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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“As companies begin to understand Switch’s capabilities, they can use a variety of free, posted Switch flows; or easily customize their own new automation flows; no what type of file needs to be processed, or what software needs to be integrated,” says Cloots. Switch modules include those for configurators and databases; in these cases enabling automation and integration of third-party applications in the graphic arts industry, as well as MIS, DAM, and Web-to-Print.
Across Multiple Platforms
For graphic services professionals able to move beyond print, and tap into their customers’ need to manage content across multiple platforms, the challenge is assuring delivery to the right platform, at the right time, to the right stakeholders.
Managing these projects consists of more than just approving workflows. Dalim Software’s ES 3 combines pre-media and prepress workflow tasks—like color accurate soft proofing—with the business logic of project planning, including milestones and sophisticated approval processes, explains Graham Blanks, COO. Users can plan, execute and control any aspect of media production. Partners are automatically involved at appropriate production stages, including reviews and approvals, helping eliminate errors.
HP and its partners offer a portfolio of production workflow tools and solutions across multiple platforms, reports Harel Ifhar, HP Worldwide Marketing Director, Scitex Industrial Presses. HP SmartStream Workflow Portfolio provides a complete set of workflow tools to help customers improve efficiency and generate maximum productivity from job creation to fulfillment.
HP’s partner workflow solutions include HP SmartStream Designer, for versioned campaigns and variable data printing across a range of wide-format applications; HP Hiflex Web-to-print Solution, which directly links print buyers to the production floor, making it easy to customize marketing print campaigns according to the client’s brand identity and local marketing strategies; Esko ArtiosCAD and Studio software applications that improve the design of 2D and 3D graphics files to increase prepress productivity; GMG ColorServer Suite for Scitex Presses, which optimizes color results for consistent, high-quality color prints; Esko i-cut Suite, an end-to-end workflow solution that removes pain points from the large-format printing process; Caldera GrandRIP+, a suite of production-oriented print and print-to cut workflow solutions for color management, imaging, and driving; and ONYX’s ProductionHouse HP Edition version RIP, for simplifying everyday printing tasks and providing greater control over the entire workflow.
In the proofing arena, there has been a trend towards using GRACol as the default in the prepress department, says Dawn Nye, Product Marketing Manager, Production Print, Konica Minolta. Delivering the proof on the same digital presses that will run the final print job is becoming more and more common, as is using color matching standards as determined by such means as GRACol. Using a controlled system and color matching tools can save a tremendous amount of time for the prepress department, as well as ensure consistent quality and drastically reduced waste.
Plates On or Offline
Presstek’s path to prepress efficiency spans out from two starting points: chemistry-free, CTP solutions for print shops using conventional offset presses, and digital offset (DI) presses that eliminate the need for offline plate production.
Both scenarios share a similar vision: ““Presstek is dedicated to making offset printing as easy, efficient and cost-effective as possible,” reports Brian Wolfenden, Presstek director of marketing communications. “We believe less is better: Less time required to do more work, less chemistry, less waste, less environmental impact….”
Presstek CTP solutions remove the variability, excessive cost and hazardous chemicals associated with chemistry-based platemaking processes, says Wolfenden. “With our Compass or Dimension Series families of highly automated CTP solutions, we bring push-button simplicity to platemaking, consistently delivering high quality plates that ensure more productivity in both prepress and the pressroom,” he says.
Presstek’s DI presses image chemistry-free plates on press in precise register, going from digital file to sellable color in as little as six minutes says Wolfenden. The line of highly automated digital offset presses, which use waterless printing technology, include the Presstek 34DI and 52DI, which have a small environmental and physical footprint, and the 75DI, which carries that same small environmental footprint to a 4- to 10-color tower press.