ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. -- Among many major milestones in the history of Screen (USA), the company passed another one in June by marking the 40th anniversary of its founding.
"Although we celebrate our successes every year and are continually looking for ways to drive our innovation forward, this is an opportunity to look back over the past four decades and celebrate how far we have come," said Mike Fox, president.
Screen (USA) will officially observe its 40th anniversary on September 10 at the Art Institute of Chicago. The event is scheduled to coincide with Graph Expo 2007.
The annual graphic arts industry trade show is the perfect backdrop for feting an organization whose success lies in the strength of its products. Even as the company pauses to commemorate its past, the people of Screen (USA) continue to deliver products and services that create unique opportunities for printers and graphic arts firms in North America, Canada and South America.
"Each year brings technological innovations that add new depth to an already impressive lineup of solutions," Fox noted. "Screen (USA) has maintained an excellent reputation by becoming partners with clients and applying expert skills and knowledge of every product. I am especially proud of the corporate culture that all of our employees strive to perpetuate -- an environment where creativity and teamwork are encouraged."
Screen recently has released the latest version of Trueflow 3. Screen's flagship workflow management system based on Portable Document Format (PDF) and Job Definition Format (JDF) automates prepress operations and optimizes CTP plate production and digital press output. Its JDF compatibility with version 4 strengthens cooperation between management information systems (MIS) and print production.
Product introductions slated for this year include a new inkjet printing system that builds on the successful launch in 2006 of the Truepress Jet520 variable data inkjet printer and Truepress 344 digital offset press. The Truepress Jet2500UV will provide greater flexibility and speed for the fast-growing print-on-demand market. Part of Screen's digital printing strategy, the Truepress Jet2500UV takes advantage of strong demand for high-precision, multicolor image reproduction.
Scheduled for release in 2007, the next-generation Trueflow SE workflow will implement the powerful Abode PDF Printing Engine to enhance output consistency throughout the workflow. In combination with JDF, it improves overall print productivity and profitability. Integrating this technology into Trueflow SE is further evidence of Screen's commitment to developing software solutions aimed at providing the best total solution for customers that plan to drive future Screen hardware devices.
Steeped in history
Screen (USA) is an organization steeped in printing history. Starting out as the first overseas subsidiary of Dainippon Screen Manufacturing Co., Ltd., Screen (USA) supplies systems and components for production of newspapers, folding cartons, books, magazines, brochures, catalogs and many other types of printed materials. It benefits from the engineering prowess of one of the world's largest manufacturers of prepress equipment.
The parent company, incorporated in 1943 with headquarters in Kyoto, Japan, was the outgrowth of a manufacturing concern dating back to the mid-1800s. In 1868, Saigiro Ishida established a copper plate and lithographic printing shop called Ishida Kyokuzan Printing Works. Saigiro Ishida was the great-grandfather of Dainippon Screen's chairman and CEO, Akira Ishida.
The subsequent acquisition of several patents by Saigiro Ishida and his son Keizo Ishida laid the foundation for transforming the shop into a maker of glass screens used in the photographic reproduction of halftone plates.
By 1946, Dainippon Screen had become a pioneer in wooden process cameras, arc lamps and vacuum printing frames. Dainippon Screen's ability to deliver outstanding technological achievements and quality meant that the company quickly made a name for itself. Today, Dainippon Screen is the world's leading supplier of CTP and prepress systems. Its diverse portfolio ranges from digital camera backs and intelligent servers to thermal imaging devices and digital printing systems.
Screen (USA) is best known for serving the prepress needs of U.S. commercial printers with high-quality color scanners, imagesetters and platesetters. Ongoing development of workflow management software and upgrades to existing applications for proofing, screening and color control improve Screen customers' production capabilities.
At the same time, Screen (USA) has broadened its reach beyond traditional boundaries and market segments, making inroads in the digital printing arena. Screen technology is found in packaging operations, newspaper companies, trade shops, in-plants and service bureaus in every state, plus Canada and all of Latin America.
"Tapping into 40 years of institutional experience working with printing professionals, we are confident that today's solutions will translate directly into higher productivity and profitability for our customers," Fox said.
As an industry trendsetter, the Screen organization has been able to draw on an ever-expanding wealth of experience to great effect. The company was already committed to efficient, low-cost prepress production when its TaigaSPACE automated workflow system premiered. Launched in 1993, TaigaSPACE featured a multi-functional RIP-on-server architecture. Utilizing core interpreter technology from Adobe Systems as the foundation, it converted PDF and PostScript files to TaigaSPACE's native POM format. The system
proved to be enormously successful, with close to 3,000 users worldwide by 2000.
The workflow concept evolved further with Trueflow. Screen unveiled the revolutionary PDF workflow management system at Seybold Boston in 2000. Trueflow challenged the prevailing approach to automated workflows by enabling operation from networked computers and remote locations via standard Internet browsers.
Trueflow increased workflow speed and efficiency by digitally organizing individual tasks in prepress and plate production. It allowed operators to handle computer-to-film needs, and was scaleable to a multi-server, multi-user network.
Trueflow 3, a major upgrade to the workflow system available as of 2004, added enhanced JDF capability. Screen further expanded the Trueflow product with Trueflow Elite. This powerful enterprise-wide workflow system is aimed at large-size, high-volume printing companies that operate multiple production facilities.
JDF-enabled process automation
To take full advantage of the JDF workflow concept, Screen began devising in 2003 the Trueflownet family of workflow solutions. A Trueflownet operating environment provides the necessary resources to interface with customers from job submission to job approval. Technologies developed under the Trueflownet umbrella move critical production-related tasks to the customer's desktop. Furthermore, Trueflownet's integrated workflow modules address postpress, fulfillment and business operation needs.
Trueflow 3 is the core of Trueflownet. It strengthens cooperation between every phase of production. It also connects with other Trueflownet software modules to facilitate automated online job submission, document ordering and final production approval.
Trueflownet products are divided into three software suites, each addressing one of the foremost topics affecting the printing industry. The three suites -- Rite Suite, Color Suite and Trueflow Suite -- improve communication with print buyers, increase automation throughout the production process and enhance overall print quality.
Key product launches
1973: A significant event in the history of Screen was the launch of the SG-701 direct color scanner. Sales of the device set company records.
1980: Screen (together with Toppan Printing Co., Ltd.) developed a system to directly input video image signals stored on videotape to a scanner and then output the images as four-color film.
1981: Screen's first electronic page makeup system was brought to market. The Sigmagraph 2000 served as the forerunner for subsequent Screen makeup systems.
1992: By the 1990s, Screen had cast its eye toward digital workflows, developing the DTS1015 scanning device for desktop publishing.
1995: A key milestone is reached with the debut of the PlateRite 1080. The CTP recorder allowed users to write digital computer files directly onto plates for printing without film.
1998: The introduction of the PlateRite 8000 eight-up platesetter established Screen as an innovator in thermal CTP technology.
2000: Screen launched the four-color Truepress 544 digital offset press and Truepress V200 monochrome printing system. Spekta, the exclusive AM/FM hybrid screening method, also premiered.
2001: The high-speed PlateRite 8600 eight-up CTP featured an enhanced 64-channel recording head to image up to 20 plates per hour at 2,400 dpi. The Tanto 6120 imagesetter brought increased productivity to eight-page imposed film output, producing 20 sheets of film per hour at 2,400 dpi.
2002: The PlateRite 4300 was developed to meet the plate needs of printers with four-page and six-page presses. The PlateRite Ultima, a large, multiple-format platesetter, supported four-page to 32-page plate formats and featured 512-channel laser diode imaging heads based on Grating Light Valve (GLV) technology.
2003: The PlateRite 8800 thermal platesetter with GLV technology headed up Screen's eight-up CTP series.
2004: The Truepress 344 digital offset press introduced the very latest in processless plate technologies and advanced automation. The PlateRite Ultima 16000 provided the industry's fastest 16-page CTP device.
2005: The PlateRite News 2000 CTP solution for newspaper prepress made its North American debut at PRINT 05.
2006: The Screen PlateRite portfolio included the widest range of equipment, from two-page to 36-page formats, for commercial, newspaper and package printing. The PlateRite FX870 enabled efficient and precise flexographic plate production for labels, flexible packaging, corrugated, carton and security printing. The PlateRite 6600 targeted the plate needs for a new generation of six-page presses, with a maximum plate size of 38.5 x 26.9 inches and maximum output of 30 plates per hour. The PlateRite Ultima 2
4000 was engineered for output of 24-page size plates, while the PlateRite Ultima 36000 output 36-page size plates.
Also in 2006, Spekta 2, the only hybrid screen application to incorporate 12-bit halftoning technology, debuted. The Truepress Jet520, a continuous-feed, single-pass inkjet printing press, offered personalized printing for catalogs, direct mail pieces, full-color account statements and other materials based on customer databases.