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Case Studies: RAP Spiderweb: Cron 36H CTP


SOS supply integrated hardware and software – with integrity

RAP Spiderweb Printers of Oldham has just installed a new B2 CTP system – the Cron 36H – along with RealPro workflow software, from SOS (Service Offset Supplies). When the company decided to replace an ageing Screen lo-chem CTP system, several contenders were invited to pitch, with some disappointing results, according to Director James Tattum:

“We buy right. We really do our homework. We were offered a replacement CTP as a tie-in with a press. It took me a day to work my way through the figures and found it was a smoke-and-mirrors deal which only benefitted the supplier. They also made some technical claims about the compatibility of rival equipment and software which we quickly found were untrue. They were not the only company to try to sell us a CTP system who presented themselves very poorly.”

“SOS were a total contrast, from the sales team to the technical guys everyone was honest and open, and when we looked in detail at the figures, they worked. The Cron system offered the best deal.”

The model which has just been installed at RAP Spiderweb is the compact 36H, a 3-in-1 system including autoloader, de-interleaving and punching. Although the system is compatible with all plate types, RAP Spiderweb opted for UV plates.

“Some people think UV plates are old technology, but they’re the most cost-effective option by far,” says Mr Tattum. “It’s a very productive system – we are getting 45% higher output than our previous machine. From day one we were churning plates out – we made 1000 in the first 10 days, and we haven’t had any issues with quality which is consistently good.”

One of the major plus-points when choosing Cron was the RealPro workflow software package from SOS. RealPro is a true hybrid workflow, capable of driving CTP devices and digital presses. It also sends CIP data to any press for auto ink duct adjustment prior to print, including the B2 Heidelberg machines currently in operation at RAP Spiderweb.

As well as managing trapping and preflight, RealPro helps to ensure a match between digital proof, plates and press – a process which SOS is able to fine-tune. “SOS are one of the very few companies in the UK who are true experts in colour consistency,” says Mr Tattum. “They have FOGRA-certified technicians who can ensure we get the right results, across the board.”

RAP Spiderweb gets its unusual name as a result of a merger between two companies. RAP began life as Rochdale Alternative Press in the 1960s, which became a specialist producing for the charity and not-for-profit sector. It acquired Spiderweb, a London-based printer with a similar portfolio, in 2006. The company produces a huge range of work, both litho and digital, for the charity sector and beyond.

The company has been in its current ownership since 2016. It is undergoing a ‘lean manufacturing’ programme which is being applied to all aspects of production. “Our Cron purchase is very much in keeping with our efficiency and productivity plan,” says Mr Tattum. The company’s attention to detail and smart investment policy is working – turnover has risen by 20% in the past year to £2m, and expected to grow further in the years ahead.