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Midwest Imaging Uses Latran For Towel and Tissue Contract Proofs

Press release from the issuing company

MENASHA, WI, November 29, 2005 — Providing towel and tissue printers with a contract proof that can be matched on flexographic presses has been an elusive goal for the industry. But after a long, intensive search, Midwest Imaging and Roller Services Inc. of Menasha, Wisconsin has found the solution in a system that produces remarkably accurate full-color proofs directly on porous toweling and tissue substrates. The result has been the industry's first truly realistic proofs that consistently predict the printed output of towel and tissue printers. The proofs are being produced on the Prediction 1420 digital halftone proofing system of Latran Technologies. John Shreve, a principal of Midwest, and a flexographic industry pioneer, credits Scott Laurin, application specialist for Midwest for seeing the potential of the system for proofing directly on toweling substrates. After hearing comments at industry conferences about the severe shortcomings of proofing systems currently plaguing towel and tissue production, Laurin took it on as a personal challenge to find a better proofing method. Traditional glossy proofs were providing distorted results, and were unmatchable on press, while inkjet proofs blotted on towel and napkin substrates and never came close to representing the final printed product. He discovered the possibilities of Prediction on the Latran website. What caught his interest was the system's ability to proof on actual printing substrates. "Scott took actual electronic files that we used for laser engraving the large rubber-covered sleeves for a job we produced for one of our major paper product customers, and sent them to Latran," Shreve says. "They made proofs directly on the same toweling material with pigmented inks. When we put the proofs next to the actual press samples from the customer, they were almost a dead match." Shreve relates that when customers saw the accuracy of the new proofs, they recognized the important breakthrough for marketing and production. "They immediately saw the potential savings that Prediction contract proofs offered," he says. "They were excited by the prospect of eliminating the expense of prototyping new towel or napkin designs and avoiding the need for trial runs on press. The Prediction proof allows marketing to see what new products will actually look like and make adjustments early in the development process – well before engraving. It's a huge cost and process improvement. The industry just hasn't seen a proofing system before that could do anything like this." Laurin adds that designers will be able to send files with new art, and as before, have them made flexographically friendly for towel printing. "But with the Prediction system, we now can easily output multiple variations of the art images on the real towel substrate they're going to print on," he says. "We can vary the image to show it a little lighter, or darker and can also compensate for dot gain, so customers can see the actual finished product on a proof before they trigger the expense of engraving the plate. Since it takes only about 10 to 15 minutes to pull a full-color Prediction proof, designers have virtually unlimited creative flexibility in exploring variations of their designs." He also points out that the system supplies several different ink sets so designers have a wide range of process colors, special Pantone colors, and even real metallic colors to work with. They can mix and match to achieve the hues and color schemes they want. By eliminating the need for lengthy and costly prototyping procedures, Laurin sees the Prediction system enabling paper product manufacturers to bring new towel, tissue and napkin designs to market faster than ever before possible. John van der Wielen, prepress and laser technician of Midwest, cites another very important advantage of the Prediction system. The same Prediction RIP that produces the proofs also drives the laser imaging systems that are used to engrave a 45-inch repeat, 101-inch cylinder without a break, providing total consistency from proof to plate to press. "It has very comprehensive tone curves," he says, "so we're able to compensate based on what will happen at the laser. We can do things to modify for dot gain to create a hands-on proof that precisely represents the dot gain at press. It's a tremendous benefit for printers to have a proof that gives them a true, realistic standard they can work with." Laurin says that the ability of the Prediction system to proof directly on actual substrates has opened the door to a whole new spectrum of possibilities. He is working with Latran's R&D team to work on other substrates used in the flexographic industry, such as the non-woven materials used in disposable diapers and other products. Anderson & Vreeland represents Latran Technologies in the flexo market, and was responsible for the sale of the Prediction system to Midwest. Through their strong working alliance, A&V and Latran are currently introducing the capabilities of the Prediction system to other leading companies throughout the flexographic industry. The Prediction 1420 incorporates the advanced technology of Latran's entire family of digital halftone proofing systems, producing real dots, and using real inks on real substrates to produce high-resolution proofs that match actual press sheets with unparalleled accuracy. Proofing directly to press stock, the system keeps halftone dots extremely crisp. The result is controllable dot gain, high repeatability and the ability to proof both standard and stochastic screening from a variety of screening technologies. Pigment-based ink sheets provide stable and accurate hue, color gamut and fidelity. The system offers the widest range of industry standard based ink sets for an accurate press match and faster make-ready. Prediction also renders true color directly on the final printing stock, removing the variability of stock color. With its 2540 or 2400 dpi resolution, Prediction matches the output quality of leading platemaking systems, providing an excellent match between proof and press.