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PRINT 01: Prepress trends

Aug 13, 2001 12:00 AM


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Printers and converters will see an array of prepress advancements, from proofing and preflighting to color management, at Print 01, Sept. 6-13, at McCormick Place (Chicago).

Inkjet dot proofing
For the first time, Epson’s (booth 6455) StylusPro 5500, a replacement for the StylusPro 5000, offers the ability to see dots in a final press proof using drop-on-demand inkjet technology. "Until now, the only color proofing systems that showed the actual dot were very-expensive, $200,000 proofing systems," says Mark Radogna, senior product manager for professional graphics printers. "At Print, we will show a true 2880-dpi inkjet printer, with a true dot-for-dot match."

The StylusPro 5500 will use Epson’s new ink technology, Epson Archival, which according to Radogna offers exceptional short-run life stability that has a delta of error of zero in the first 24 hours. "This allows you to make judgements immediately, without the color having to dry down," he says. "There are no short- and long-term ink stability problems."

Epson Archival ink also has a wide color gamut that is at least the same as that of offset presses.

Stylus Pro 10000, Epson’s latest wide-format inkjet printer technology, also uses Epson Archival inks. Capable of printing any media up to 44 inches wide, even cardboard, potential applications include outdoor and indoor signage and fine-art reproduction.

Managing color better
In the past year, the graphic arts industry has made significant progress in color technologies, including supporting the communication of color information via the Internet, as well as new automated methods for color measurement.

Among recent innovations is X-Rite’s (booth 6055) ColorMail, a technology and file format that reportedly enables easy, instantaneous and accurate color data transfer via e-mail.

"Color consistency is a daunting problem for many manufacturers because it involves so many variables," says Iain Trevor Pike, worldwide product marketing manager, printing & imaging businesses, X-Rite. "Different materials, manufacturing locations, vendors and processes are but a few of the variables to be considered when adopting a comprehensive color-control program."

ColorMail provides the ability to share color, color tolerance and ink formulation data; and speeds the accurate exchange of color information. It also minimizes the need to collaborate with physical samples, especially during initial review and approval cycles.

X-Rite will also show its Spectrofiler2, a color tool that, for the first time, enables "on-the-fly" characterization of a print process from a miniaturized test image. With Spectrofiler2, X-Rite is the first to offer a solution enabling color-management feedback from any press run that can accommodate a color bar.

Polyester comes of age
At Print 01, Glunz & Jensen (booth 5674) will show its latest CTP plate processors, as well as its newest version of film processors and online film processing systems. Additionally, it will unveil its new digital input solutions product line, consisting of its new high-resolution Imacon FlexTight scanners, FlexFrame digital camera back, and the latest version of its ColorFlex software package for the scanners and camera back. Imacon products are largely targeted to professional photographers and studios, prepress houses, and desktop publishing applications.

Glunz & Jensen’s key products for the future are the InterPlater 85 and 135HD series plate processors for CTP thermal, photopolymer and silver diffusion applications, as well as conventional plates. The InterPlater HD series utilizes a modular design that is said to allow for easier service and maintenance as compared to more traditional plate processors. For small to midsize commercial printers, the InterPlater 66 & 88 can handle most conventional printing plates on the market.

While Glunz & Jensen sees adoption of metal CTP mainly in the midsize to large commercial printers, it does see smaller commercial and quick printers adopting polyester plate solutions for short-run work. "Polyester is an easy and affordable way for a small printer to get into CTP. Improvements in plate technology, imagesetters and presses allow customers to achieve high-quality results," says Michael Bugge, director of film and plate systems sales. "Polyester plates are typically used for high-quality spot-color applications and short-run four-color work."

Glunz & Jensen's newest product for computer-to-polyester plate applications is the MultiLink 15 online processing system, designed to work with the new Heidelberg Quicksetter 46 imagesetter and Heidelberg's QM 46 press. Polyester plates imaged on the Quicksetter 46 and processed in the MultiLink 15 online processor have typical press run lengths range from 500 to 10,000 impressions with averages of 3,000 to 4,000 impressions. Glunz & Jensen also produces the DevoTec 20 and MultiLine Pro 21, 28 and 34 film processors, with special adaptation kits for polyester applications.

CTP workflow with polyester
Mitsubishi Imaging (booth 6423) will also highlight the quality and efficiencies of polyester plates with its Silver DigiPlate polyester platesetting materials and equipment. It will demonstrate a complete CTP workflow, including color management and proofing, all the way through the press.

As part of this workflow, Mitsubishi Imaging will showcase its Color QC Color Management System, Mitsubishi Ink Jet Proofing papers and the DPX Platesetting System by Purup-Eskofot.

The DPX System is a two-up, internal-drum device designed for the quality four-color market. Mitsubishi will also exhibit its line of small offset platesetting systems from Purup-Eskofot: the DotMate 7500/6500, DPX 5080 and DPX Genesis, each of which provides an affordable CTP solution for a different application. Mitsubishi Imaging will also show its SDP-Eco1630II Platesetter, a high-output capstan device featuring an ecologically friendly processor. Instead of a typical bath-type processor, it uses a spray application that reduces chemical usage and waste up to two-thirds.

The company will also introduce a new line of Silver DigiPlate violet-sensitive CTP plates in both polyester and aluminum substrates. The new Alpha Violet aluminum plate is rated for 200,000 impressions. "Violet lasers and plates are the hot topic right now," says Jeff Troll, director of marketing for Mitsubishi Imaging. "Even though violet products were shown at Drupa, the North American market is waiting for Print 01 to see who’s got a violet solution."

Mitsubishi Imaging will share a booth with Western Lithotech, a Mitsubishi Chemical Company. Western Lithotech will show a CreoScitex TrendSetter with Spectrum Option (allowing the printer to image Imation Laser MatchPrint for halftone dot color proofing) and Purup Image Maker 1064nm thermal platesetter, both of which will run live. The DS PTR8000 830nm thermal platesetter will also be featured.

End-to-end job tracking
But what is automated workflow without e-commerce? Avanti Computer Systems (booth 8734) will showcase two software solutions for job costing and job tracking, production, and management that it says go far beyond anything else currently available today.

The Electronic Accounting & Scheduling Interface (EASI) is an enterprise-wide software solution giving printers tight control over their production printing resources when printing with DocuTech or DocuPrint products. EASI improves job costing by providing the printer with an estimate of the run time of each job. Time available can be generated to show when, or if, a job can be slotted. RIP time, online finishing and paper costs are fully automated with the printer’s own cost factors.

"Many print shops don’t know what the true cost of a job is," says Mark Fuentes, marketing coordinator for Avanti. "With EASI, they can accurately cost their jobs down to the click."

Avanti will also highlight its new front-to-back e-commerce solution, Avant-E, allowing customers to submit jobs online and track them through production and bindery. Avanti calls this process "clicking and invoicing."

"Customers choose the style of job and paper, and then click, click, click in a user-friendly in Windows environment to create the job online," says Fuentes. "When the job is submitted, they get confirmation in real time with a job number, allowing them to track jobs through the entire production process. They will know if the job is in preflight, on press, in the bindery, and when it is estimated to arrive at each step."

Noosh (booth 6930) is planning to show the latest versions of its Noosh.com solution, with greater functionality for printers and buyers. Ned Gibbons, director of sales development, says that attendees can expect to see a brand-new solution from Noosh at Print.

Although he would not go into detail, Gibbons says the company is planning the move into full integration, delivering a more complete value-added solution from end to end. "We are moving toward a product lifecycle approach," he says. Though jobs will not be tracked through the individual stages of production, it will nevertheless be tracked from design to production, the bindery, the warehouse and even the company shipping the product.

Online proofing and PDF
Online proofing technology has evolved rapidly in the past several years, and among the players demonstrating this technology at Print will be RealTimeImage Inc. (booth 6150), with its RealTimeProof, a suite of Web-based, collaborative proofing solutions for remote soft and hard proofing. RealTimeProof enables workflow partners to collaborate on original, full-resolution production files in real time.

All products and services in the RealTimeProof line are based on RealTimeImage’s image-streaming technology, Pixels-On-Demand, which allows GBs of high-resolution files to be viewed in seconds, even over a dial-up connection. Using only a Web browser and a free, downloadable plug-in, users can proof their original files from anywhere, anytime.

"We see online proofing as a burgeoning growth segment and predict that it won't be long before everyone is using it," says Yehuda Messinger, vice president of marketing for the graphic arts division of RealTime Image. "Users like Saatchi & Saatchi NY, Blanks Color Graphics, Sandy Alexander, Rammgraph Prepress House and Shumann Printing are testifying that they consider online proofing to be a real and valid solution."

No discussion of workflow, however, is complete without talking about Adobe’s PDF. As PDF becomes a widely accepted production format, the issue of accountability for PDF document changes is of increasing and major concern for document creators and producers.

At Print, Enfocus Software will showcase its Certified PDF Workflow, which begins with Enfocus Certify PDF, an Acrobat plug-in for certifying PDF documents within PDF workflows. With Certify PDF, Enfocus provides the first method to guarantee that a PDF file has been successfully preflighted with a specific preflight profile, and to identify, track and easily view all edit sessions and document modifications.

To register for Print 01, visit www.print01.com or contact the Graphic Arts Show Co. (GASC) at (703) 264-7200.