Menomonee Falls firms launch first remote color press check

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Menomonee Falls firms launch first remote color press check

By Jordan Fox, for SBT

A significant first for the graphic arts industry occurred in the Milwaukee area recently when three Menomonee Falls companies, C-t-PLUS, Inland Press and Integrated Color Solutions (ICS) teamed up and used ICS’s Remote Director virtual proofing system to successfully perform a press check on a live print production job.
It was done for a California-based client of C-t-PLUS, Guest Informant, a publisher of hotel magazines.
"In the graphics art field, we need black-and-white or color proofs to see how a job would look on press and to gain a customer’s approval," according to Dennis Redman, president and founder of C-t-PLUS.
His company is an employee-owned graphic arts solution company that provides services and expertise including prepress work and systems consulting. The company is one of this year’s Future 50 companies — the fastest 50 growing companies in the Milwaukee area as designated by the Council of Small Business Executives of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.
The remote press check, which took place at Redman’s company, is believed to be the first that relied exclusively on a display-based contract proof rather than a paper proof.
"Remote Director is new technology involving the use of computer monitors to scrutinize proofs, not proofs that we print from film or digital files," Redman explains. "We’re proud that the virtual press check was the world’s first to use a soft proof — a computer-generated contract proof, instead of a hard proof – a conventional paper proof, to set ink keys on press and gain customer approval."
The job was contract-proofed remotely via a secure Internet connection, using ICS’s Remote Director software, according to Redman. The project was printed at Inland Press on an 8-color sheet-fed press, but no paper proofs were used for approval.
For the press check, an Inland Press pressman brought the printing press up to color and pulled a press sheet, just as he would during any press check. However, because ICS’s Remote Director system was used for the prepress approval, a Remote Director display, located press side in a special light booth, was used to compare the contract proof to the press sheet. Based on that comparison, the printer adjusted the ink keys on the press, brought the press up to color, and produced a press proof. Then, using a special wide-format scanner, he scanned the press proof into a press-side Apple computer running the Remote Director software.
"The image appeared four minutes later on a Remote Director system at our office where it was inspected by Joe Kraynak, an official of Guest Informant," says Redman. "Joe had flown in from California to witness and participate in the process first hand."
Kraynak viewed the display on the Remote Director, checked the press sheet, specified some last minute changes and approved the job.
Redman says the process has generated great excitement because it was the first time it was ever done successfully. "It’s a great extension of printing technology enabling it to be done remotely at any location in the world. Some people had tried it previously but had failed."
According to Redman, who has long been active in graphic arts specifications and standards, when a technology such as the Remote Director is gaining hold in a market, customers are likely to choose companies that offer both traditional and cutting edge technologies because it protects them now while preparing for the future.
After the successful event in Menomonee Falls, ICS introduced the new technology at the Graphics Expo in Chicago. Redman’s company presented a case study at another industry conference in September.
"Since then, Quad Graphics has committed to using it. As has Gareth Stevens Inc., a Milwaukee publisher of children’s books. "They are very enthusiastic about it," Redman says.

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Oc. 31, 2003 Small Business Times, Milwaukee

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