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Case Studies: Crossprint 36 G+ Thermal CTP


Isle of Wight printer goes for processless CTP system from SOS

Founded in 1974, Crossprint is the Isle Of Wight’s foremost quality commercial printer. “There are several small printers with digital machines but we’re the only printer with a litho and digital press on the Island,” says Operations Manager Stuart Murray. This also means Crossprint has the island’s only CTP system, and in 2019 a Cron machine replaced an ageing Fuji system to feed plates to the company’s five colour B2 Ryobi press.

Stuart and his team made sure due diligence was carried out before signing up for the Cron. “We were aware that the early Cron machines from a decade or so ago had issues, so we contacted people who had installed the latest models and checked other sources such as online forums. The feedback was all positive,” he says. “Once we were satisfied about the quality, we factored in the price, and the cost saving is substantial compared to the alternatives.”

“I don’t know why the Cron’s competitors are so expensive. Perhaps it’s complacency.”

The improvement in Crossprint’s plate throughput was immediate and dramatic. “It’s cut or platemaking times down on a typical job by about three quarters,” says Stuart. “This is partly due to the fact we used to have to feed our old unit manually, now we just put a stack of plates in the autoloader unit and let it run.”

Crossprint’s Cron machine is a 36 G+ thermal system, with the company opting to use Kodak Sonora processless plates.

“Removing the processor stage from our platemaking was part of our green policy,” says Studio Manager Barry Smith. “We use vegetable based inks, an alcohol-free press, and we are even powered by our own solar panels. Now our plates develop on-press there was a concern it might mean issues for the press operators, but it’s been a very smooth changeover. They may use a little bit more water but there have been no major changes in press chemistry.”

According to Barry, time savings, clean working and user friendliness are not the whole story. “We think we have seen a rise in print quality – the colour is more vivid and there is greater fine detail. We think this is because the press is printing from a first-generation image.”

The Crossprint plate workflow is powered by RealPro software, which has been another success story. “The big advantage for RealPro is speed, it has drastically cut our RIP time, and it’s very reliable. We also get great back-up from SOS,” adds Stuart Murray.

Crossprint recently became part of the Newsquest Media Group, and produces a wide variety of promotional print for its parent company, as well as for businesses on the island and beyond. Recently it has had some success producing niche products such as bespoke packaging, thanks partly to a well-equipped finishing department. Crossprint has 17 staff and a turnover in the region of £1m per year.