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Low-cast color proofs

Nov 1, 1995 12:00 AM

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Falcon Industries (Golden Valley, MN) anticipates that its new Talon One proofing system will be ready for volume shipping by December 1995. Successful beta testing has been performed at customer sites during the past few months. Company president Michael Ryan, who spent 23 years with Kodak (15 of those in color proofing prior to starting Falcon Industries), believes the market is ready for a high-quality final color proof at blueline costs.

Talon One produces multicolor position proofs from halftone film separation negatives in room-light environments. The system uses standard rapid access chemistry, including Kodak Speed Check RA chemistry, and Kodak Speed Check RA position proofing paper to produce a photographic color proof with the definite halftone dot structure of film.

According to Ryan, it's the ideal final proof to assist in the transition from film-based operations to direct-to-press, direct-to-plate operations. He points out that the first priority in preparing for filmless workflow is to master the process of producing "clean information in an eight-page format." Talon One's low cost, claims Ryan, makes it a favorable follow-up to the intermediate digital proofs in use today, thus enabling that process.

"If customers already have approved the color on a digital proof," Ryan asks, "and you are going to output film, why not check out final position and layout at $.83 a square foot? You avoid electronic artifacts, logos and type that have moved, and so on. A lot can be lost from an electronic file when you output an eight-page flat."

The maximum size 20 x 24-inch image produced by a Talon One proof is estimated to cost $4.36, including labor and materials, as opposed to $4.16 for a typical blueline. Falcon pegs the cost of a comparable contract proof at $45.63 and overlays at $27.32. Talon One reportedly produces process colors as well as hundreds of spot or special colors. However, its dye set is appropriate to the photographic process and cannot exactly match printing pigments. Therefore, if an exact color match is needed, some colors will not be reproduced satisfactorily by the system.

Talon One's computer stores 100 programs, each holding eight burns. Fifty of the most commonly used colors are preprogrammed into the system, while others can be added as needed using an optional densitometer. In addition to color, the proof is designed to check position, register and trapping, and indicate moires.

Falcon calculates each proof takes approximately five minutes of operator time to load film and expose the paper, with 12 minutes from start to finish, compared to 10 minutes for a blueline and 30 to 60 minutes for a skilled operator to produce one contract proof. The time span can translate to as many as 80 proofs per shift.

In addition to commercial printers and color trade shops, Talon One is aimed at packaging or carton printers because of its ability to show Pantone Matching System colors. Falcon also sees service bureaus, in-plants, newspapers, designers, advertising agencies and publication printers benefiting from this proofing system.