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FLEXO Magazine : February 2009
PLANTS & PROCESSES Although an entire suite of prepress tools were purchased all at once, Jones had considered learning one prepress piece at a time-starting with barcodes, then trapping, then RIPping and screening. However, the company worked on such a variety of products, it decided to take complete prepress responsibility for the simpler jobs immediately, such as labels, bags and inserts, and none for the more complicated jobs until its learning curve was up to speed. J ones also works with software that creates and shares ultra-realistic on-screen mock-ups and soft proofs of complex packaging and label designs with high-value finishing effects such as metallics or embossing. They use it to demonstrate the company's innovative services-as a collaborative tool to assist in product development and design improvement. The software clearly illustrates Jones' progressive nature in utilizing technol- ogy to better enhance the design process," said LaBombard. uThe credit we get for being very technically advanced is ter- rific. I have been hosting WebEx sessions with clients and with a number of people in an offsite location, while I am sitting in our London office. They can see the designs over the Internet without having to ship them. From all reports, the quality is impeccable. In fact, one of our clients said 'The software you use would be invaluable at any price'." MORE CONTROL J ones built complicated and extensive workflow tickets with its client-server software that helps workflow systems do jobs faster, cheaper and with a lot less errors-taking Illustrator@ files and letting their server automatically process them, rather than by hand. It sends ink key information along with their litho plates to the presses, so when Jones prints a job, they have preset informa- tion for ink keys to reduce makeready times. PLATEMAKING PRESCRIPTION After Jones purchased its software, it was a simple decision to purchase a digital flexo imager, complemented by a plate pro- cessing system that not only saved time, but also provided envi- ronmental benefits without the solvent washout. uln all honesty, it was a last minute addition. Once we looked at our prescrip- tion packaging and label divisions, we decided that because we already had a complete workflow, it only made sense to make our own plates rather than imaging plates from film. The de- - cision was so radically simple. I have seldom seen such a strong payback. The digital flexo imager will virtually pay for itself in under a year," said LaBombard. With its prescription packaging work, Jones used to take small rectangles of film for the art, cut them, and gang up the films to make a plate. Jones has been able to eliminate all the man-hours re- quired for labeling, trimming and filing film and plates, saving 50 percent in ma- terial costs, and plate production is much faster. The process to take a job from art to platemaking often took three to four days of back and forth delivery to outside services and a rush job would take two days. Now under certain circumstances, the company can receive artwork and hang plates on press in one and one-half hours. There is a noticeable quality improvement in Jones' narrow web division. Using the digital flexo imager, Jones Packaging can reproduce a much better highlight dot on press, and is able to print much better vignettes. There is no longer such a distinct hard edge in Jones' screen work. Because files are sent directly to the digital flexo imager, there is no more dust, and pinholes are gone. uWe expect to be able to do all of the prepress work we receive in-house, soon," concluded LaBombard. uPrintability is our most important concern, and with our solution we can be assured that every file is ready to go to press. We spent our time to invest in tools that deliver exceptional continuity between structural and graphic design. By doing our homework and being deliberate about our decisions, we are very pleased with our complete work- flow solution." A PLAN OF ACTION What Jones Packaging did to build its prepress department may not apply to every printer/converter, but the most important rules do apply: It took a methodical approach to prepress, lever- aged the expertise of existing personnel who had extensive expe- rience in prepress, decided where to start, implemented a train- ing schedule, utilized the cooperation of a long-time prepress partner, and took their time implementing a prepress operation that has worked very well for them. That seems like a very good course of action for anyone. . ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Simon A. R.James is senior vice presi- dent, product and solution marketing, EskoArtwork. James first came to the US. to form a software company, Lasercomb, with three friends. The product they developed eventually emerged as ArtiosCAD, now used by more than 15,000 people around the world. In his current role, he is responsible for strategic and product marketing. With the recent acquisition of Artwork Systems, EskoArtwork is a worldwide organiza- tion with the vision of becoming the leading supplier of products and services to the printing and packaging industry. FEBRUARY 2009 www.flexography.org FLEXO
Sustainable Winter 2009