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University of Arkansas Reinvigorates its Prepress Operation

Facing tough times, the University of Arkansas has upgraded its in-plant with new CTP, proofing and workflow technologies to stay current.

January 1, 2011 By Bob Neubauer
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A year or so ago, things were not looking so good for the in-plant at the University of Arkansas. Though the shop had added a Xerox iGen3 in 2006, its offset operation was a little behind the times. 

The in-plant still ran film on an imagesetter, and its old Iris proofer was slow and not very color accurate. As a result, it was nearly impossible to give customers the colors and the quality they wanted. Add to this the financial difficulties brought about by the recession, and it seemed like decision time was at hand for the Fayetteville-based in-plant.

“We felt like we needed to make a commitment to either fold our tent and go a different direction, or maybe see if there’s a different way to do what we do,” says Jim Hicks, interim director of the 24-employee PMC Solutions department. 

So with the support of the school’s associate vice chancellor for Business Affairs, David Martinson, the in-plant put out an RFP for a new computer-to-plate system. Then fate stepped in.

On a visit to Walmart’s nearby Print & Mail Distribution Center, Bob Demmitt, a salesman for Clampitt Paper, happened to notice a nearly new Kodak Magnus 800 CTP system sitting unused in a corner. He inquired, and learned that when Walmart had added a larger press last year, it needed a larger CTP system, so it put the Kodak unit in storage after just a year of use. 

“He already knew that we had put out an RFP,” remarks Hicks. So Demmitt told him about it. “It turned out it was just what we wanted.”

The two in-plants worked out a deal, and then Walmart put it on a truck and brought it over. But CTP alone wasn’t enough; the in-plant needed an accurate proofer and a whole new workflow. So Hicks put his prepress manager, Melissa Couch, in charge of writing an RFP.

As a result, the in-plant recently added Heidelberg’s Prinect workflow, getting a package designed especially for school production. This included the MetaDimension RIP, the Prinect PDF Toolbox (with Adobe Acrobat plug-ins like PDF Assistant, Trap Editor and Color Editor) and Prinect Signa Station for impositioning and sheet assembly.

“It’s astronomically better,” gushes Couch. “It’s unreal, the change in our workflow. Our in-house production time is less than half of what it used to be for most of these jobs.”









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