Crowson Stone Becomes First In U.S. To Install Heidelberg Prinect 'Plate-On-Demand' And 'Minispot' Workflow
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
KENNESAW, Ga., August 2, 2005 – Print media leader Heidelberg today announced that Crowson Stone Printing Co., Columbia, S.C., has completed the first U.S. installation of Heidelberg's Prinect Plate-on-Demand and Prinect MiniSpot color workflow. The new technology integrates the prepress system into Crowson Stone's pressroom and enables press operators to control plate production directly from the company's Speedmaster 102 press – maximizing efficiency in the shop while minimizing downtime. Efficiency and makeready speed are top concerns for the eighty-five-year-old company, which operates a pair of Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 74s (a six-unit and a four-unit) and a 10-color Speedmaster SM 102 perfector with Prinect CP 2000 Center. With the new installations, “We wanted to more efficiently meet the needs of our customers while maintaining the quality Crowson Stone is recognized for,” said Rob Anderson, vice president of operations. Prinect Plate-on-Demand fulfills this strategic requirement by enabling Crowson's press operators to remake plates directly from the Speedmaster 102's CP 2000 Center press console. This is useful during second and third press shifts when prepress personnel are not available, mainly on the night shift, Anderson said. Plate-on-Demand makes it easy for a press operator to replace a damaged or defective plate. The operator of the Prinect CP2000 Center needs no prior knowledge of prepress processes - only the name of the job and the color plate to be output. He simply selects the required job on the CP 2000 touchscreen and starts plate imaging directly via the Prinect Printready system, which in turn drives the platesetter – in Crowson's case, one of a pair of Heidelberg Topsetter 102s that anchor its prepress workflow. “We like Plate-on-Demand for its ease of use. It addresses the press operator's comfort level. Pressmen want to stick with the press, and Plate-on-Demand enables them to do that,” Anderson said. If necessary, Plate-on-Demand also enables the press operator to change the priority of plates being imaged at any time, ensuring that the required plate will be next in the queue and resulting in only minor interruption of the production schedule. “There are a number of advantages in controlling plate production from the CP2000 Center,” said James Mauro, Prinect product manager. “With Prinect Plate-on-Demand, capacity utilization in the pressroom determines plate production - not the other way around.” Crowson Stone uses another new technology for color management in production: the MiniSpot workflow. A key component of Heidelberg's closed-loop color management solution, “MiniSpots,” are small measurement fields that are placed on the trim and measured by Prinect Image Control, which measures the entire sheet in one pass and automatically detects the MiniSpots from coordinates identified by Prinect Signa Station. Used in proof and printing plate control, MiniSpots enable faster reactions to changing conditions on the press by adjusting plate curves, and, if necessary, ICC profiles for proofing. Measured values obtained by MiniSpots serve to adapt existing characteristic curves and ICC profiles to changing print conditions. Presetting data is supplied to the pressroom, and the latest values from print production are sent back to prepress. To prevent the test form having to be reprinted every time there is a change of ink or paper, MiniSpots have sufficient information to perform reliable changes to profiles and printing characteristics. For each measuring process, L*a*b* values, density and dot gain are calculated and transferred to Prinect Quality Monitor. If an ICC profile or other printing characteristic needs to be changed, the correction is performed by the integrated Prinect Profile and Prinect Calibration Toolbox programs, and the new calibrations are made available to the RIP for proof and plate output and optimized for the next print job. “MiniSpots is basically a reporting mechanism,” Anderson said. “Given the volume and variety of work we are called on to perform, it's important not to hold things up while we take measurements. By the same token, it's crucial to be able to produce reliable, high-quality color results as print conditions change or if we want to switch to a different type stock. Heidelberg's Mini-Spots enable us to constantly measure and mange our color and tone reproduction. We can instantly see the effect of a different paper or press variable and make the changes needed to our profiles or calibrations. The software works consistently and well.” “There's no room for wasted time and labor in the modern printing plant,” agreed Mauro. “MiniSpot technology is another Prinect tool printers can use to provide their customers with the best quality in a timely fashion.” Plate-on-Demand and MiniSpots are among the newest innovations to Heidelberg's Prinect portfolio. Crowson Stone is one of a growing number of printers that have placed their faith in the power of computer-integrated manufacturing to help them conquer pressroom challenges. “Prinect has enabled us to become even more efficient and productive, and we anticipate that these latest innovations will enable us to achieve even more,” Anderson said. “Computer-integrated manufacturing is certainly one of the ways a small printer like Crowson Stone can differentiate itself from the competition.” Crowson Stone established a reputation for innovation early, becoming the first printer in the Palmetto State to embrace offset printing. The $7 million general commercial printer provides print advertising, marketing collateral and other business communication materials to clients throughout South Carolina.