The answer is as simple as it is complex:
With the right framework, the right workflow management system, and the right set of tools, every print workflow can be automated...
Let’s take a closer look at your production process: First, your customer places an order via your web shop, by e-mail, or by phone. A job ticket with the corresponding job parameters and order information is created: Which product needs to be printed? What is the quantity, what is the format? The configuration of the print product determines the parameters in the job ticket: such as format, bleed, color, the printing deadline and much more...
Workflow Management System
Via the connection to your web shop, your MIS, or your advertising and editorial system, the job tickets are transferred to the workflow management system called “Workspace”. The job ticket shows a path that Workspace uses to download the print files. They can be on an FTP server, a web server, a defined e-mail account or hotfolder. Once Workspace has downloaded the files, it begins to check and process the files.
Workspace now assigns your files to corresponding assembly lines. An assembly line is made up of various modules and defines the way files are going to be worked on automatically. Assembly lines vary from company to company and from product to product, but they have one thing in common. They ensure that the print files are prepared automatically and can be printed without problems. The assembly lines are easily set up intuitively via drag & drop in Workspace. Once an assembly line has been defined, an unlimited number of files can be processed without any additional effort. To assign job orders to the correct assembly lines, Workspace uses the parameters in the job ticket.
Automated filecheck, error identification and correction
At the beginning of an assembly line the print file is processed in the preflight module. This module automatically checks files for up to 130 different criteria. Among them: Is the format and bleed correct? Are the colors defined correctly and provided with the correct output intent? Is the resolution of images sufficient for high-quality printing? Are all used fonts embedded? Are there hairlines? Are all transparencies flattened? Do the numbers of vector points in graphics make the file too complex to print? Does certain content elements or pages need to be split according to color? ...
If errors in the print files are identified, appropriate tools are in place and used to fix them: If, for example, your customer forgets to add bleed, the file is routed to a module which automatically extends the bleed according to the job ticket specifications. The same process can apply to a vector file that is too complex. It is routed to a module that automatically converts the page with the complex vector graphic to an image, which makes processing much faster. The format can also be adjusted. Pages can be divided into black/white and 4-color and can be processed accordingly. Transparencies are flattened. The prepared files are then normalized including adjustments to select the correct color profile for the printing machines that the files are to be printed on.
Once the print files have been checked, fixed, and prepared for printing, they are ready for production planning and preparation: How are files that exceed a certain format best “tiled”, split and printed, in order to be merged afterwards? How can different print jobs be combined to a single print run? How are the elements arranged on the substrate in a space-saving, efficient and therefore waste-saving manner? Which imposition scheme should ideally be used?
Preparation for finishing and embellishment
For that we come back to the tools integrated into Workspace. Nesting, Tiling/Paneling, AutoImpose and other technologies automatically take over this step and process the files accordingly. The file can, for example, be nested or imposed automatically. Multi-customer orders can also be combined to a print run and assigned to specific customers or orders via barcodes.
The software outputs the cut line information to your finishing systems or creates varnish masks for the finishing process. 100 percent automation is possible, but you can of course add checkpoints for visual inspection at almost any point.
Shorter RIP times, increased machine utilization, more throughput
No matter which print product has been ordered or what file you have received from your customer, the software ensures that your files are prepared for a smooth production process; automated and tailored to your needs – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This process shortens RIP times and increases your machine utilization and throughput. You meet every deadline – with consistently high print quality.
OneVision's Automation Suites
The software solution that caters to the full spectrum of prepress and workflow automation and offers a high level of flexibility at the same time, are the OneVision Automation Suites. Each suite is based on four core components: Integration with the web shop or MIS and RIP, a flexible workflow management system, a comprehensive prepress automation package and tailored tools for production planning and finishing based upon the following printing segments: wide format, commercial, book, and label.
This is how individual prepress and workflow automation works.