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Featured:     European Coverage     Production Inkjet Analysis

Group 360 Atlanta Relies On Latran Prediction Digital Halftone Proofs

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Press release from the issuing company

ATLANTA, GA, September 16, 2003 – Group 360 Atlanta (formerly Accu-color Atlanta), a member of St. Louis-based Group 360 Inc., provides its impressive roster of customers with a broad spectrum of creative support and imaging services, including high-end retouching, color corrections and separations for products ranging from catalogs and magazines to textbooks and packaging. Combined, the facilities employ more than 500 highly trained specialists with expertise in the most advanced electronic prepress technologies. For its most critical, high-quality proofing, Group 360 Atlanta relies on Latran Technologies' Prediction 2000 and 1420 digital halftone proofing systems. When they made the decision to go to digital proofing, Ken Sutphin, Operations Manager of Group 360 Atlanta, along with his tech colleagues in St. Louis, each looked at virtually every digital proofing system in the marketplace. "After several months of independent research," Sutphin says, "we compared notes and found that the four of us had each concluded individually that the Latran Prediction systems with their multiple line screens, dots and dot shapes would give us a true proof that would meet our needs best. Equally important was that the electronic file that we would use to make the proofs would be the same file that we send to the printer. It was a unique advantage at that time, and represented a huge selling point to our clients." Group 360 Atlanta's color critical clients include household names such as Coca-Cola, Cingular Wireless, The Home Depot, Burger King, and McDonald's. The facility also does color work for quality publications including the Ferrari Club of America's Prancing Horse magazine and Conway Data's Site Selection magazine. Printers who were accustomed to working with analog proofs, were at first reluctant to accept Group 360’s new Prediction digital halftone proofs. "The first job we proofed with our Prediction systems was an issue of Prancing Horse, which has extremely high color requirements," explains Sutphin. "I personally talked with the pressmen and told them that if they had any problems, we would do something different for them. They ran the job to the Prediction proofs, had absolutely no problem hitting the color quickly on press, and now they love working with them." 100% Proof Checks Group 360 Atlanta qualifies every proof before it leaves its shop with Proof Check Pro, an advanced software package. Prior to release from Quality Control, a scale from each proof is put under a spectrophotometer, and all the proof data about the job is analyzed. Only if the readings are within 2½ Delta-E's across the board, is the job released to the customer. Sutphin notes that the procedure also serves an extremely valuable data gathering function. The software visually graphs the Prediction systems' job-by-job performance within the Delta-E parameters over any designated period of time. "The software has confirmed that our Prediction systems always stay well within the acceptable Delta-E spread, while our other proofing devices tend to spike wildly," Sutphin says. "The densities are built into the Prediction systems' ink sheets, so it's controlled. We actually calibrate the Prediction systems only once about every three months, which is minimal compared with other proofing devices. The Prediction systems are very consistent, stable, rock-solid performers." Accurate Color Group 360 Atlanta uses Latran's Euro process color sets, as well as PANTONE's gold and silver metallics and Hexachrome colors. The wide range of Prediction system colors enables Group 360 Atlanta to accurately meet the special critical proofing requirements of customers such as Cingular Wireless, Coca-Cola and Maxxis International. "The Cingular orange is very tough to duplicate," Sutphin observes, "but Prediction's orange hits it dead on." "Using the Artworks DotProof workflow through the Prediction system is also tremendously effective at simulating spot colors with four-color process," he adds. “It uses stochastic screening, and you really can't tell that the color is built out of CMYK. It literally looks like a solid spot color." Reliable Productivity According to Sutphin, Group 360 Atlanta obtains outstanding productivity from its Prediction systems. The Atlanta shop may pull as many as 75 proofs a day just on its Prediction 2000 system. "The Prediction systems are extremely reliable," he says. "One of the magazines we work on runs up to 220 pages per issue and requires quick turnaround on its proofs. We load up the Prediction system at night, come in the next morning and they're done." PrE-mier Response Time Contributing to the dependability of their Prediction equipment is Latran's PrE-Lert Message System, a fully automated early fault detection and alert system. Prediction systems continuously monitor performance, log daily events and automatically flag potential problems via the internet to the Latran Support Center. PrE-Lert underscores its value when it detects a potential problem and triggers a call to Group 360 Atlanta from Latran that helps avert an event well before failure. Guaranteed uptime performance is vital in the Group 360 Atlanta production environment. PrE-Lert can also be enabled for immediate paging of key customer personnel if the Prediction system requires user attention. Events such as paper- or media-low conditions will automatically page on-call staff to assure uninterrupted proofing. Ease of Use Sutphin likes that the Prediction systems are easy to learn and use. He describes an experience he had when he suddenly received a very hot job requiring fast turnaround of a heavy volume of Prediction proofs. With no experienced operator available, he had to train someone who that very day had just come to his door to apply for a job. "He had never seen a Prediction system before," Sutphin relates, "and literally within 10 minutes of instruction, he did an 8-hour shift of pulling perfect Prediction proofs." "From the outset, in quality and performance, our two Prediction systems have given Group 360 Atlanta everything we expected from them, and more," Sutphin concludes.




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