Way back when, prepress was a simple affair—if not in practice at least in the understanding of what needed to get done. There was one media platform—print—and the prepress department produced the plates and generated hard-copy proofs, and everyone knew what they had to do, and it more or...
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Way back when, prepress was a simple affair—if not in practice at least in the understanding of what needed to get done. There was one media platform—print—and the prepress department produced the plates and generated hard-copy proofs, and everyone knew what they had to do, and it more or less got done.
Today, prepress still involves platemaking and making proofs, but it could also mean a host of other things—digital asset management, for instance. Prepress is sometimes referred to as pre-media, because graphic professionals can no longer assume that the final product is print.
No matter what the final product or platform, some requirements hold steady: prepress requires tools and technology that generate maximum productivity and consistent quality, while reducing errors and assuring minimal waste.
“As the market becomes more competitive and the push is for lower prices, the firms that will survive are those who understand that additional investment in technologies are important to their success,” says Bill Owens, Xitron’s marketing director for the Software & Interface Group. “Technology can help boost productivity thus reducing costs and increasing profits.”
“Replacing outdated standalone RIPs with an affordable workflow that can reduce common errors and increase productivity is the first step to modernizing the prepress department,” reports Owens. Xitron’s Navigator Workflow Server is a low-cost, modular system that allows printers to start with a basic system and add features and capabilities as needs expand. Navigator Workflow solutions drive any of the several hundred output devices supported by Xitron, including traditional and inkjet CtP, direct imaging presses, production printers, inkjet proofers, and even older film imagers.
Fewer Touchpoints Key
The less manual intervention in the prepress process, the less chance that errors can impact quality of work and inefficiencies in the pressroom,” states Larry Moore, Director Software Services, Esko North America. “One of the most effective ways to affect a profitable impact is by implementing rules-based automation.”
Adds Moore, “Automation removes errors by allowing operators to preset repetitive tasks and build automated decisions within the workflow. When operator interaction is required to ensure quality, comprehensive checkpoints in workflows can be built. In addition, interfaces between order administrative systems (MIS or ERP) and prepress production further reduce manual interaction.”
Esko’s Automation Engine uses database driven job management to drive any sized prepress production operation. Customer information and job details can be extracted from the database; even metadata like ink coverage and barcode specifications can be added.
Automation Engine offers seamless integration with any existing infrastructure, explains Moore, accepting a variety of desktop publishing formats, supporting RIPs or file servers, and all industry standards such as PDF, XML, XMP, SQL queries and JDF/JMF communication.
AE’s optional viewer module lets operators and customer service representatives check separations, trim and media sizes, compare differences between design files and production files, or check if all corrections have been applied.
Enfocus Switch automation uses built-in intelligence to optimize and make connections between both existing and new systems, says Elli Cloots, Director of Product Management, Enfocus. The Switch Core engine streamlines the repetitive, often manual tasks associated with receiving and sorting files. It can receive files in any way, from one or more FTP servers, email attachments, or via hot folders. It then sorts files into appropriate folders and/or transmits them to the appropriate destination, so that each is ready for processing or archiving.
Customers can also customize Switch to automatically send status or action-needed notification alerts to anyone, such as customer service representatives or clients.