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Roto-Plate Installs EskoArtwork flexo plate workflow

Friday, February 20, 2009

Press release from the issuing company

Vandalia, OH (USA) -- Roto-Plate, Inc., a twelve-person prepress services provider to a wide variety of printers specializing in tag and label, consumer packaging, pharmaceuticals, point of purchase, promotional materials and folding cartons, reports that the first North American 'post-merger' hybrid workflow of ArtPro and Esko software has worked very successfully, allowing the company to explore markets previously unavailable to them. The system includes Esko DeskPack, a Nexus workflow, and a Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI) 4835, and delivers what no other solution could provide Roto-Plate: the ability to accurately manage high-end four-color process work, the power to oversee production controls within Adobe Illustrator, and the speed and unexcelled dot reproduction of the Esko CDI flexo imager.

Based in Burlington, NC, Roto-Plate, Inc. provides complete prepress services to the narrow and mid-web (up to 35" by 48" plates) flexographic printing industry. Roto-Plate, Inc., founded in 1974, currently offers digital and conventional plates, electronic broadband file preparation, graphic design, barcoding, proofing and related services throughout the eastern U.S. Their experienced team provides "Just-In-Time" delivery-many orders within 24 hours after approval-and competitive pricing for any sized company.

"I purchased Roto-Plate in 1995," recalls Jim Freeman, Roto-Plate owner. "In the early 1990's, a lot of the company's work was still done the old-fashioned, analog way. From 1995 to 2000, we decided to move toward the 21st century, purchasing a new building, and upgrading our workflow software and equipment."

At the time of the merger of ArtPro Systems and Esko-Graphics, Roto-Plate had progressed considerably, sending Aldus Freehand and Adobe Illustrator files to its Nexus workflow, which prepared files for the company's imagesetter before plates were burned. The ArtPro Nexus workflow, using FlexoCal to calibrate films, was purchased in 2005 primarily to RIP files that had already been trapped and stepped. "The Nexus workflow, along with FlexoCal, has been very helpful," comments Sandy Alcorn, Roto-Plate head of operations. "With FlexoCal, it's easy to maintain accurate, balanced, calibrated grayscales for our platesetter. We needed our highlights and shadows to output accurately. FlexoCal has the ability to manage high-end four-color process work, which was not working well for us using traditional curving."

At the time of the Esko and ArtPro merger, Roto-Plate decided it was time for new software to manage more of its prepress from within Adobe Illustrator, and to pursue digital plate imaging. "We conducted research for almost a year and looked at several systems options. In the end, we decided to implement the EskoArtwork solution that Pitman introduced to us," says Freeman.

With new Esko DeskPack tools, Roto-Plate now creates its trapping, barcodes, and stepping within Adobe Illustrator. From there, the Nexus RIP is used to prepare files for its Esko CDI 4835. "Rather than doing the prepress work from a workflow application, we preferred to use Esko DeskPack from within Adobe Illustrator-the application we are accustomed to using. The software is very user-friendly," assures Brian Madden, head of the graphics art department. "We create a 1-bit tiff file and send it to the RIP and the digital plate imager." The system represents a 'pre-merger' Esko application at the front, Nexus in the middle and Esko imager in the back.

"We wanted to step up the kind of work we do and explore new markets. Digital was the best way to get there, and the Esko CDI 4835 was the best of the best. Both Pitman and EskoArtwork were great to work with. The EskoArtwork solution has helped us improve our four-color and spot work to meet the quality our customers require. We get a smaller dot with our CDI digital platesetter and, overall, our gradients are much better," explains Tammy Hall, head of the plate department. "The CDI is also a workhorse. It's fairly simple to make a plate. We only had two days of training, and that was all we really needed."

There is a tremendous difference in productivity, more than double the previous output, due in part to the larger platesetter. Roto-Plate is able to image more jobs in the same amount of time. With the Dupont FAST processor, plates are processed much faster, and there is also no solvent, which prevents swelling and drying down.

"Last Friday we got a call at 3PM and were told that we would receive a job by 5PM. At 4:55PM, the customer sent us the files for plates. At 7PM, they called, notifying us that they needed a 're-do' of one plate. This was for the next job up on their press. We were able to deliver on time later that night," remarks Freeman. "This was a very large customer, and we typically get very short notice for their work. Jobs come in and we send out plates that need to get on the press the next morning."

By investing in EskoArtwork software and a CDI flexo image, Roto-Plate is able to pursue new markets, creating plates for larger packaging. "Very simply, the EskoArtwork solution is doing what we expected it to do. That's refreshing," concludes Freeman. "EskoArtwork and Pitman did a wonderful job to help us compete in markets we would have never been able to penetrate. The entire EskoArtwork workflow has been terrific. We are now able to compete in the large converter market-a segment of the industry we were not competitive in before."




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