Take a Closer Look at Screen

Jim Hamilton
Jul 16, 2012

In June, Screen USA invited a group of industry analysts and trade press editors to its U.S. headquarters in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, not far from Chicago, for a briefing that they called “A Closer Look.” The title is apt, because if you are like me, you may not have understood the full breadth of Screen’s graphic arts offerings.

Screen USA President Mike Fox kicked off the event with a look at Screen history. Founded in 1868 and incorporated in 1943, the company’s accomplishments include graphic arts milestones in scanning, film imagesetting, computer-to-plate, workflow, and digital print. Fox said that Screen has $2.5 billion in revenue, 4,990 employees, 26 subsidiaries, and is a member of the Nikkei Stock Exchange “Elite 225.” The company is comprised of four divisions: semi-conductors (their largest market), flat-panel displays, printed circuit boards, and graphic arts. He noted that the Kanji fonts for the Apple’s iPad are supplied by Screen.

Fox identified three corporate goals for the graphic arts division:

  1. Stay at #1 in computer to plate — Fox noted that Screen has sold 17,500 computer-to-plate units worldwide and is the top global player with 41.4% market share and that the company has been the #1 worldwide computer-to-plate supplier since 2004.
  2. Expand Screen’s print-on-demand business — Screen’s worldwide installed base of Truepress Jet520 inkjet print engines numbers more than 400 (including those of its partner, Ricoh InfoPrint).
  3. Drive growth in the packaging market — This area includes digital inkjet opportunities, but also builds upon Screen’s expertise with flexographic platesetting.

One very commendable aspect of this event was that Screen brought in lots of their customers to speak to the gathered analysts and editors. These included speakers from all over the Americas. Here are some memorable quotes and perspective from the speakers:

  • Wes Sanders of Sebis Direct said that “30% of our warehouse is unused now because we require fewer pre-printed shells with the Truepress Jet 520.”
  • Emily Williamson, President of Franklin Imaging in Columbus, Ohio has a Truepress jet2500uv wide format printer that she likes because of the five- and seven-layer features for two-sided cling graphics and also the raised printing capability that allows them to do braille.
  • Russ Brock, President of Specialty Output Printing in Waukesha, Wisconsin also has a Truepress jet2500uv and said that it “does more for us now than it did in the demo. How often does that happen?” About its substrate capability he said: “If it’s not water we can probably print on it.”

It was particularly interesting that three of the end-user presenters are using Screen’s Truepress Jet520 for transaction applications. This includes Wes Sanders of Sebis Direct as well as Alexandre Batista of Grupa Printlaser from Sao Paulo, Brazil and Arlindo Dos Santos of Fast Solutions (also from Brazil). All are using the PostScript/PDF front end with in-line AFP/IPDS conversion and in all three cases they are getting rid of offset pre-printed forms and moving from monochrome electrophotography to color inkjet.

The presentations closed with a study overview by Kern Cox of Clemson University’s Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics. The study, which was run on Screen platesetters, concluded that there were definite benefits to running computer-to-plate units at higher resolution for halftone screening on flexo plates. These benefits included imaging a smaller spot that, even though it may not hold and print on final plate, still provides critical support for surrounding areas, and thereby increases quality.

I attend a lot of industry analyst events held by companies offering production digital printing products. This was a good one for several reasons: They kept their corporate presentations to the point, they brought in end users to speak about their products, they gave plenty of time for hands-on product demonstrations, and they had a wide range of strong print samples. For a video view of some of those samples, please have a look at my InfoBlog on the Truepress JetSX and Truepress Jet2500UV.

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