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FLEXO Magazine : July 2007
1 8 F L E X O J U LY 2 0 0 7 w w w . f l e x o g r a p h y . o r g prEprEss C omputer-to-plate (CTP) imaging provides the founda- tion for the digital workflow for print as we know it today. More than a decade ago, the flexo industry began to envision that workflow. It was stealth-like, highly automated and incredibly efficient—with client-supplied content moving seamlessly through the print supplier’s systems. But the reality of digital workflow of today is far from that ideal, with print- ers from all walks of life citing content creation as the sticking point. Bad files continue to come into manufacturers’ prepress departments, ill-prepared and incomplete. It’s not just a problem in the packaging segment of the industry; it’s pervasive in all genres of print. “Prepress providers in packaging get as many files as commercial printers—if not more—that are not truly workflow ready,” noted Peter Lewis, technical sales support, Canada, Esko. “Because of the nature of the printing process and the wide variety of substrates to be printed on—foils, corrugated, glass, plastics, etc.—as well as regulated content, preparing art- work has extra challenges.” John Roberds is the co-owner and president of Odyssey Digital Printing in Tulsa, OK. Roberds agreed that ill-prepared digital files represents a tough and complicated challenge for the pack- aging market. “The cause is poor training,” Roberds said. “Many designers today are self-taught. Their desire is to be artists, and they don’t seem to realize they are really technicians. Packaging complicates things because there is the additional dimension of die cutting,” he explains. To counter that problem, Odyssey develops templates that customers can follow during design. “Proliferation of software and the ‘just-push-print’ attitude marketed by software vendors contribute wildly to the mess,” suggested John Willis, prepress manager, Cenveo MM&T Packaging. “Add to that the need for greater editorial license these days to create something eye-catching and unique, and you have the belief that anything can be printed and succeed.” So how does the print supplier overcome these challenges? It’s not feasible, after all, for the printer to hand-hold each and every client through content creation. However, there are some practi- cal steps that may be taken to cut down on the number of error- prone files coming into the plant. Preflighting at fingertiPs If the ideal is to catch common file problems as early in the creative stage as possible, responsibility and accountability have to shift up the chain, back to the client. One way to do this, with- fixing the Broken Workflow Communication and Accountability Are the Best Medicine By Gretchen A. Peck The most costly plate you will make is the one you have to make twice.
Golden Anniversary Commemorative Journal