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Fits like a dream

Dec 1, 2006 12:00 AM

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Joseph S. Ragusa, president of Car-Lin Graphics (Ronkonkoma, NY) is dedicated to providing quality printing services. Car-Lin, founded in the late 1950s by original owner Henry Harlin, specializes in prepress and commercial one- to six-color printing. “With my extensive background in packaging combined with the recent improvements in prepress—such as the I-Trap software from Lucid Dream Software, Inc. (Hoffman Estates, IL)—I look forward to expanding our markets into the lucrative packaging industry,” says Ragusa.

In preparation for expanding the company’s capabilities, Ragusa worked closely with his local supplier, HA Metzger, Inc. (Jersey City, NJ). “Tim Mallon met with us to discuss our needs and plans,” he explains. “We had been a film-based company doing many tasks, such as trapping, either by hand or using basic application settings. After tracking costs, including the extensive time involved and the amount of plate remakes because of incorrect trapping, it was clear this was not going to work in a CTP environment and certainly not for packaging work.”

The Car-Lin Graphics team first considered high-end solutions from well-known vendors. “Pricing for just the workflow components alone started at $35,000 and quickly went over $60,000 for systems that would support our eight-up printing—without any platesetter!” says Ragusa.

HA Metzger proposed and delivered a complete solution that included a used eight-up Kodak (Rochester, NY) Trendsetter for platemaking, a Harlequin RIP from Compose Systems (Sacramento, CA), I-Trap Full Server from Lucid Dream Software, and the Epson (Long Beach, CA) Stylus Pro inkjet printer with ColorBurst RIP for proofing. Mallon and his training staff color calibrated the Car-Lin presses to generate ICC profiles for use with the ColorBurst RIP to achieve color-accurate proofs. The price, under $50,000, included ancillary pieces such as a densitometer as well as installation and support. Ragusa says, “I was concerned that such an inexpensive solution would not be able to meet our growing needs. However, after a demonstration with Lucid Dream Software, I was surprised at how comprehensive this solution was and agreed to give it a try.”

Streamlined setup
The workflow involved configuring the Compose Harlequin RIP with proper page setups to drive the Trendsetter and setups for the ColorBurst RIP to drive the Epson printer using calibrated profiles. Next, the I-Trap configuration wizard was used to tie these together, creating input queues with trapping enabled using one of the preconfigured trap sets, and generating outputs to use the I-JPEG plug-in to generate a raster proof file for the ColorBurst RIP—as well as the standard I-TRAP plug-in to send the trapped job to the Trendsetter when approved.

“Some of our work is coming in as PDF files,” says Ragusa. “For them, we use similar setups that include the I-JPEG plugin for proofing and the I-PDF plugin to return a trapped PDF that is ready for imposition.”

Because all of Car-Lin’s work is done from the Macintosh and it has a large Cinema Display, Ragusa’s team was excited to take advantage of I-Trap’s unlimited remote clients. “Their very competent support people gladly arranged online support sessions to work with us,” he adds. “All we had to do was connect our box to the Internet. With their help, we installed the free client Viewer application on the Mac and configured the server-side application to handle the final trapping.”

The Car-Lin team’s workflow involves preparing jobs on the Mac and printing them to RIP spool folders for various requirements. “We can send jobs to automatic queues where the jobs RIP, trap and the raster proof file outputs on the Epson, or we can send jobs to the interactive queue,” Ragusa explains. “We use this the most because it is an easy way for us to check the jobs. In this mode, the job is sent to the RIP where it creates an I-Trap Interactive job.”

From any of Car-Lin’s Mac stations, the operator opens the job at full resolution in the Mac Viewer. “We can zoom in and out very fast, turn on and off separations to see knock-outs, and see density values with the cursor. We can modify trap settings, apply preconfigured settings to the entire page or create trap zones. We can preview the traps using the ‘Trap on the Fly’ feature with or without highlighting, and when we are satisfied the job is correct we simply press a button to save the settings and send it back to the server,” says Ragusa. Back at the server, the job automatically traps and generates output files for both the Trendsetter and the Epson printer.

Stellar support
Ragusa says Lucid Dream Software’s support has been excellent: “For example, I discovered a problem in which the proofing files coming out of I-JPEG where not giving us correct results for spot colors on the Epson. We reported this to Lucid, they quickly responded that they had found the problem and, shortly afterwards, they delivered a new update. Now my proofs match my prints and my customers are pleased.” Car-Lin uses this workflow for every multicolor job it runs, according to Ragusa. “Our pressmen are getting jobs to ‘fit’ much faster, and production loves the extra safety net of viewing the RIPped jobs prior to output.”

See and

A complete package
Car-Lin Graphics recently expanded its capabilities into packaging by adding four die cutters, including a 43-inch Bobst. The shop also installed a Post gluer and a 10-station Duplo bookletmaker. With the implementation of this new equipment, Stephen Schwicke has assumed the role of plant manager.