Swug hits the right note

The scope of the conference discussions continue to evolve from year to year, and technical issues are discussed and solved in an atmosphere that encourages contribution and discovery.

Spread over two days, this year’s version of SWUG saw attendees visit the local paper mill on the first day and the local newspaper’s printing plant on the second (The Whakatane Beacon), with a multitude of presentations in and around the two visits.

Suppliers to the printing industry outlined some of the major benefits that keeping in touch with technology can bring to printers. One of the talks that really caught the crowd’s attention was KBA’s Rhys Burton, introducing the waterless offset KBA Cortina press. Described as “lean, green, waterless and compact,” the Cortina’s speedy plate changes and ease of operation made it a target of much discussion among attendees.

Creo’s Derek Fretwell also attracted plenty of attention with his presentation on CTP and Staccato screening. Already in use on some newspapers, the FM screening method allows for greater latitude in problems of register. And the benefits of CTP in reduction of ink and water use could clearly be seen in pressroom savings, Fretwell said.

The concept of ICC profiling and colour management is one that is rapidly gaining the interest of newspaper printers as well. X-Rite’s Trevor Canty delivered a presentation that addressed the development of this technology that has the power to revolutionise the entire industry by improving colour quality, allowing accurate colour prediction, accurate soft and hard proofing and matching colour results on repeat jobs and simultaneous jobs at different sites.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the ICC development for SWUG attendees was the surprisingly low cost. Many of those present had believed that such a system would be price-prohibitive and were surprised when they discovered it was not.

The conference ended with a panel discussion where printers aired their problems and looked to the experts for solutions. Not all of them were solved, but with such a high level of communication and support, it seems likely that they eventually will be.

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