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The Consequences of Moving a Prepress Department

(May 2008) posted on Wed May 07, 2008

Thinking about moving your shop to a new facility? Coudray's advice can help you avoid some jams that you might not expect.

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By Mark A. Coudray

So far, everything is working great. We’ve consolidated the amount of movement to about 40 ft or less for any given transport. What makes this work so well is that reclaiming and coating have their own rooms with a pass-through between the two. Each room also has double doors that open to 6 ft for easy transport of the screen racks in both directions if necessary. In practice, we’re only going into the reclaiming area and coming out of the screen imaging area. The doors are solid core with heavy-duty hardware because they see a lot of traffic.

All that moving about can cause some serious dust-control issues—especially right after the construction. There is no end to the sources for unwanted dirt: sawdust, drywall dust, paint flakes, you name it. Both rooms have very strong evacuation ducting to suck out excess moisture. Humidity is the devil when using dual-cure emulsions, so the exhausts are designed to lighten the load on the air conditioning. We change the air 10 times per hour in reclaiming and imaging, and the movement of the air is strong enough to suck a door shut. In the process, we also sucked in foreign materials. The first few weeks were pretty bad. No matter how careful we were, no matter how many times per day we mopped the floors, we still had dust. The solution was to tape furnace filters over the make-up-air vents. The velocity of the air coming through those inlets was substantial. We captured an amazing amount of dirt with those $1.00 filters.

We have 20-in. fans inside the coating room that help evaporate the water from the coated screens. We don’t use drying cabinets yet. Furnace filters prevent dust and dirt from entering the fans and blowing onto wet screens.


Moving equipment

Moving equipment is another story. We have two Agfa drum imagesetters, RIPs, a film processor, computer-to-screen system, metal-halide exposure units, and a whole bunch of computers and printers. Most of these devices have been in one place for several years. In fact, our first Agfa Select Set 5000 has been in the same room for more than 10 years. It was very happy there. No problems.


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