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Printer takes digital route

Having operated his printing business for 25 years, Sumate Kittitheeraporn, the managing director of GP Cyberprint, now has a new hope – to turn his medium-sized printing facility into a new plant where all the processes are controlled by digital technology.Computers have come to play an important role in the printing industry, and Sumate acknowledged that if he didn’t catch up with technology he would lose business opportunities. Not only does computer technology make the printing process much faster, it also provides better quality printed work. That’s why in 1990 Sumate decided to pour Bt100 million into changing his printing process from manual to rely more on computer technology. “Computer technology helps us reduce human error during printing processes, especially in controlling ink,” he said. “With technology, we can control ink release precisely, and this makes the printed products come out according to customers’ orders.” GP Cyberprint provides four-colour printing services to around 100 customers a month. Its printing work includes magazines, product catalogues, product labels and brochures. As most of the company’s jobs are based on four-colour printing, ink control is the most important part of the company’s printing process. If there are some errors while releasing colour, they will cause colour distortion on the printout. In the past, Sumate’s printing facility relied on workers to control such processes. Different staff, he said, made their own calculations for ink release according to their experience. Many times the standard of printed products was inconsistent. Technology came to solve such problems. Now the company can control colour printing to the same standard. Currently GP Cyberprint uses two four-colour printing machines which are controlled by computer. The machines – each has a printing capacity of 7,000 printouts per hour – help the company reduce the time spent on printing processes and raw-material losses by around 20 per cent compared to the old manual printing system. However, the investment in technology a decade ago was just the company’s first step into the digital-printing era. Sumate, who has always been keen on new technology to improve his printing facility, hopes to push his operation to support what he calls cyberprinting, which will provide a complete cycle of printing, from layout, plate development and printing to post-printing. Each process will use computers to control the process. He also plans to move his printing facility towards a technology called computer-to-plate. This technology, which is used in the early stages of printing, is to allow layouts to be sent directly to a computer to make plates, with no need for them to be filmed. This technology will cut the process of film development and save costs, and it’s something the company will invest in over the next two years. Sumate said technology had helped the company to not only improve its printing quality and productivity, but also create new business opportunities and expand its market coverage. “From only serving the domestic market, we think that we can expand our service to cover international markets. I do believe that with the improvement of printing quality we can make printing services one of the country’s exports and Thailand could become a leading printing facility selling to customers all over the world,” he...
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