SONORA processless technology is good news for Westamerica Communications
This Southern California printing and marketing services provider has found a powerful combination of profitability and lasting benefits in Kodak’s award-winning alternative to conventional plate manufacturing.
Westamerica Communications has thrived by adapting, evolving and improving. If there is a printing or marketing department that will allow it to better serve its customers, Westamerica will acquire the capacity. If adopting new processes and technologies is the way to achieve this, Westamerica will not hesitate to make the investment.
One example is the Lake Forest Company in California which has moved beyond conventional plate manufacturing with the help of Kodak SONORA process-free plates. Used there for only about a year, SONORA plates now support 70% of Westamerica’s offset lithographic production. The goal is to shift almost all of the compensation work to SONORA – an outcome the company says will pay dividends in more ways than one.
Indeed, printing with SONORA plates allows Westamerica to be seen by its customers as both environmentally friendly and cost conscious, according to Mark DeBellis, corporate vice president, Marketing and Business Development. .
“Customers want both: they want sustainability and they want value,” he explains. “The beauty of this solution is that with untreated plates, we save costs. It really allows us to offer two things that are not always together: a gain in durability and a gain in price or value. It’s a combination, he notes, that often doesn’t come with other sustainability solutions for the pressroom due to the costs they add.
“This is where Kodak really differentiates itself, and it’s going to work well in our market,” says DeBellis. “We will find a solution faster with this than we would otherwise. “
SONORA plate technology – recognized in 2021 with a Pinnacle InterTech Award for Innovation – replaces conventional plate manufacturing with a solution that allows the laser-imaged plate to become fully print-ready when mounted on press. This eliminates the need for wet plate processors and the large amounts of chemicals, water, and power that devices consume.
With their fast imaging speeds, high resolutions, long-term durability and compatibility with UV inks, SONORA plates are suitable for most offset printing environments. All of these advantages quickly became evident to Westamerica Communications.
“Because it bypasses traditional treatment, there is no water involved, so there is a tangible water saving, which is huge in California, where we have been in a severe drought situation.” said Doug Grant, President and CEO. “Anything we can do to save water is good – that’s a big plus. “
“There is definitely electricity savings,” he adds, “because it doesn’t go through a separate processor. It literally thrives on the press itself when hung.
As for SONORA’s print quality, Grant thinks the daily results speak for themselves. “The plate performs as well as a traditional plate in all respects, for at least 70% of our jobs,” he says. “It works down to the smallest detail. It holds the image well, it develops well on the press. It is obvious for us to use on the press. There are no limits to this.
The rationalized plate production with SONORA even made it possible to gain in efficiency in terms of personnel. “We frequently work a lot of overtime,” says Grant. “Part of that overtime is on weekends. In the past, we always had to have a prepress person on site during the draw to be there to help redo a plate if needed. Or sometimes we would literally make multiple sets of plates in case one plate deteriorated over the weekend.
But now, Grant continues, in the unlikely event of a plate remake, the simplicity of SONORA means that “all we have to do is give the press operator a keycode, and he can reimage his clean plate without any prepress person needing to be there This is a huge emergency benefit for us.
Optimizing everything that can be optimized has allowed Westamerica Communications to grow from its origins as a family-run fast print shop to its current status as one of the world’s most successful print and marketing service providers. all-rounders of Southern California. In 2014, Westamerica completed a 50/50 ownership merger with PSB Integrated Marketing, an agency Grant describes as “the star child of what a marketing solutions company really looked like.”
Since then, said DeBellis, the former president of PSB, “we’ve really been able to cross teams, so that we leverage the best of both organizations for every unique need our customers have.” The combined company provides commercial lithographic and digital printing, custom packaging, direct mail and online marketing, branding and strategy, as well as distribution and fulfillment services. Westamerica has also expanded into large and large format printing, which it sees as a particularly strong growth opportunity.
Kodak has been one of Westamerica’s primary technology partners for 14 years, according to Grant. In addition to SONORA, Kodak branded products on the equipment list include a Trendsetter thermal platesetter; a NEXPRESS SX3300 digital press with a 14 “x 26” sheet format and a fifth color station; the InSite prepress portal; and the PRINERGY workflow to tie it all together.
“We’ve found that they’re really on the cutting edge of technological change in what we’re doing here,” Grant says of the ongoing relationship with Kodak. “Their service and response time have been excellent in our market. They are very interested in making sure that we are a satisfied customer and that their product meets our requirements.
“We value the one-source mindset,” adds DeBellis. “We respect that and we think they respect us. There’s just this wonderful synergy and mutual commitment.
Westamerica counts on Kodak’s support as it prepares to evangelize the benefits of SONORA process-free plates. “As a responsible manufacturer who wants to compete in a very aggressive market, we know that we are going to be a more efficient and responsible supplier using them,” said DeBellis. “And, there are also these cost advantages.”
“It’s just a win-win solution to use the Kodak solution,” concludes DeBellis. “I see this as something that is going to be part of the conversation with our customer community and our market. We will tell this story to our customers.
The previous press release was provided by a company not affiliated with Printing of fingerprints. The views expressed do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of Printing of fingerprints.