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Exclusive ICEserver Litho 2.0 'XG' draws kudos for GDI

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Press release from the issuing company

Grand Rapids, MI - First came a phone call to Graphic Developments, Inc., followed by a second and a third from long-time customers, and all were unsolicited.  "They were complimenting our color," exults a delighted Bob Damon, General Manager of the Hanover, MA, shop which bills itself as "New England's Favorite Newspaper Printer."

"It's not often you get calls like that, and it's really nice," says Damon, who's worked with GDI owner and President George Davis for over 40 years, the past 30 as GM of the company founded in 1973.  Under their tutelage, GDI has grown into one of the region's largest printers of commercial and industrial newspapers, with 45 employees and 150 recurring customers.  Longstanding local customers include sports and commercial real estate publications, and a lengthy list of weeklies, monthlies, quarterlies and other periodicals across the country.

Their full-service offering, ranging from design through bindery, mailing and delivery, operates out of three buildings on Mayflower Drive in Hanover.  Every week, GDI preps and prints about 40 different publications with its ECRM Newsmatic CTP system and a 17-unit, in-line web Goss Community press.  "We can put any combination of color on each press unit," notes Damon.  "We can run 48 tabloid pages with 24 of them at full color, or whatever is needed."

And those phone calls?  "We started running jobs with files optimized using FineEye Color Solutions' ICEserver Litho 2.0, specifically, the expanded gamut (XG) option that comes with this product," reveals Damon.  "We didn't say a word; we just put it out there.  All of a sudden we had customers coming back to us saying 'wow, what a beautiful job you did on our publications this week!'"

With quality as GDI's top priority, ICEserver 'XG' delivers extra ink savings, too
GDI Systems Technology Supervisor Ken Perron, who joined the firm about three years ago and played a key role in selecting ICEserver Litho 2.0, seconds Damon's assertion. "Quality is always our primary goal, and it definitely was the key factor as we researched and tested ink optimization products."  Ink savings are a definite plus, but that's not what makes the phone ring like ours has."

At GDI the selection process involved much more than ink optimization.  They were first exposed to ICEserver Litho about a year ago, and began testing it with their existing workflow system.  "At the same time, we were contemplating upgrading our workflow," Perron points out.  Early this year, they tested both the standard ICEserver Litho 2.0 and the Extended Gamut (XG) option, running to GDI job specs.  Although ink key settings don't directly show actual ink savings, there is a definite correlation and Perron says they noted a significant difference, particularly between non-ICE'd files and the ICEserver XG option.

More intensive comparative testing came after they decided on Rampage for their new workflow, and installed the new system in April of this year.  Among other features, load balancing enables ICEserver Litho to more intelligently use multiple processors to speed CPU file prep across all workflows - including Kodak Printery and Agfa Apogee, as well as Rampage - so it smoothly fit right into GDI's new system.

More color, less ink on absorbent stocks with ICEserver 'XG,' plus greater control
ICEserver Litho's XG option triggers a 20% wider color gamut for increased contrast and richness, enabling users to push specific CMY even further while maintaining gray balance.  "The increased color gamut with the ICE product is a big plus for us, because the paper stocks we run absorb so much ink," emphasizes Damon.  "We lose our color gamut big-time.  So any way for us to enhance our color gamut and make it larger, is going to improve what we print.  ICEserver Litho's XG has definitely done that."

GDI output also gets an assist from sharpening, an ICEserver feature for improving image clarity on lower quality papers.

While ink reduction with ICE increases quality and shortens makeready, the way ICE compensates for CMY removal with black increases run stability and virtually eliminates visual effects of variances that inevitably occur during a run.  ICE looks at all the grays, takes the CMY component away and replaces it with black, giving pressmen more latitude to push colors as well as more control - advantages noticed at GDI daily.

"We see a big difference in color quality and, in addition, it gives us more control on press," says Damon.  "With ICE'd files, we can make adjustments to specific colors like reds and blues without affecting other colors.  We're also laying down less ink with the expanded gamut as well."

Virtually overnight, ICEserver Litho 2.0 has become an integral part of GDI's workflow routine.  Damon points out that one factor contributing to their success is that "we already had a PDF workflow process in-place, with customers generating PDFs to our specs.  This has helped smooth the transition to make the ICE product work so well, so quickly and pretty-much seamlessly."

ICEserver Litho also helps improve GDI prepress workflow with embedded PDF libraries that increase the processing speed of complex files, and multi-processing capabilities that enable up to eight PDF files to be optimized simultaneously.

"Now every color page going through our system goes through ICE first," says Perron.  Files are ICE'd at the beginning of the workflow process, he adds.  "A lot can happen before it gets to the plate, and occasionally we have to tweak things."  Overall results, however, speak for themselves.

"We've won a dozen awards for our work within the past year or so, some of the more recent ones with help from ICEserver," observes Damon.  "But the best awards are satisfied customers and the response we've been getting since this product has become part of our system.  I'm happy to take calls like those, any day."




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