Conceptualized in meetings with several flexo CTP vendors at last year’s Labelexpo in Brussels, the package was developed, tested, and sent to beta accounts around the world in the span of nine months. “We had a very specific list of requirements with which to work,” said Karen Crews, president of Xitron. “Besides our meetings with Flexo CTP manufacturers, we also worked with distributors and dealers before building the product roadmap. This gave us a short list of ‘must-have’s’ in terms of functionality. All of our CTP partners wanted a competitive price point, productivity beyond existing systems on the market, and the option of high fidelity screening for applications that require it,” she continued.
Navigator Flexo Suite starts with the ubiquitous Navigator RIP platform, of which more than 35,000 have been sold in commercial, in-plant, digital, screen printing, inkjet, and flexo markets around the world. Notably, Navigator Flexo Suite makes its debut being PDF 2.0 compliant right out of the box, as Xitron began shipping Navigator 12 on September 24th.
It’s coupled with the Client-Server properties of the Navigator workflow, which gives all prepress operators and artists independent submission, modification, pixel-level preview, and throughput control of jobs from their own workstations. This allows them to work independently and without interruption from anywhere on the network. Finally, all the color separated job plates are collected by Navigator Plate Controller, which helps the operator assemble the final flexo plate for output with as little material waste as possible.
The optional high-fidelity screening engine gives users the ability to specify FM to AM crossover points between highlights/shadows and mid-tones while also letting them determine minimum dot size through nine levels of sustainable “smart dots.” Users are able to customize the screening based on platesetter exposure accuracy and the print results of each individual press. Those customized setups are retained as screening templates for repeated use.
“From day one, our goal was to develop a product that could hit the market at a price point under $15,000 to stay in line with the decreasing cost of flexo CTP engines,” said Crews. “It was an intense development and testing cycle, but we brought it to the finish line without compromising the original requirements list.”
From the end user’s perspective, one thing that rated high on the list was annual maintenance costs; something they see as out of control in software and not always accounted for when considering a purchase. “We addressed the maintenance issue head on,” said Crews. Annual support for Navigator Flexo Suite is an affordable $1,495 per year, and that includes minor upgrades.”