are causing printers the greatest concern….” So says the latest newsletter (Vol. 6, No. 2) of Printing Developments Inc. (PDI).

PDI recently conducted an informal survey that polled 100 printers, many of which use PDI CTP plates. The survey revealed that printers are clamoring for dependable proofing systems and available backup when platesetters go down, and they are concerned about liability issues when customers improperly construct digital files.

“These concerns hit printers where it hurts most, in productivity and profitability,” notes Dwight Zilinskas, PDI director of international sales and marketing. “The quick embrace of CTP has produced superb results for some and problems for others. It's not surprising to see issues like these crop up as the technology becomes established more firmly.”

For more information about PDI and its CTP systems, visit www.pdiplates.com.


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