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CrossTech Communications Invests in Direct Imaging Technology

Press release from the issuing company

Richard A. Di Pietro, President of CrossTech Communications Inc. in Chicago, could hardly wait to see his new 74 Karat press installed. The 74 Karat was delivered straight from the KBA stand at PRINT 01 to the company's new building on North Jeffersen Street in downtown Chicago. CrossTech was founded as a straight prepress business and even today it still serves many of its customers in this field. A lot of these customers are agencies based in Downtown, who appreciate the proximity of the company in the city center. It was a visit by Steve Zunde, KBA North America, which made Di Pietro think about investing in a "real" printing press. Shortly afterwards the CrossTech managers visited an existing KBA-Karat customer in Chicago. " What followed was then a bit like 'window-shopping'," said Di Pietro. "After we had seen the press live for the first time we decided quite spontaneously that this was the press to buy, without even considering an alternative, though actually there is no alternative to this press for us." CrossTech knows which demands are placed by its clients and offers corresponding services. Production runs 24 days a day, seven days a week. "Many successful companies in the branch work this schedule, especially those with a customer base like ours. Such 'around-the-clock service' is simply a must in this business. We certainly cannot complain about slack times during the night. If at all, things are quieter in the mornings. Most of our customers come in the late afternoon, the jobs are processed overnight and delivered next morning." Another service involves brochures and product infos for customers, which are in fact also a good marketing tool for the company itself. CrossTech issues an annually updated "Product Information Guide" presenting not only background information on the company, but also the range of individual services such as digital print, scanning, image processing, separations, typography, color comping and graphic design. One of the team's specialties is the production of so-called heliograms. These are very finely detailed and brilliant B/W reproductions. The result resembles a continuous-tone image and is produced in a combined analog and digital process. This involves more than just scanning the original and creating the effect. Each image is retouched by hand before conversion. The output at the end is either digital or to film. CrossTech is active furthermore as a prepress provider. In a second brochure CrossTech provides a "File Prep Guide", with information on the capabilities of the company in the field of print, and especially on the print quality offered by the Indigo digital machine. This same brochure also contains Pantone color charts and an Indigo price list.   The roots of CrossTech Communications are in the prepress industry. The business was started in 1981 as "The Typesmiths", with an advertising and typesetting studio. "We were one of the first companies anywhere to be able to supply pages produced in a fully digital process. As the demands placed by our customers grew, so did our range of services. In the mid-80s we began the transition into the prepress industry. We were one of the first businesses to recognize the Macintosh computer as an ideal tool for our purposes. We installed our first Postscript system in 1985, alongside Mac computers and Linotronic output devices," Di Pietro went on. As time passed, more and more customers were becoming interested in digital printing services and CrossTech invested in an Indigo TurboStream digital printing machine. "We have actually got on quite well with this toner-based system so far. Many of the customers, however, expect the same print quality as in offset print, which simply cannot be achieved with the Indigo," said Di Pietro. At the same time, the majority of the jobs running on the Indigo machine were not personalized products, but in fact "standard" short-run color jobs. CrossTech prints a lot of advertising materials for customers in the tourism branch. In a throbbing city with 3 million inhabitants and 30 million visitors a year there is no shortage of work in this sector. The 74 Karat is thus the perfect complement to the Indigo.