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Syracuse Label Speeds Customer Press Sign-Offs Approvals With Latran Technologies

Press release from the issuing company

LIVERPOOL, NY, July 8, 2003 – Over its 36 years, Syracuse Label Co., Inc. has built a strong reputation in the industry as a respected producer of high-quality label products that meet the demanding needs of the health, beauty, food, automotive, toy and household product markets. The company, founded by Roscoe Towne with just an old two-color Mark Andy flexo press, today has grown into a dynamic operation with 16 narrow web presses. Running two shifts with 120 employees, Syracuse Label uses flexo, U.V., rotary letterpress and rotary screen equipment to produce pressure-sensitive labels and flexible packaging in up to eight colors. The company's outstanding quality system has earned qualification for the coveted ISO 9002 registration. Technology Commitment Syracuse Label's operating philosophy, which has driven its success through the years, centers on a commitment to stay in the forefront of technology by acquiring the industry's most advanced, productive equipment in its prepress and pressroom operations. That commitment, says Mark Howard, Vice President of Graphic Services for Syracuse Label, figured prominently in the company's decision to work closely with the Pitman Company to implement Artwork System's all-digital workflow. Six months ago, Syracuse Label made the decision to close the digital loop in its prepress operation and moved from analog to high-end digital halftone proofing with the installation of Latran Technologies' Prediction 1420 system. "We do a lot of label work for the cosmetics industry," Howard notes. "It requires putting down opaque white on clear substrates. The Prediction system allows us to proof right on the actual label stock we're going to use for the print run. There's absolutely no guesswork." Now all of Syracuse Label's proofing is done with the Prediction system, Howard says. Before switching over to Prediction, Syracuse would go digitally to film, then to analog proofing with either Dupont's Cromalin or Agfa's Pressmatch. He notes that 80% of the jobs Syracuse Label runs have a fifth and sixth color, and it was very time-consuming and costly to use film to produce those extra colors on jobs. Color distortion was another shortcoming of analog proofing. "When you had eight colors, you'd have to look through eight separate layers and everything on the initial substrate would appear to have a yellow tint." Cuts Proofing Time With only a single shift and three operators in prepress, Howard puts the number of proofs usually handled during a week at Syracuse Label at 200 or more. "Our Prediction system easily keeps up with the volume. It's so quick. It has cut our processing time by at least 75%. And we still have plenty of production capacity for more jobs." Some of the process inks used on the Syracuse Label presses were reformulated to exactly match the process colors of their Prediction system. "It has helped to speed up make-ready times and matching on press, and it has also helped us tighten up our ink density management. Our pressroom is very comfortable with the results." In addition to the standard process ink sets and opaque white, Syracuse Label also uses several of the special colors available with Prediction digital halftone proofing system, including PMS metallic colors. The company's ten graphic artists, who work out of the prepress area, have also discovered the productivity and accuracy of the Prediction 1420. Before the arrival of the Prediction system, they would normally hand off their jobs to a prepress production worker and request traditionally produced proofs to view for color. Now, Howard says, they are more apt to walk over to the Prediction unit and run the proofs themselves because of the speed, accuracy and the simplicity of operating the system. Fast Implementation He notes that training his staff to use the Prediction system was remarkably easy. "Implementation of new equipment into an existing workflow is always a major task," he says. "Every manufacturer has a song and dance about being able to install systems and have them up and running, but with the Prediction 1420, the Latran people really delivered. We were up and running in two days, had it calibrated to our presses, our operators trained and were delivering great proofs to our customers." Since the start-up of its Prediction proofing operation, Syracuse Label has embarked on an extensive sales program to re-educate its customers about proofing – notably, the advantages of Latran's technology and the accuracy and reliability of the digital halftone proofs it produces. "After working so many years with the guesswork of analog proofing, our biggest challenge has been to get customers to understand that the four-color process they see on the Prediction proof is what they can expect to see on press," Howard explains. "We gave our major customers examples of the analog proofs they had been used to getting to compare with the Prediction proofs they would be receiving in the future. We asked them to look at the Prediction proofs under a loupe, so they could see the difference for themselves. We wanted them to be completely assured that we would be giving them sharper halftone proofs, including highly accurate process spot colors, with Prediction." It didn't take long for Syracuse Label's customers to build the confidence in Prediction proofs that Howard was striving to develop. "They were really happy to see color that was actually truer, right out of the box, than they had been getting before," he says. "It has definitely cut down on a lot of the back-and-forth we used to do with analog proofs." Customer Confidence While Prediction proofs have already cut down on press approval times, Howard says that his goal is to make it unnecessary for buyers to be on-site at Syracuse Label to approve jobs. "When they sign off on their jobs proofed with Prediction on the actual substrates we're going to run on, they know that's what we will deliver on press. It will save them the time and expense of on site approvals." Building strong customer confidence in the integrity of Prediction proofs also has longer term implications for Syracuse Label. Howard notes that the next step for the company is a move to a computer-to-plate workflow which makes the need for accurate halftone proofs and fast turnaround times early in the proofing process even more critical. Howard says that the ROI on the company's Prediction proofing system has fully met his expectations. "I believe it will get even better in the future," he says, "as we continue to educate more of our customers about its capabilities. There is no doubt that Prediction is a very accurate digital halftone proofer that has enabled us to move up to the highest level of quality proofing." More information about Syracuse Label Co., Inc. is available from the company's website at www.syrlabel.com.