Heidelberg USA recently completed the installation of a fully integrated Prinect Prepress Manager workflow anchored by an environmentally friendly thermal Suprasetter 105 CtP device at Wallace Graphics in Stone Mountain, Ga.
According to Prepress Manager Gary Foster, prior to installation, the company had a perfectly serviceable—if nonintegrated—prepress workflow system—as long as someone was there to make sure it ran.
“Our decision to upgrade was driven primarily by the need to update our hardware,” Foster said. “By sticking with Heidelberg, we were able to retain our existing imposition files. The entire system has been bulletproof from the moment it went online.”
The new platesetter is used to image plates for the company’s 29” and 40” Heidelberg presses. Wallace’s choice of Heidelberg’s Saphira Chemfree plates reflects its strong commitment to eco-friendly printing. Heidelberg’s Saphira Chemfree plates use no developer, no water, and only a small self-cleaning unit to gum the plates.
Building an On-Demand Business
The transformation took place in four stages, Foster said. First to be installed was the new Suprasetter—a trickier proposition than usual, since the new machine initially had to be coupled with the company’s existing workflow to keep production moving while Foster and his team completed a week of training at Heidelberg’s Technology Center in Kennesaw, Ga. A short time later, the full-blown Prinect Prepress Manager workflow went online, followed by Heidelberg’s Prinect Color Management (PCM) analysis, which uses Heidelberg’s G7-certified Prinect Color Toolbox with Gray Balance Optimizer to reduce makeready times, cut waste, boost color fidelity and raise efficiency across the board. The most recent to go live is Prinect Remote Access, used by Wallace as an automated means to facilitate soft proofing and uploading/downloading of customer files. Prior to the installation, Foster said, the company relied on the exchange of manually prepared PDF files.
As a result of these improvements, “We’ve morphed into an on-demand business,” Foster said. “Our normal turnaround times have shrunk from five to one-and-a-half days from job receipt until delivery”—no small feat for a company whose menu of commercially printed products and services runs the gamut from brochures and business cards to documentation and design.
“We have always had the capability to produce varied and complex jobs, but the Prinect workflow has tied all the manual steps together,” Foster said. “The Prinect workflow not only provides the status of all jobs within the workflow, but tracks the history of all jobs, providing an invaluable tool for managers.”
Home at Last
The company retains its staff of four prepress operators, who are now more efficient, since all phases of job preparation can be handled at their individual workstations.
“Customer files are prepared from the native application at the prepress technician’s workstation, where a PDF is prepared and placed within the Prinect Prepress Manager cockpit,” Foster explained. “Once the PDF is introduced into the workflow, it is automatically preflighted, and PDFs are generated and handed off to the Remote Access server, which notifies the client that proofs are awaiting approval. The same prepress technician prepares an imposition layout via Signa Station interactively.”
Once the client approves, the job progresses to imposition proofs, contract proofs, and plating.
“This is all accomplished without the technician having to leave his seat,” Foster said, “And I can get home for dinner on time, with no fear of a breakdown occurring in my absence.”
Wallace Graphics is a general commercial printer established in 1987 and serving a regional clientele, including brokers with national clients, corporations and educational institutions. The company employs a full-time staff of 40.