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Versatile Card Technology And Qualteq Proof Plastic Cards On Plastic

Press release from the issuing company

CHICAGO, IL, May 20, 2004 — Versatile Card Technology, Inc. (VCT), the largest American manufacturer of plastic cards, with a production capacity for more than a billion cards a year in plant facilities on four continents, has a passion for quality that is deeply imbedded throughout its organization. QualTeq, a New Jersey-based card manufacturing subsidiary acquired last year, also shares that dedication to quality. Since its start in 1986, VCT has grown by meeting the need for efficiently and economically producing high quality plastic card products. Committed to continual product improvement, VCT has adopted the ISO 9000 series as its standard for management and documentation. VCT and QualTeq are certified by MasterCard and VISA for bank and credit card printing. Their full spectrum of products also includes retail credit cards, phone cards, direct mail and customer loyalty cards. All of their products are produced for major corporate customers who know that their cards are an important part of their corporate image in the consumer marketplace. These are demanding customers who expect nothing less than superb quality printing for their cards. The two operations print their wide range of card products on the highest quality plastic substrates available. They range in thickness from 10 mil. to 30 mil., with finishes from UV coated to a full ISO laminated product. Finished card designs can incorporate magnetic stripes, signature panels, holograms, lenticular or smartcard technology. An integral component of VCT's intense commitment to the extraordinary quality of its card products has been the installation of Latran Technology's Prediction 1420 digital halftone proofing systems into the workflows of its prepress operations in Chicago and New Jersey. The Prediction 1420 is now the exclusive proofing system used at both production sites. John Wellman, Prepress Manager of VCT's Chicago operations, notes that one of the primary reasons for the selection of Prediction over other proofing systems is its ability to print directly on the same plastic materials that the finished card jobs are printed on, and its extremely accurate and consistent halftone dot reproduction. "The Prediction proofs are so realistic," he says, "you really can't see any difference between our proof and our press product. When our customers see a VCT Prediction proof, they feel as if they're looking at a finished card." Jim O'Mara, Prepress Manager of QualTeq, adds, "Prediction allows us to have much better color consistency because we're proofing on a bright base material that we're actually printing on, and that has helped us get faster customer approvals." In Chicago, VCT prints the cards on six-color and four-color MAN Roland presses. Since every job is run on expensive plastic material, getting up to speed fast on those presses is particularly critical to keep costs down. "We've calibrated our presses to the Prediction proofs, so our press operators are able to match them quickly and get up to color faster," Wellman says. "That has helped us cut down significantly on substrate waste. We couldn't do it that quickly with other types of proofs." Every job that comes into the VCT Chicago plant or the QualTeq plant, whether four-color, black or spot colors, is proofed on their Prediction systems. They are imaged onto Latran's Extended Range Media and transferred directly onto the actual plastic substrates specified for each card job. In addition to Latran's four-color pigmented ink sets, the plants also use metallic silver and gold Prediction ink sheets as well as opaque white. O'Mara says the Prediction system is easy to use. "There isn't much, if any, file manipulation required. We don't have to rebuild files, or take things out of them to get a good proof as we did with the old, traditional proofing systems we had." According to Wellman, his Prediction system has proven to be extremely reliable. His busy prepress operation has been able to consistently produce up to 20 full-color proof sheets a day on his system. "Prediction is easy to operate and we have assurance that the proofs it delivers are exactly what we will see on press. It really gives us high-level quality control that our customers can always rely on." O'Mara emphasizes the dependability of Prediction proofs. "They're the best, most consistent proofs we have ever produced," he says. "That proofing consistency is very important, particularly when our two plants work simultaneously on portions of the same high-volume job. It's really amazing when you compare Chicago's proofs to our proofs for the same job. They're identical. You can't tell the difference even though they were produced a thousand miles apart."