Roto-Plate, Inc.

Company Updates

Roto-Plate, Inc.

Outsourcing: A Better Solution

Today’s slowing economy and tighter profit margins make outsourcing an attractive financial choice for cost management. Small to Medium size printers are finding it much more cost effective to outsource their plate needs for the following reasons:

  1. Plate costs are on an “as needed” basis. No ongoing cost during downtimes.
  2. Consider the “In-house” financial burdens:
    1. The high cost of purchasing and maintaining prepress equipment
    2. Costly ongoing software packages
    3. Labor costs: benefit packages, worker’s comp, FICA and turnover are eliminated, resulting in higher profits
  3. Quick turnaround, digital file transfer and over night delivery ensures that presses keep running, making you money.
  4. With Roto-Plate, Inc., you have your own pre-press department without the financial baggage.


- As seen in Flexo & Gravure International magazine.

Roto-Plate, Inc. expands its technical expertise to cover on-site technical supervision and analysis to maximize flexographic plate and print quality.

Burlington, NC—May 4, 2009—Roto-Plate, Inc., a Burlington, North Carolina based flexographic prepress trade shop, has extended its expertise to provide stronger "value added" service to the printing industry.

Printers desire on-site technical advice about plate performance to help them outperform their competitors. Variables such as roller size, settings, durometer, torque pressure, ink usage, and the correct paper are points of concern for any printer trying to maximize the quality of labels or packaging. As a qualified on-site technical advisor, Roto-Plate is providing this knowledge.

“It’s not enough for a trade shop to rely solely on sales people to build a solid partnership with converters. Printers not only require expertise when it comes to making quality plates, but a working knowledge of the print side of the business, as well,” states Jim Freeman, Roto-Plate president. “The ability to deliver consultative technical advice to help a converter set up a press to run a particular job is crucial."

Dan Allen hired as VP of Development

To that end, Dan Allen, has joined Roto-Plate from Pitman Company, to oversee technical issues relating to customer digital and analog plate quality. With more than twenty years as a technical consultant for Pitman, Allen has particular insight into the production of flexo plates, a vast understanding of varied flexographic and offset printing equipment, and fingerprint and banded analog testing. Dan's experience in flexographic, offset coating, and letterpress printing includes knowledge of prepress and pressroom operations. This encompasses stringent prepress requirements, plate room layout, equipment installation and training, troubleshooting, and problem solving.

Dan's responsibilities at Roto-Plate will include developing new clients for flexo, coating plates, and packaging. His expertise in the analysis of production requirements and product development will allow customers to benefit from Roto-Plate’s value-added concept as a full-service trade shop. "There are a very limited number of print professionals who have attained the skill level and overall expertise that Dan possesses,” comments Freeman. “We feel Dan will be able to build our customer base by developing a more comprehensive approach to the value of prepress—assuring Roto-Plate plays an integral role in the production of quality labels and packaging."

Dan began his career in 1981 with Labels Incorporated of Burlington, NC. He was employed at Holt Manufacturing, Burlington, NC from 1983-1988 until joining Pitman Company of Charlotte, NC, as a Packaging Specialist. Dan served with the United States Coast Guard from 1974-78, specializing in search and rescue and search and seizure operations. He earned an Associate Degree in Applied Science, Graphic Arts/ Audio Visual Technology from Technical College of Alamance.

Roto-Plate, Inc. reports successful installation of complete EskoArtwork digital flexo plate workflow

Company was the first ‘post-merger’ example of a hybrid ArtPro and Esko solution

Vandalia, OH (USA), February 2009 – Roto-Plate, Inc., a twelve-person prepress services provider to a wide variety of printers specializing in tag and label, consumer packaging, pharmaceuticals, point of purchase, promotional materials and folding cartons, reports that the first North American ‘post-merger’ hybrid workflow of ArtPro and Esko software has worked very successfully, allowing the company to explore markets previously unavailable to them. The system includes Esko DeskPack, a Nexus workflow, and a Cyrel Digital Imager (CDI) 4835, and delivers what no other solution could provide Roto-Plate: the ability to accurately manage high-end four-color process work, the power to oversee production controls within Adobe Illustrator, and the speed and unexcelled dot reproduction of the Esko CDI flexo imager.

Based in Burlington, NC, Roto-Plate, Inc. provides complete prepress services to the narrow and mid-web (up to 35" by 48" plates) flexographic printing industry. Roto-Plate, Inc., founded in 1974, currently offers digital and conventional plates, electronic broadband file preparation, graphic design, barcoding, proofing and related services throughout the eastern U.S. Their experienced team provides "Just-In-Time" delivery—many orders within 24 hours after approval—and competitive pricing for any sized company.

“I purchased Roto-Plate in 1995,” recalls Jim Freeman, Roto-Plate owner. “In the early 1990’s, a lot of the company’s work was still done the old-fashioned, analog way. From 1995 to 2000, we decided to move toward the 21st century, purchasing a new building, and upgrading our workflow software and equipment.”

At the time of the merger of ArtPro Systems and Esko-Graphics, Roto-Plate had progressed considerably, sending Aldus Freehand and Adobe Illustrator files to its Nexus workflow, which prepared files for the company’s imagesetter before plates were burned. The ArtPro Nexus workflow, using FlexoCal to calibrate films, was purchased in 2005 primarily to RIP files that had already been trapped and stepped. “The Nexus workflow, along with FlexoCal, has been very helpful,” comments Sandy Alcorn, Roto-Plate head of operations. “With FlexoCal, it’s easy to maintain accurate, balanced, calibrated grayscales for our platesetter. We needed our highlights and shadows to output accurately. FlexoCal has the ability to manage high-end four-color process work, which was not working well for us using traditional curving.”

At the time of the Esko and ArtPro merger, Roto-Plate decided it was time for new software to manage more of its prepress from within Adobe Illustrator, and to pursue digital plate imaging. “We conducted research for almost a year and looked at several systems options. In the end, we decided to implement the EskoArtwork solution that Pitman introduced to us,” says Freeman.

With new Esko DeskPack tools, Roto-Plate now creates its trapping, barcodes, and stepping within Adobe Illustrator. From there, the Nexus RIP is used to prepare files for its Esko CDI 4835. “Rather than doing the prepress work from a workflow application, we preferred to use Esko DeskPack from within Adobe Illustrator—the application we are accustomed to using. The software is very user-friendly,” assures Brian Madden, head of the graphics art department. “We create a 1-bit tiff file and send it to the RIP and the digital plate imager.” The system represents a ‘pre-merger’ Esko application at the front, Nexus in the middle and Esko imager in the back.

“We wanted to step up the kind of work we do and explore new markets. Digital was the best way to get there, and the Esko CDI 4835 was the best of the best. Both Pitman and EskoArtwork were great to work with. The EskoArtwork solution has helped us improve our four-color and spot work to meet the quality our customers require. We get a smaller dot with our CDI digital platesetter and, overall, our gradients are much better,” explains Tammy Hall, head of the plate department. “The CDI is also a workhorse. It’s fairly simple to make a plate. We only had two days of training, and that was all we really needed.”

There is a tremendous difference in productivity, more than double the previous output, due in part to the larger platesetter. Roto-Plate is able to image more jobs in the same amount of time. With the Dupont FAST processor, plates are processed much faster, and there is also no solvent, which prevents swelling and drying down.

“Last Friday we got a call at 3PM and were told that we would receive a job by 5PM. At 4:55PM, the customer sent us the files for plates. At 7PM, they called, notifying us that they needed a ‘re-do’ of one plate. This was for the next job up on their press. We were able to deliver on time later that night,” remarks Freeman. “This was a very large customer, and we typically get very short notice for their work. Jobs come in and we send out plates that need to get on the press the next morning.”

By investing in EskoArtwork software and a CDI flexo image, Roto-Plate is able to pursue new markets, creating plates for larger packaging. “Very simply, the EskoArtwork solution is doing what we expected it to do. That’s refreshing,” concludes Freeman. “EskoArtwork and Pitman did a wonderful job to help us compete in markets we would have never been able to penetrate. The entire EskoArtwork workflow has been terrific. We are now able to compete in the large converter market—a segment of the industry we were not competitive in before.”

About Roto-Plate, Inc.

Roto-Plate, Inc. has provided prepress services since 1974 to a wide variety of printers specializing in tag and label, consumer packaging, pharmaceuticals, point of purchase, promotional materials, and folding cartons.

Roto-Plate, Inc. provides complete prepress services to the narrow and mid-web (up to 35" by 48" plates) flexographic printing industry. The company offers digital and conventional plates, electronic broadband file preparation, graphic design, bar coding, proofing and related services. The company has a diverse understanding of customers’ and clients’ needs and standards. Each project is a flexible team effort. Roto-Plate’s goal is to consistently meet or exceed their customer's expectations.

About EskoArtwork

EskoArtwork is a global supplier and integrator of innovative solutions for packaging, commercial printing, sign and display finishing and professional publishing. Its products and services help customers raise productivity, reduce time-to-market, lower costs and expand business.

EskoArtwork is the worldwide market leader with pre-production and collaboration software for packaging buyers, designers and manufacturers. The CDI flexo computer-to-plate imagers, Kongsberg short-run converting and signage finishing systems complete the portfolio for the packaging, label, signage and display industries.

The company also provides a range of workflow solutions for the commercial printing and publishing market, as well as the Enfocus suite of PDF tools for graphic designers and print production professionals.

EskoArtwork employs around 900 people worldwide. Its global sales and support organization covers Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific and Japan, and is completed by a network of distribution partners in more than 40 countries.

EskoArtwork is headquartered in Gent, Belgium, and has R&D and manufacturing facilities in 5 European countries, the United States and in India. The consolidated full year revenue for 2007 amounted to EUR 170 million, with an EBITDA of EUR 30 million.

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