It has been a while since our last interaction. I hope you’re doing well. Recently, I had the opportunity to embark on a two-week journey attending numerous conferences, and I must say that the knowledge and exposure I gained was truly remarkable. Amidst the plethora of conferences, new technologies, and emerging trends across various industries, one common theme caught my attention: automation. However, let me clarify that I am not referring to robots or artificial intelligence. Instead, I’d like to focus on the significant role automation plays in the print industry.
In the print industry, automation finds expression through RIP (Raster Image Processor) and Imposition software, such as Onyx and Firey, which form the bedrock of streamlined processes. The ability to effortlessly transform a file into a print-ready format, complete with finishing capabilities, within a matter of seconds is nothing short of astonishing. For instance, when I mention imposition, I am referring to the process of fitting two 8.5×11 posters onto a single 11×17 sheet, just as one would do with business cards, tickets, posters, and other materials. The more efficiently we can utilize media resources, the better. Imagine the convenience of importing a single 3.5 x 2 business card into software and instantly generating a 24-up business card sheet on a 12 x 18 page, complete with distinct registration marks tailored for each finishing machine (such as foiling, laminating, cutting, creasing, and perforating). Truly, it is an incredible feat.
Quick sets are an invaluable asset when it comes to automating recurring jobs. In print production shops, it is common for certain jobs to be reordered on a biweekly, monthly, or daily basis. By automating the quantity, finishing/crop marks, and color management for a specific substrate, quick sets enable seamless and efficient setup. When a company places an order for, say, 200 banners and provides a single file, all production needs to do is select the appropriate quick set and drop the file when the job arrives. Gone are the days of headaches caused by recurring jobs, as the process has already been perfected for you.
Moreover, thanks to these software solutions, production teams can set up a file for printing within a matter of minutes, eliminating the need for prepress to add marks or make adjustments. The automation of job setup significantly reduces the tedious back-and-forth between prepress and production, allowing edits and impositions to be done on the fly.
Printer Driver Softwares
It’s worth noting that some print engines come equipped with their own imposition software. For instance, Xante digital presses include Xante iQueue, a competent imposition software that may offer fewer features compared to larger solutions like Fiery or Onyx. Nonetheless, it covers the essentials such as color management, imposition, and on-the-fly editing, providing precisely what is needed for that particular print driver.
I strongly encourage you to explore the world of automation software. It has the potential to revolutionize production timelines and grant you greater control over your workload. Witnessing demonstrations where operators effortlessly manipulate files they have never encountered before, preparing them for printing and finishing on any machine, is truly a game-changing experience. Having spent considerable time in the industry, I have personally grappled with the arduous task of manual imposition, striving to achieve precise registration marks for each machine, all while shuttling between native files and printer drivers.
At AGS, we are dedicated to offering solutions for your success. If you’re eager to delve deeper into automation, I have good news for you. AGS’ Open House: Game Changing Automation is just around the corner, scheduled for October 4-5. This event is what you’ve been waiting for, and I encourage you to contact us for more information.