Describe your business
Lithocraft is a 40-year-old printer based in the Melbourne suburb of Truganina.
What have you bought?
A Screen PlateRite 8600 NS thermal platesetter running Screen’s Equios workflow and Xingraphics’ FIT Xtra Melior plates. We bought them through Manroland, which certifies the plates and CTP through PrintCom. We run three sheetfed Manroland presses: an eight-unit Roland 708 perfector, a five-unit Roland perfector with aqueous coating unit and
a B2-format Roland 505 straight press.
What does the new set-up do?
The platesetter has an auto loader with two different-sized plates in it. We are running at about 20 plates per hour. We are using Xingraphics’ Arto chemistry, which we find great for longevity, and we also find the processor to be quite clean. The Xingraphics plate responds well, especially with the chemistry on the press.
Why did you choose these products?
The plate was recommended by Manroland through the PrintCom alliance. As for the platesetter, we have always heard great things about Dainippon Screen so we didn’t think it would be a gamble. The package as a whole gave us an economical plate, a robust CTP and a dynamic RIP for the future. The combination seemed perfect to fit for what we needed.
Did you consider any other products?
We had stacked up the big three – Fujifilm, Agfa and Kodak – but the price of the plate was the difference, as well as the price of the machinery. With the Equios RIP, we got a lot of information from Screen and looked to the future of where it is going. The RIP is getting more sophisticated and dynamic.
What features do you like most?
We could be heading toward a ‘lights off’ pre-press situation. We’re trying to get customers to pre-flight online – Equios enables more interaction from the client and lets them chart the job through the system. It allows us to go head to head with print companies who have Kodak Insite. We also have Metrix imposition software in place. We are trying to make things smarter and quicker due to the shorter turnarounds. With Equios, Screen is looking to offer the ability for small impositions to be automatically created through their database, so a client can put a four-page brochure in and if it is simple enough, the RIP will just do it.
Is there anything you wish the RIP had that it doesn’t?
We are waiting for development out of Drupa for advances in the RIP. Once we have them we will be happy. There are some holes, but they haven’t released the full version into Australia yet.
How fast are the products?
The RIP is about the same as the Fujifilm XMF. The CTP is a little bit slower [than the previous machine] but it allows us to loads more plates. With this device, we can load 90 plates into three cassettes so we are spending less time reloading.
How reliable is it all?
How easy is it to use?
There was some training required but it has been fairly easy.
Has it saved time and money?
The chemistry – the gum and replenisher – is a lot cheaper, so that’s a significant saving. The cost per plate is also significantly cheaper.
Any difficulties with the install?
As everything, on installation you have a few hiccups but we can’t complain. For the couple of problems we have had, we got a prompt response from Screen and Xingraphics – same day, within hours.
How has the service been?
We have a contact at Manroland who we ring and they farm it out to whichever partner. For instance, we had a problem early on with the Xingraphics chiller so we rang Manroland and they had a Xingraphics guy down the next day.
Who is this product is right for?
Certainly someone with a Manroland press because these guys know how the CIP4 data works. With Manroland being so heavily in packaging, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t swap over into packaging. I know a couple of medium commercial printers who have done it and are quite happy with it. Xingraphics and Screen have been in this partnership long enough and they are very professional.
Would you buy another one?
Yes. The press manager thinks we are getting a sharper dot and we are getting savings, so I see no reason why not.
Lithocraft is one of our major customers with three Manroland presses and has been a long-term business partner spanning 20 years. Our PrintCom solution was first implemented on one of Lithocraft’s presses in February 2011. The success of the PrintCom products quickly showed significant production benefits and was implemented across all three presses. Immediate savings in production costs, waste and environ-mental savings with the use of recyclable wash were realised. The installation of the Manroland-Xingraphics CTP thermal plate solution at Lithocraft is an exciting one.
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