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Macaran Printed Products Uses Latran's Prediction System

Press release from the issuing company

COHOES, NY, June 1, 2005 – Macaran Printed Products, a division of W.N. Van Alstine & Sons, Inc., is known throughout the industry for the high quality flexo labels it has been producing for four decades. Its customers include many of the world's most prominent companies in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, health and beauty, office, pet and household products industries. Macaran's operations use the most advanced printing technologies in UV flexo, rotary screen, hot stamping and embossing to produce striking, high-impact multiple-color pressure-sensitive labels. Among the company's extensive production capabilities is the ability to print up to nine colors on a single label. Macaran prints labels on a broad range of pressure sensitive and nonpressure sensitive substrates ranging from paper, films and foils to holographic and tag stock materials. Getting more accurate proofs for such a wide spectrum of substrates was a challenge that led Macaran to pursue a new proofing solution. Nick Van Alstine, president of Macaran, notes, "Our old traditional proofing system really wasn't doing the job for us anymore. It was producing a proof, but not one that could really narrow the gap between what the proof looked like and what the finished product was going to look like. We wanted to find a system that would really help us narrow that gap." The solution that Macaran turned to, with the help of its Pitman representative, was Latran Technologies' Prediction digital halftone proofing system. Sonya DiGirolamo, manager of Macaran's prepress department, observes, "From a prepress standpoint, we selected Latran’s Prediction based on one thing that no other proofer we looked at could do – proof directly on the same specific substrate that we were going to print the job on. We also like the fact that we have more control of the proofs to the printed piece because, like our press, the Latran prints the proof using dots." Ed Wixted, Controller and Chief Financial Officer of Macaran, points out, "The Prediction allows us to proof with a wider color gamut, and because you can do a better job of factoring in the variabilities that the stock adds to the color, we're able to get proofs that very closely resemble what we're going to have on press. Our previous proofing system would give us a ballpark idea, but was not anywhere near as precise as we're able to get with Prediction." He adds that Macaran has calibrated its Prediction system for the company's presses, establishing curves and calibrations that work for a wide range of labels, products and substrates. If they get a particularly intricate job that is going to run on a unique material, they may need to make a special calibration adjustment, but it's not a daily requirement. DiGirolamo underscores the Prediction's ease of operation: "It's much quicker to make a high-end proof with the Prediction. That becomes especially important if we have to go back and rework a file. We can see very quickly what a job really looks like with the latest changes before we go to press, because we're able to simulate an actual label with the Prediction proof." She also is very pleased with the consistency and repeatability of the Prediction system. "In one week, we output about 40 proofs for an account," she says. "We produced them consecutively, one right after the other. They all had basically the same design and look to them, and the proofs were extremely consistent from one to the next." Van Alstine indicates that customer acceptance of Macaran's Prediction proofs has been strong from the outset of their introduction. "Nine out of ten of our label proofs come back with a sign-off the first time through. One customer even used Prediction proofs to create prototype labels for use at a trade show. His Prediction label proofs were hand-cut and applied to his product package, saving time and avoiding press setup costs." The fast turnaround capability of Prediction has also proved to be a valuable asset for Macaran's customers, according to Van Alstine. "One of our customers was already critically behind in his production schedule when he came to us with a large number of products needed for a major product launch. We were able to produce 35 color proofs on the Prediction system for him in two days and get every one of his label jobs on and off press in time to hit his deadline. We never could have done that with our previous proofing system." While it's still a bit early to assess the full impact that the Prediction proofing system will have on operations, Wixted expects to see the most measurable impact in Macaran's pressroom. "Prediction gives us a proof we can hit when we go up on a job," he says. "In the past, we would have to try to make the press match the proof. Now we're getting very close to putting our plates on, running up and being at the proof right out of the gate. This represents a significant savings in press make-ready time and material." All three Macaran executives lauded the installation and training support provided by Latran and also singled out the Pitman Company for its role in the process. "They performed like a systems integrator bringing many different front end and computer-to-plate resources to the table. They demonstrated the Prediction's capabilities and what they believed the system could do for us in our workflow," says Van Alstine. "They supported our decision-making through a very tight implementation time frame and helped to make it happen. Unquestionably it was the right decision for Macaran."