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Computer to Plate & Packaging - Should my printers have CTP technology?
Should I be searching for packaging printers that have CTP (Computer-to-Plate)?

The answer is YES and NO. The use of the term CTP usually refers to the creation of offset plates. Not every end user has printing that can take advantage of the benefits that CTP brings to the process. To determine if you are a good candidate for CTP ask yourself these questions;

    • Do I have quality needs that are not currently being met?

    • Do I have a need for uniformity - from print run to print run and/or printing plant to printing plant - that is not currently being met?

    If you answered yes to either of these questions you could probably benefit from a printer that employed CTP.

    Through the proper implementation of CTP tremendous gains can be made in process control. Printers can produce plates in various locations and/or at various times that are statistically exact. By taking variability out of the process press rooms can more tightly manage press utilization and quality.

    Much of the early hype about CTP was that it was going to drive costs out of the platemaking and printing processes. While this is true over a long run do not look for immediate cost decreases due to CTP implementation. You CAN expect quality improvements and turnaround enhancements through CTP use. Cost improvements will be seen over a long run as the pace of cost increases may slow as quality goes up and scrap and waste goes down.

    Also look for additional advantages of being in a digital graphic world. CTP workflows require a digital workflow that has benefits upstream in the graphic development process. A topic for a future Q&A.

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