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Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

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  • Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

    I am a graphic communications specialist for a medium sized printing and media company and was hoping for some advice/opinions on what workflow would be appropriate for our prepress department.
    I have used Compose Express RIP with a small (less than $1 million/yr) printing company and Rampage five-station workflow at a large ($10 million/yr) printing company (I really know and liked Rampage). I now work for a medium ($5-6 million/yr) printing company that has an ancient Brisque system. While reliable, it has proved to be the bottleneck of the company, especially with Adobe transparency issues. I will give some information about our company, and perhaps you can give some guidance on what workflow we will update to.

    2 Mac G5 workstations
    1 iMac Intel workstation
    2 Mac G4 workstations (scanning, dirty work only)
    2 PCs (who cares what they are, they are PCs) used for the Best RIP for the Epson 9800
    Epson 9800 (color proofing/matchprint)
    HP TechSage Spinjet (imposition proofing)
    Gretag Macbeth i1 system for color management
    Brisque (ancient) RIP

    *Digital Pressroom*
    HP Indigo ws4050 (roll-fed or web)
    HP Indigo 5000 (sheetfed)

    *Conventional Pressroom*
    MAN Rolland 25'' 6 color
    Ryobi 2 color
    Itek 1 color

    If any other information would be helpful in making a recommendation, please let me know in a reply.
    If, along with your recommendation, you can supply an estimate of cost (with or without training), that would be helpful also.
    *Sad to say, we will probably go with a cheaper solution, even if it is not the absolute best for us.*
    Thanks in advance.

    Edited by: Vincent on Dec 28, 2007 4:20 PM

  • #2
    Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

    I run a medium sized Pre-Press in a commercial shop using a Rampage workflow, and it works fine for me. If you have used it in the past why not give them a call and check what they have for you.

    Their pricing used to be based on the size of your output, so if the 25" press is your largest you will pay less for the license than someone who has a larger final output. Also remember Rampage has no seat licenses, any computer in your company can have the Client installed for no extra cost. Rampage also releases frequent updates in response to changes in the industry and customer requests. Their customer service and tech support are great; you call them and they almost always put you immediately through to an actual person in the office at Rampage, not someone in a call center in India.

    I drive an Epson 10600, and Fuji Luxel V6 CTP with this setup and have had great success and very few problems.

    I hesitate to give you an estimate of cost because I have no idea what their prices are right now, but I do know that they are very competitive (I chose them for my shop). Your bolding of the line "Sad to say...." leads me to believe cost is your primary criteria for a new system. Rampage will not only be competitive pricewise for initial purchase, it has no hidden costs. You may even be able to repurpose some of your existing PCs to be used as shooters (similar to how you are driving your Epson with a PC now).
    Hope this helps. If you have any other questions let me know.


    Edited by: Mike Bishop on Dec 28, 2007 6:26 PM


    • #3
      Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

      Have a agfa guy come demo Apogee X, its a good rip. Few bugs here and there, but all in all a good RIP.


      • #4
        Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

        My recommendation for a new workflow is Odystar 3.0 from Artwork Systems (EskoArtwork), it is a PDF native workflow and it support PDF transparency ahead of Adobe Print Engine. Reasonable pricing and very good training and support. And best of all, it run Intel Mac natively! So, you can have maximum memory (16GB) and maximum number of cores for CPU (8-cores)!

        Call them for a demo and you can compare with others workflow before you make any decision!


        • #5
          Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

          Uncle Sam,

          Odystar uses the Adobe PDF Print Engine?



          • #6
            Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company


            No, Odystar use their own PDF engine to support transparency, that's why AWS was 1 year ahead of everyone else to support PDF transparency while other RIPs were waiting Adobe to come up with some solution for Printer to support all the fancy transparency function since CS1.

            Same thing with Neo from (AWS/Enfocus), they are the only native PDF editior. So, if there is anything Adobe come up with in the future, all other RIP using Adobe PDF engine will need to wait and depend on Adobe to update it, it may take years for the update when AWS can work much faster than Adobe to support the new features!


            • #7
              Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

              We have Kodak Prinregy 4.0 and we are very happy with it. Its nativ PDF.

              It is not cheeap but the price dapands on the size of the workfow you buy. But if you dont need language mutation software you can choose Printrgy Evo which is much cheeper.

              You can also buy very nice features - internet protal Insite prepress portal for checking and approval,...


              • #8
                Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

                You should give a Kodak sales guy a call for trade-in features from your Brisque. Preps dongles, FAF dongles, Staccato licenses, Ink Pro licenses all migrate $$$ into a Kodak system.

                If you ever hear one customer excitedly say, "Wow, have you seen the cool new transparency stuff? I am going to SOOOOO use the Drop shadow thing all the time now." run away from any workflow that has anything but pure PDF as its' engine.

                We offer ROI services that look at your actual company numbers and show you how much you will save, as well as the payback time. You will not be disappointed.

                Allan Larson
                Senior Demonstrator, Kodak Graphic Communications Group


                • #9
                  Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

                  Here is my issue with kodak.
                  I was a PS/M PS/2, Brisque kind of guy for a decade. You could not pry
                  it from my cold dead hands.
                  Changed jobs and got the option (excitedly) to push Apogee out the
                  Called Kodak. Spent 2 hours with a "menu" of choices.

                  Kodak - "You want to do this AND that with your file"?
                  Me - Yes
                  Kodak - "You need option E - $10,000"
                  Me - OK
                  Kodak - "Wait, forgot, to do this AND that you also
                  need G and option N. Those are $5,000 and $7,500
                  Me - Does that mean I do not need E now - whew, instead
                  of $10,000 I spend $12,500 - that is not bad
                  Kodak - No, you did not listen. You need E, G, and N
                  Total of $22,500 to do this and that.
                  Actual (or darn close conversation I had two years ago).
                  Here is my problem. Ever gone to buy a Town and Country
                  minivan? You can buy a Dodge Grand Caravan and
                  actually add leather, power windows, air, etc and end up
                  spending $50,000 on it.
                  OR, you can walk into Chrysler and say I want an LXI, Limited,
                  LX, etc. You will walk out for between $25K and $40K
                  LXI gets you options E,N, and G. Plus 10 others.
                  When will Kodak offer me a LX, LXI, Limited, options?
                  I am not trying to pick a fight. I am serious. I have been in
                  this business for 17 years and FOUGHT hard for Kodak.
                  I had to throw in the towel on a $300,000 system because
                  we were $100,000 off from the competitor. If we had had
                  LX, LXI options that number could have been where
                  it needed to be.
                  BTW, RUN from Apogee.


                  • #10
                    Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

                    *Hello Vincent*

                    Some guidance from far away in Scandinavia. Follow the advice of Uncle Sam, get a full demo of *Odystar*. Both Kodak & AGFA are nice workflows but mainly made for driving their own output devices.

                    *Odystar* is more, it is a workflow that is native PDF 1.6. It can off course RIP PDF-files with transparency FAST (that should be a de facto on an New RIP today). The most _important_ feature is *AUTOMATION*. You can automate a lot more than you would ever expect. Just some few examples.

                    - Receiving of files. Watched from mail, FTP, hot folders,
                    - Prefligth (pitstop server is build in and from same company)
                    - Prepress correcting files
                    - Color manage PDF files
                    - Splitting and merging PDF files
                    - Automatic imposing through JDF from Preps, Dynastrip, Signastation etc.
                    - Down sample a copy of a Highres PDF for Print to a Lowres for WEB or viewing
                    - Integrate BEST / EFI XF as a natural part based on the same ripped data as for film/plate
                    - Manage PDF files based on their name.
                    - Automate through Filemaker or other D-Base

                    How to do it. It is easy. Just draw the workflows on screen, test, test, test and run them.

                    My experience from customers in Scandinavia who bought Odystar, even in a early stage when it was one of the only native PDF-RIP´s, is clearly. Workflow is about *AUTOMATION* not only Ripping.

                    Automation will bring you:
                    Secureness against errors.
                    Give you speed in prepress tasks.
                    Make your company very competitive.

                    By the way Odystar runs on Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 and support Mac and Window clients through the Shuttle-software.

                    Odystar is a client server based system with no fee per user but per Odystar system.

                    Hope my input will let you have a look and test Odystar with you own files. You will be convinced.

                    Best regard



                    • #11
                      Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

                      Hey Chris, what are your issues with ApogeeX? Just wanna know...
                      Better train people and risk they leave - than do nothing and risk they stay.


                      • #12
                        Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

                        Apogee X - Issues
                        Wow, where do I begin.
                        Legacy and salespeople start the issue.
                        When I arrived in Iowa in 05 they had Apogee X. I had Trueflow in Oklahoma. I dug into their machine to find what was going
                        on. In general, they had plates going out that did not match the PDF.
                        On my watch, that cannot happen. I am over the pre-press and press. I am a 18 year veteran of prepress and I do not have
                        time to babysit my RIP.
                        So, I started looking into things. Come to find out, we did not "purchase" option XYZ. That option gave us true rip once
                        technology. That option was demoed to the former prepress manager. That option was TURNED ON for 90 days
                        AFTER the sale, but that option was never bought.
                        I have seen that in the old Brisque world as well.....somebody please explain to me why you would intentionally
                        tick off your brand new customer??
                        So, I asked, "How Much"? $25,000 came back the response. Then, we would need Digital Quickstrip (??) for even more.
                        My Trueflow (sans beefy server) came in at darn close to that price. We scrapped Apogee and never looked back.
                        Two other issues as well. The first goes with MANY machines. I am old school in one thing. I REFUSE to have an
                        old file sitting somewhere. I direct connect to my Screen platesetter. I do not have a One Bit sitting somewhere.
                        The old Apogee with the tiff catcher had the BAD version of the cyan plate sitting on the tiff catcher ALONG with
                        the new version. A salesperson told me once that that was simple...just erase the old file. Give me a break. This is
                        $100,000 software....make YOUR program overwrite it.
                        In the old film days would you have allowed your stripper to keep Knockout Y if at 9am a new Knockout Z totally made
                        knockout Y wrong? No, you would want that darn piece of film WAY gone.
                        So, what you get is a $100,000 system that allows a $3,000 Dell Box to hold onto a possibly bad one bit tiff.
                        That is insane. (Just to be fair, a sister company has the Heidelberg RIP. Same issue. Hence, why we will
                        be replacing Heidelberg.)
                        My final issue is with the fact that every time I turn around I have to buy a new box. Want digital quickstrip? Buy
                        a $5,000 dell. I saw a prepress room once with Apogee that had SIX, count them, six machines to rip, trap, build
                        a layout, digital quickstrip, etc.
                        i do all of that on one server with Trueflow and just dial right into it with my client. In fact I dial in from home and output
                        plates, fix issues, etc.
                        One final thing. I am not some dyed in the wool Screen guy. I am a prepress manager that was just given the
                        responsibility over our data processing as well. This is a $40 million dollar company. Our RIP must be identical
                        to my pdf. In fact, that PDF must now drive our DP dept as well. Screen does that for me. House Error caused
                        by prepress in the past year was ZERO. Seriously. They matched. End of story.
                        Before I came it was $100,000. Pretty easy to justify a new RIP there...
                        BTW, I have not had to give Screen a dime in exactly two years. (Other than service agreement). If I need a PDF to
                        do this or do that I call up and they tell me how to make what I OWN do that. That is worth its weight in gold.


                        • #13
                          Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

                          I had the same experience with Scitex/Creo/Kodak. Everything you needed or wanted always cost a lot.
                          We were a PSM, PS2 and Brisque shop for years. I recently switched to Esko Artworks Backstage.
                          My operators were a little skeptical about switching and outperforming a 6-processor brisque.
                          Now they love it. 99% of trapping is perfect (automated). The imposition was a little hard to get used to, but now it is great. This can be automated as well. PDF Native. Meaning active transparency. Good support. Another company I was looking at was Dalim. They have a very good system and can probably come in pretty low cost. (about the same as Rampage).
                          I know a few large shops that swear by it.

                          Good luck.


                          • #14
                            Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

                            I think you'll find Dalim have a native PDF editor called "Litho" which is an excellent page make up/retouch application.


                            • #15
                              Re: Recommendations for Prepress Workflow for Medium Sized Printing Company

                              I looked into Daleems software. I liked it. But it scares me that they could only give me 1 reference in the U.S. and they have threatened to file bankruptcy. We installed a 2 box Odystar system and I agree with the above comments. I think it is the best "task based automation" for pdf workflows out there. Odystar + Neo = Excellence.

                              We also looked at Kodak, but when asked what they suggested for PDF editing in there workflow, they said "Neo" or "Pitstop". Kind of scary when kodak is telling there company to use artwork systems products to edit.

                              BTW, For my 2 Odystar 3 setups with 2 seats of Neo and Hardware

                              2 Intel Mac Pro's (2 x 3ghz Quad core processors (8 processors per machine basically) and 16 gigs of ram per machine)

                              Total cost thru pitman @$39,000

                              I was scared to go with a mac workflow, but these new intel macs with the 16 gigs of ram are blowing the doors off of any other system.

                              Edited by: Jeff Kinish on Feb 17, 2008 11:23 AM


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