AgfaJet Sherpa Digital Proofer Meets Demands Of Packaging
Tuesday, May 08, 2001
Nashville, TN, U.S.A. 7 May 2001 Agfa released the results of beta tests for the AgfaJet Sherpa digital proofing system in flexography and offset packaging applications. After nearly one year of stringent tests at CSW Inc in Ludlow, Massachusetts and Seven Worldwide, Ltd in Newcastle, England, the AgfaJet Sherpa demonstrated exceptional colour accuracy, repeatability and format versatility, according to the two beta testers. With five facilities in the Eastern United States, CSW is a major prepress provider working with manufacturers such as Gillette and BOSE and packaging converters such as Wilton Conner. Seven Worldwide, a holding of Applied Graphics Technologies (AGT), with four facilities is a major supplier to the packaging industry across the U.K. Both companies work with printers who specialize in offset and flexography. Seven Worldwide also serves gravure printers. CSW general manager, Kevin Chop explained that because he serves many clients who have a wide variety of needs and who use different printing technologies, a digital proofing device that could cover the wide range was a priority. "The Sherpa not only provides format flexibility but provides dimensional stability, exceptional color accuracy and repeatability. What I output on Monday I can be sure of reproducing dead-on a week later," said Chop. The dimensional stability is important because CSW uses the Sherpa proofs to produce carton prototypes. "They are so accurate to the final job that our clients insert product to create display samples. The prototypes we produce with Sherpa are used for product photography, that's how accurate they are." Chop also praised Sherpa's ability to match specific presses. "We create characterizations for a flexographer in New York or a display manufacturer in California and the Sherpa matches the press output exactly," he said. "In my opinion Sherpa blows its competition out of the water." Single jobs, explained Chop, are sometimes produced using both flexography and offset. A point-of-purchase display, for example, may have multiple parts. Half may be produced by flexo the others by offset. In this case the ability to match different presses is critical. Sherpa's large format also allows CSW to print a full 120 x 58-inch sheet to make display prototypes. Chop was pleased to note that one of his customers, Smurfit-Stone Latta, SC will be accepting an FTA award at the FFTA conference here in Nashville for a Havoline project. CSW used an Avantra 44S and Agfa film to produce the final output and proofed it with the Sherpa. Seven Newcastle's technical manager, Derek Vann, appreciates the Sherpa's ability to emulate existing digital colour standards for contract approval. For Vann having both a Sherpa 43 and Sherpa 54 is also a benefit. "I can gang several jobs and still control the color. We get the same results from Sherpa to Sherpa, including those in our Manchester facility." Like Chop, Vann uses the Sherpa to make product prototypes. "In packaging, a lot of special colors are used to make the product stand out on the shelf. The Sherpa can be manipulated so that you can get very close to matching unusual colors, within tolerances," said Vann. Vann also praised the way the Sherpa performs in the "multi-brand" environment, where he also uses non-Agfa RIPs and inkjet printers. "With Agfa's ColorTune profiling manipulation," he said, "we can even control the output from other non-Agfa printing devices. So we have consistent results from printer to printer."