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Thread: Choosing the right workflow

  1. #1
    Junior Member Siddharth is on a distinguished road
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    Choosing the right workflow

    We are a small company on the look out for a new workflow and we just wanted to float our option out for everyones suggestion.

    A bit about us

    who are we: we are not a big printing enterprise, rather a small one with 3 machines - Heidelberg SM 74 (2011), MOV (1990), SM 102 (1991).
    We have an inhouse CTP (screen Plateright 8300s), currently using HQ510PC and Impos 2000 server.
    We have major finishing in house (varnish, lamination, folding, perfect binding, centre stich, etc) and plan to move to UV and a few other things in the future as well.
    Our major work includes commercial jobs (POS, tattos and internal communications) and magazines (about 12 monthly and bi-monthly publications)

    Issue we are facing with our existing DIY workflow is that it is a little outdated, it doesnt accept most formats of PDF, colour checking is an issue, every job needs to be checked by our operators before we can rip them for RGB elements, pantone colours, text in 4 colour black, etc, which takes quite some time.
    We cannot share decent ferros with clients as the PDFs after imposition are pretty low in quality and our existing softwares do not support proofing to EPSON (quite an under utilization of our two EPSON printers).
    Also many clients ask for a digital proof / colour calibrated EPSON print before running the job and we have to go outside to get them, which is not only a cost issue, but we also run the risk of a mistake happening as there are two different files being used (one for digital or epson & one which we rip and impose for out plates)

    If you aren't bored already. Let me move forward.

    What are we looking from the new workflow
    1. Should be simple (we are in India, the operators aren't the kind who apply logical reasoning, they simply follow instructions and get the job done)
    2. Should have a preflight that checks PDFs before ripping them, we shouldnt have to check each PDF individually before ripping them
    3. Should be able to manage colour (change RGB to CMYK on its own, similarly PANTONE to CMYK or if possible also change 4 colour black to single colour black for specific jobs)
    4. Should have a good imposition software that can help us plan magazines easily and with flexibility (as in some forms can go on one machine while the other go on another machine (both offset machines))
    5. Should be able to process plates and generate proofs at the same time (our current system does not let us do that, hence many at times plate processing is stopped while the imposition software generates a PDF we need to send to the client)
    6. Should have a provision to output to not just our CTP, but also to our EPSON printers or a digital machine, which we might be keen to look into as a bundled purchase with the workflow software.
    7. a good post-purchase support. We shouldn't have to wait for a week before someone comes to trouble-shoot our problem. (the press wont work if the CTP doesn't)
    8. Shouldn't be too heavy on our relatively tiny pocket (we are a small shop afterall)

    If you've read it till here, i'm already grateful. Thanks. Look forward to you thoughts suggestions on this.

    Regards
    Siddharth

    p.s. i would also appreciate if you could give me pointers and things to look out for before i choose a workflow.

  2. #2
    PRC Member Kitaro will become famous soon enough
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    Hi,

    here in Europe there are already installed PDF-Workflows from Agfa, Kodak and Heidelberg in use. Heidelberg is almost most expensive, Agfa the cheapest and Kodak somewhere in the middle. These three are state-of-the-art and you can do with everyone of it a good job.

    In my opinion the architecture of a really PDF-Workflow is awesome. Everything in one system is the guarantee for best results, e.g. the same files are using for CtP and for Proofing. And many more.

    Time for some alternatives:
    It's possible to combine some components to an alternative. First of all you must be able to work with PDF-Files. Color-Management, Preflight and File-Converting is also possible with some standard tools, e.g. Pitstop-Server or Callas-PDF-Toolbox-Server. So you are able to create standardized PDF-Files from whatever you will receive. Imposition with Kodak Preps or Heidelberg SignaStation is without alternative. Output from Imposition-Software to standardized PDF, too. Proofing with EFI Colorproof e.g. and put the files into the CtP. These can be done with some ideas. It's quite good and not so expansive as the three big-players, but not so comfortable and you have many different supporters if anything goes wrong. But with such a "module-workflow" you are flexible to change something if needed.

    Best regards

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  4. #3
    PRC Member spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siddharth View Post
    We are a small company on the look out for a new workflow and we just wanted to float our option out for everyones suggestion.

    .....

    p.s. i would also appreciate if you could give me pointers and things to look out for before i choose a workflow.
    you forgot two important aspects:

    connectivity and long time support.

    even if this seems obsolete now you have to think about future improvements.

    it might become very important to connect your workflow to MIS or to press room to optimize handling of job information and increase productivity.

    and take into account how long the support for your chosen workflow might last.
    some software companies are nearly out of business and you wont get further development. so all your investment is lost if the support dies.

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  6. #4
    Junior Member Siddharth is on a distinguished road
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitaro View Post
    Hi,

    here in Europe there are already installed PDF-Workflows from Agfa, Kodak and Heidelberg in use. Heidelberg is almost most expensive, Agfa the cheapest and Kodak somewhere in the middle. These three are state-of-the-art and you can do with everyone of it a good job.

    Best regards
    Thanks Kitaro,
    Met with the guys from Kodak yesterday, they did give me a little intro to their Prinergy EVO workflow and their Prinergy Connect. EVO is the basic version, more like a no frills thing, while connect is pretty much the same thing as EVO but comes with an extra license (not for imposition though) and the ability to add more add-ons in the future. from what i read and what was explained to me, this all seems pretty cool, but i have a few reservations.
    1. Only one computer client can use the imposition software at a time.
    2. The workflow cannot directly output to my CTP and will have to retain the exsisting software to send 1 bit tiff to my CTP
    3. Cannot give direct output to my EPSON for a colour calibrated print, will require an additional software for that. Which i have a reservation, because then again there will be two files for the same job, and what if something isn't right on either one.
    4. Will require another colour matching software for digital, (if i do go in for that) for prints that match with offset or our EPSON. or even to have them remotely close.

    But yes, they are offering good after-sales, ability to transfer ink zone levels to machine directly (At quite a heafty price), and are decently price compared to the whoopingly expensive Heidelberg Prinect. Lets see how things go with Heidelberg Prinect, AGFA and Fuji XMF

    Will keep posting about the advancements as they happen.

    Look forward to more suggestion

    Regards
    Siddharth

  7. #5
    PRC Member spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siddharth View Post
    Thanks Kitaro,
    Met with the guys from Kodak yesterday, they did give me a little intro to their Prinergy EVO workflow and their Prinergy Connect. EVO is the basic version, more like a no frills thing, while connect is pretty much the same thing as EVO but comes with an extra license (not for imposition though) and the ability to add more add-ons in the future. from what i read and what was explained to me, this all seems pretty cool, but i have a few reservations.
    1. Only one computer client can use the imposition software at a time.
    2. The workflow cannot directly output to my CTP and will have to retain the exsisting software to send 1 bit tiff to my CTP
    3. Cannot give direct output to my EPSON for a colour calibrated print, will require an additional software for that. Which i have a reservation, because then again there will be two files for the same job, and what if something isn't right on either one.
    4. Will require another colour matching software for digital, (if i do go in for that) for prints that match with offset or our EPSON. or even to have them remotely close.

    But yes, they are offering good after-sales, ability to transfer ink zone levels to machine directly (At quite a heafty price), and are decently price compared to the whoopingly expensive Heidelberg Prinect. Lets see how things go with Heidelberg Prinect, AGFA and Fuji XMF

    Will keep posting about the advancements as they happen.

    Look forward to more suggestion

    Regards
    Siddharth
    Evo and connect are totally different products, not only an extra license option.
    Connect has its own job database which is quite essential for a large amount of jobs.
    imho prinergy can ouput to every common epson printer.
    number of max imposition clients is controlled by license.

    but be careful with kodak. read about their company history and their future plannings.
    some people say that the development of prinergy will stop and kodak software will die.

    we are using agfa now but want to switch to heidelberg since prinect has much more connectivity features which become more and more essential for our expanding job situation.

  8. #6
    PRC Member Kitaro will become famous soon enough
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    Hi there,

    spider's comments about Kodak are correct. But a future guaranty I can't see by Heidelberg, too. The company is not good in shape. Selling printingmachines is a hard job today. The Prepress-departments are now very small compared with some years ago. What are the consequences for search-and-development for Prepress-Software? For future the best chance has Fuji in my opinion. Not becausse of the PDF-Workflow (which I forgot in my listing) but because it's a good company with a diffenrent product-mix. But no one can say, what will happen in future.

    2. The workflow cannot directly output to my CTP and will have to retain the exsisting software to send 1 bit tiff to my CTP
    Yes of course. Otherwise you need a Kodak CTP. But if you want to use your existing CTP this is a possible way with 1 bit Tiff. It's a working solution to start. And perhaps it's a chance to spread the investment into two sections. First the software and after some time the new hardware as a new Kodak CTP?

    3. Cannot give direct output to my EPSON for a colour calibrated print, will require an additional software for that. Which i have a reservation, because then again there will be two files for the same job, and what if something isn't right on either one.
    I still remember, that it's not possible, to output directly to every Epson. There are some very old output-plans to print to an Epson-5000 but not for modern Epsons. So you must use some thirdparty-product like EFI-ColorProof-XF. In my opinion this is not such a big problem. To calibrate the Epson you need some tools anyway. Also why not EFI? I used this with two Epson 9900. Ripping CMYK-TIFFs with LZW-compression from Prinergy and put them into the EFI-Hotfolder over a Gigabit-network. Filesize is about 500 to 900 MB for a large-format 100x70 cm. So what with actual hardware? This is not the problem. In many years a havn't one problem since Prinergy Version 5 with Adobe PDF-Print-Engine.
    In Heidelberg-Workflow there is a hidden EFI-Engine behind the scenes. Heidelberg has licensed EFI-ColorProof-XF and integrated this into their output-settings.

    4. Will require another colour matching software for digital, (if i do go in for that) for prints that match with offset or our EPSON. or even to have them remotely close.
    I can't see here a problem. When you have refined PDFs in your workflow for offset it's a good base to go further for digital. In most cases it's possible to use the offset-PDFs direct for digital because the digitalpresses will be calibrated to work with such offset-PDFs. If not so, there are already the possibility to use ICC- and Device-Link-Profiles directly in the workflow to colormatch for different output-devices.

    I used Prinergy Connect for many years and in my opinion it's the smartest workflow. It's also the easiest for the operators. It's so simple with the three-tiled window. But it's possible to scale it with some modules as InSite and RBA to a very powerful solution. But now we are using Heidelberg Prinect because it's more integrated with the printingmachines of course and it's the only solution for a smart workflow for the whole company.

    Best regards

  9. #7
    Junior Member Siddharth is on a distinguished road
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    Update

    Hey,

    Had some guys over from Agfa yesterday with their server and demo workflow software.

    They gave us demo of the Apogee version 8, and version 2.6 for RIP

    Pros:
    1. Seemed pretty simple to use and quite logical (if i may say so). Which is a huge advantage, considering we don't have operators who are too well versed with computers and the kinds who will spend an extra ten minutes trying to experiment.

    2. Cheaper compared to others

    3. Has the ability to directly output to our EPSON printer for a colour calibrated print

    4. Comes with 5 licenses (though we need only 3)

    5. Comes equipped with the ability to transfer ink zone data to PPI interface (we still need to get that one for our machines)

    6. Has the ability to correct the 4 colour text to single colour black in the preflight (for text that is converted from RGB to CMYK)

    Cons:

    1. Doesn't work on JDF platform but on PPF (so cant connect to other machines, go for MIS integration, but still unsure how much of an issue it will be in the future)

    2. A newer version of the software (version 9 is expected to launch sometime this year, don't know what that would bring to the table)

    3. Not many printers around us are using this software, more are using Kodak prinergy or Printect

    4. Cannot connect my existing card to the new servers, hence will either need to buy a new card (which is somewhere about INR 3,00,000 = 5,000 USD), or will have to retain existing shooting station for CTP.

    5. Cannot connect to a digital setup directly on the existing build. will need to purchase an add on license which again is pretty expensive.

    Now all that's left to check is Prinect and XMF.

    Though Agfa Apogee is not being used by many people around us, and the technician will provide support over the phone or team viewer, they have joined hands with Technova (we have been an associate with them for over 20 years), so we do have an assurance of not being cheated and possibly can even put in a few special requests.
    Also since they provide us plates, chemicals, and a few other small things, they should be able to calibrate our machines without much of a fuss (generally they put the blame on someone else to avoid getting their hands dirty).

    Look forward to what you guys have to say.

    Regards
    Siddharth

  10. #8
    PRC Member spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all spider is a name known to all
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siddharth View Post
    Hey,

    Had some guys over from Agfa yesterday with their server and demo workflow software.

    They gave us demo of the Apogee version 8, and version 2.6 for RIP

    ...

    Look forward to what you guys have to say.

    Regards
    Siddharth
    nearly all your observations are correct.

    agfa has several packages (options) of apogee. if you buy apogee integrate you also have jdf connectors to all directions. imposition can also be done by jdf files in smaller packages (e.g. signastation to apogee).

    but as i said earlier we are using apogee for over 7 years now and i am not very happy. the support is getting more worse every year. new releases have a lot of bugs so you have to wait with the installation of new versions. if they say version 9 will come this year, you can be sure it wont be available before 2015.

    you are right that the everyday workflow is very straight forward. but if it comes to some tricky jobs with lots of spot colours it is a pain in the ass. trapping is done on pixel data, so it takes a lot of processing time and is hard to customize with visual feedback.

    the agfa imposition client only works on pc, if you have mac workstations you have to install some virtual pc!

    direct colour proofing is working, but not very well. if you want state of the art high end proofing you have to add gmg or efi. they give you much better results for delta E!

    connecting to a tiff shooter instead of direct platesetter card is no problem (we have kodak magnus with tiff interface, works really nice) but is an extra license to pay for!

    connecting directly to digital presses makes the workflow more complicated imho and makes not really sense. save this money! if you need to output apogee jobs to digital printers you may purchase the pdf export option (extra costs!).
    Last edited by spider; 03-29-2014 at 01:51 AM.

  11. #9
    Banned leila is on a distinguished road
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    Most other printers I know, beeing kinda your size, work with a Prinergy workflow.


    Quote Originally Posted by Siddharth View Post
    Had some guys over from Agfa yesterday with their server and demo workflow software.
    I don't know the Agfa workflows...

    ... but I worked 15 years with Agfa RIPs (hardware, Viper 1.9 and 3, Apogee 2) and when I discovered the possibilities of a simple Harlequin RIP I realized that these Agfa RIPs are low-end RIPs (not to say crappy pain-in-the-ass) compared to the HQ: bugged, hard to configure, some features cruelly missing or not working, PPDs are bugged, support is bad (even free technical updates are difficult to get!), etc. and I sweared in my mind that I will never ever ever buy another Agfa RIP!!!
    Last edited by leila; 03-29-2014 at 10:12 AM.

  12. #10
    Donor clamp is on a distinguished road
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    Hi,

    Look Fujifilm XMF. It answers your needs :

    1. It's simple in 3 step : you choose a predefined job according to you machine, you add you pdf file and you choose an imposition templates.
    2. It checks your pdf file with integrate pistop preflight. And you can apply pitstop scrpits if you want.
    3. It manages color with ICC profile "classic" or devicelink, convert with Adobe or Fujifilm motor.
    4. It integrates the fold catalogu imposition : F16-6, F16-7, F4-1... and it's easy to make a imposition. And when you make the imposition in your job for a machine you can change easy machine with a right clic on the mouse.
    5. In my compagny, in a standard job, It generates the tiff plates, a proof output to HP 5500 to verify the imposition and ripping, a PDF raster to send customer to validate and an another PDF raster to Efi with Epson 4900.
    6. It's not directy connect with the Epson to output certify color proof we have an EFI Fiery to mix and reduce waste paper. It's generate the imposition to our digital printers (xerox 700 and xerox 550).
    7. In France, the support reply in 4 hours hours maximum.
    8. It works with a dell server poweredge T610 in my compagny.

    I like Fujifilm XMF, it's a quick workflow. After installation, I set it during approximately 70 hours and now I make a job in 2 minutes (simple folders 4 page ou booklet 80 pages).
    In the the past I worked with Kodak Prinergy and Heidelberg Prinect, and I favor XMF for a small compagny.

    In my compagny, we have a CTP (screen 8900), 3 offset machines : Komori LS 540, KBA 105, Ryobi 520, 2 digital printing (Xerox 550 and 700), an HP 5500 and an Epson 4900 and it's works perfectly.

    For me the other advantage of Fuji XMF :
    - No bugs ripping - 0 during the last 3 years by dint of the adobe PDF engine v2
    - Regulary update
    - A small price, we not pay the buy of the sotware, we pay a little more expensive plates each month.
    - JDF connector and connect to compucut
    - Imposition integrate
    - Calibration easy


    Best regards


    Quote Originally Posted by Siddharth View Post
    We are a small company on the look out for a new workflow and we just wanted to float our option out for everyones suggestion.

    A bit about us

    who are we: we are not a big printing enterprise, rather a small one with 3 machines - Heidelberg SM 74 (2011), MOV (1990), SM 102 (1991).
    We have an inhouse CTP (screen Plateright 8300s), currently using HQ510PC and Impos 2000 server.
    We have major finishing in house (varnish, lamination, folding, perfect binding, centre stich, etc) and plan to move to UV and a few other things in the future as well.
    Our major work includes commercial jobs (POS, tattos and internal communications) and magazines (about 12 monthly and bi-monthly publications)

    Issue we are facing with our existing DIY workflow is that it is a little outdated, it doesnt accept most formats of PDF, colour checking is an issue, every job needs to be checked by our operators before we can rip them for RGB elements, pantone colours, text in 4 colour black, etc, which takes quite some time.
    We cannot share decent ferros with clients as the PDFs after imposition are pretty low in quality and our existing softwares do not support proofing to EPSON (quite an under utilization of our two EPSON printers).
    Also many clients ask for a digital proof / colour calibrated EPSON print before running the job and we have to go outside to get them, which is not only a cost issue, but we also run the risk of a mistake happening as there are two different files being used (one for digital or epson & one which we rip and impose for out plates)

    If you aren't bored already. Let me move forward.

    What are we looking from the new workflow
    1. Should be simple (we are in India, the operators aren't the kind who apply logical reasoning, they simply follow instructions and get the job done)
    2. Should have a preflight that checks PDFs before ripping them, we shouldnt have to check each PDF individually before ripping them
    3. Should be able to manage colour (change RGB to CMYK on its own, similarly PANTONE to CMYK or if possible also change 4 colour black to single colour black for specific jobs)
    4. Should have a good imposition software that can help us plan magazines easily and with flexibility (as in some forms can go on one machine while the other go on another machine (both offset machines))
    5. Should be able to process plates and generate proofs at the same time (our current system does not let us do that, hence many at times plate processing is stopped while the imposition software generates a PDF we need to send to the client)
    6. Should have a provision to output to not just our CTP, but also to our EPSON printers or a digital machine, which we might be keen to look into as a bundled purchase with the workflow software.
    7. a good post-purchase support. We shouldn't have to wait for a week before someone comes to trouble-shoot our problem. (the press wont work if the CTP doesn't)
    8. Shouldn't be too heavy on our relatively tiny pocket (we are a small shop afterall)

    If you've read it till here, i'm already grateful. Thanks. Look forward to you thoughts suggestions on this.

    Regards
    Siddharth

    p.s. i would also appreciate if you could give me pointers and things to look out for before i choose a workflow.

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