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Issue we are facing with our existing DIY workflow is that it is a little outdated, it doesnt accept most formats of PDF, colour checking is an issue, every job needs to be checked by our operators before we can rip them for RGB elements,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.
p.s. i would also appreciate if you could give me pointers and things to look out for before i choose a workflow.