Standard Finishing
4Over

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Leave the Nest...To Software

Collapse
X
Collapse

  • Leave the Nest...To Software

    Leave the Nest...To Software

    By Richard Romano, Industry Analyst

    For many years, the wide-format graphics conversation centered predominantly on the printing equipment, and usually for good reason, as it is the most expensive and conspicuous part of the production process. Occasionally, finishing capabilities were added into the mix, but one piece of the production puzzle that routinely got short shrift was the front end, aka the RIP.

    Time was, a raster image processor (RIP) didn’t do much else than turn PostScript data into printable dots, but the trend today, especially in wide-format printing, is for RIPs to become control centers for the entire workflow. As a result, the front end is being called on to perform more tasks, Color management is the traditional advanced function of the front end, but it has become common for “RIPs” (if we even want to call them that anymore) to have plug-ins or modules that add features for specific end-use applications, like vehicle graphics or textile printing.

    It’s all about improving productivity and speed. The more tasks that can be automated in the front end, the faster the job moves through the workflow, the fewer human hands are needed, the fewer skilled human hands are needed, and the less likelihood for error.

    One important feature that is making its way into wide-format front ends is “nesting optimization.” That sounds like it’s for the birds, but nesting optimization is especially important when preparing wide-format output. Here’s why. Say you’re printing a number of images that are all destined for the same substrate. They can be multiple copies of the same image, or they can be different images; they could even be different jobs. Substrates used in wide-format printing can be expensive, so the goal is to squeeze–or gang, to use the traditional term–as many images on a page or board as possible, so you can use fewer boards. It’s basically a kind of imposition. Not only is this economical, but it’s also faster.

    The process of orienting all the images so as to fit as many as possible on a single board is called nesting optimization, and the way this has traditionally been done has been to manually move the images around in a program like Adobe Illustrator, then save a new production PDF that will be used for printing. As you can imagine, that can be laborious and time-consuming. Enter advanced shape nesting–and the new Nesting Optimization Engine for Ultimate TechnoGraphics’ Impostrip suite of automated imposition software.

    Nesting optimization tools are appearing in more and more front ends, but many still require some level of human intervention to develop different “nesting plans” and manually tweak nested images. Square or rectangular shapes are pretty straightforward to orient on a sheet or board, but circles, ovals, triangles, and irregular shapes like fish or guitars–or birds–present more problems for optimal nesting. So the goal of the Nesting Optimization Engine is to automatically generate “smart nests” (I guess you’d call them) without that manual intervention.

    Impostrip’s Nesting Optimization Engine connects to the production workflow and when it receives print files, it analyzes them, automatically places regular and irregular shapes in the most optimal way, then generates print-ready PDF files. The analysis can also take into account cutting requirements. For example, shapes that will be contour cut can be nested differently and perhaps even more optimally than those that will be “square” cut. Think about triangles. If a bunch of triangular images are going to be contour cut, they can be nested more closely than if they’re going to be cut out using a basic x-y cutter that can only move in two directions.

    The print file may also need to include logistical information like printers’ marks, barcodes, registration points to guide the cutter, and more. Part of the imposition process is placing these marks on the substrate in an optimal way, as well.

    The Impostrip Nesting Optimization Engine is available as an add-on module to Impostrip Automation and Impostrip Scalable. Impostrip, by the way, launched in 1989, was the first electronic imposition solution, and over the past 27 years has had even more features and functionality incorporated into it–becoming a key component of those versatile front ends that are more and more essential for maximizing a shop’s productivity. The Nesting Optimization Engine is Ultimate’s first product targeted toward the dynamic and fast-growing wide-format and specialty graphics printing market.

    “Nesting Optimization is about automatically laying out files which may have different shapes and sizes such as labels, displays or boxes and preparing press-ready files on-the-fly, allowing print service providers to produce more, better and faster,” said Julie Watson, Executive Vice-President at Ultimate TechnoGraphics. “Impostrip can be integrated into a new or an existing workflow providing the flexibility to run as a black box in full automation mode.”

    The Impostrip Nesting Optimization Engine is being officially launched at Drupa. More information an be found at www.imposition.com.


    • David Milisock
      #1
      David Milisock commented
      Editing a comment
      Did you recently write this?

    • prwhite
      #2
      prwhite commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes, Richard Romano just wrote this.
    Posting comments is disabled.

Categories

Collapse

Latest Articles

Collapse

  • Short-Run Rotary Die-Cutting: More Value and More Margin
    MyWildIrishProse
    By Richard Romano, Industry Analyst

    Printing today is about more than ink on paper. In fact, even saying “ink on paper” is an anachronism, given the bewildering variety of substrates that today’s equipment can print on. Today’s print customers are increasingly looking for ways for what they produce to stand out from other printed items, either in customers’ mailboxes, on store shelves, or any other environment where printed materials are jostling for attention. To that end,...
    08-31-2017, 07:14 AM
  • Automated Cross Platform Color Management is Now a Thing
    MyWildIrishProse
    "What do you want the job to look like, where is it going and what are the rules for mapping out of gamut colors?"

    Sean O’Leary
    Chief Technology Officer | Print Planet

    I was recently involved in producing case studies documenting a half dozen large commercial printers’ installations of high speed production inkjet printers. The featured inkjet models were built by Xerox, Fuji, Ricoh, HP, Konica-Minolta and other major manufacturers and they had been installed...
    08-24-2017, 10:28 AM
  • Noodling with Job Planning and Imposition Software
    MyWildIrishProse
    By Richard Romano, Industry Analyst

    I once bought a pasta maker. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I mean, I like pasta (it’s part of the heritage, after all!), and fresh, restaurant-quality pasta is one of life’s great delights. However, since I do not actually run a restaurant, the pasta maker ended up being more trouble than it was worth. From all the prep work it takes to make the dough to put into the thing, to the elaborate clean-up required, it turned out that just...
    08-16-2017, 08:11 PM
  • All Wrapped Up
    noelward
    By Noel Ward, Editor @Large

    Back in the “long strange trip it’s been” days of the Seventies I was riding right seat in a west-bound 18-wheeler, talking with the driver about roads, distances and his life as a trucker. He pointed to a truck streaming east, running well above the speed limit.

    “There. Monfort of Colorado. Fastest trucks on the road.”

    And they were. You could tell the always-immaculate Monfort fleet by the orange and white paint jobs...
    07-20-2017, 09:31 AM
  • Universal Punch: Not as Grand as the Grand Unified Theory, but Far More Productive
    MyWildIrishProse
    Ingenious Universal Hole Punch Pattern is Compatible With Most Binding Methods

    By Sean O'Leary, Chief Technology Officer



    For 50 years, particle physicists have struggled to develop what is known as the Grand Unified Theory. This elusive formula would mathematically link together the four major forces of the universe – gravity, strong nuclear, weak nuclear and the electromagnetic spectrum. But despite some sporadic progress over the years – some of which...
    07-20-2017, 09:19 AM
  • Speeding the Shift to Inkjet from Offset
    noelward
    By Noel Ward

    The machine is deep blue, maybe 30 feet long, 10 feet high and deep. The owner calls it a variable offset press. It resides in a climate-controlled room, just outside of which an 8-color Speedmaster churns out work at 18,000 sheets per hour. The big blue inkjet press may be far slower, but it is actively taking work from the company’s two offset presses and a pair of full-color toner presses. The CTO of the operation says there is no reason to ever buy another offset...
    07-07-2017, 11:27 AM
Working...
X