Automation Makes More Happen


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Automation Makes More Happen

By Noel Ward, Editor@Large

Automation is how your car tells you all is okay each time you start it, how your smartphone pulls numbers out of your contact list, and how the four-color digital press you invested in gets ready for another day. It also relieves the average press operator from some of the more tedious tasks he or she is called on to handle at the start of every day or even every shift.

Nearly every industry is experiencing top to bottom changes with jobs and processes being streamlined or even eliminated by automation that turns time-consuming tasks into a few moments of time for tireless microprocessors inside a computer or server.

Print business owners and press operators tell me the gotta-do-it steps of getting a press ready to make money suck up time at the start of every day. It used to be that calibration was all that really mattered but as print quality expectations increased, new color standards adopted and the range of qualified papers grew so did the time operators spent on non-billable press make-ready. Advancements in software and in-line press color measurement technology is now allowing many of these procedures to be handled automatically by the press while operators do other things.

Earlier versions of Canon’s imagePRESS with PRISMAsync Print Server streamlined these processes by helping print providers and brand owners achieve color consistency across print campaigns. The latest PRISMAsync Mark 8 version for the imagePRESS C10010VP Series, and imagePRESS C10000VP Series continues this evolution while taking over other key tasks and making it easier for operators to do their jobs. For business owners, this means less time spent getting a press ready to run, while operators can devote more time to producing quality jobs.

Five tasks, one operation
What really stood out to me when I looked at this new version was a new Automated Color Tasks tool that combines multiple color management functions into a single customizable action. The new server automates five different tasks into a single operation: Auto gradation adjustment, shading, G7® calibration and profiling, G7 verification, and generation of a report to show that the system is working correctly. Previously, these were one-off steps performed manually and more or less sequentially, but now the imagePRESS C10010VP with PRISMAsync Mark 8 can do it all with one touch. It is still a sequential process, but with minimal operator hands-on involvement.

The automation goes further and gets more impressive, especially when calibrating for multiple stocks. Press operators can combine press linearization, G7 calibration, and media-color profiling of various stocks that are loaded in the press’s paper drawers into a single, automated make-ready function. This improves color accuracy across different stocks and allows the operators to spend time on other tasks.

Another feature I thought many print providers would appreciate was the license option for Advanced Imposition. Because it operates at press level, this capability should boost workflow flexibility for applications such as direct mail, business cards, and booklets. According to Canon, the combination of these features gives the server some unique and intuitive color tools that should help in the creation of consistent, predictable, and vibrant output.

Canon says the PRISMAsync Mark 8 Server is available this month (May 2021) for both new installations and customer upgrades on supported Canon imagePRESS C10010VP Series, C1000VP Series and varioPRINT 140 Series presses.

As a hardware guy who admits software makes a big difference, I think new servers are always worth a close look and serious consideration because they are key part of the overall digital printing solution. When you look at the PRISMAsync Mark 8 Server be sure your press operators and production managers have a chance to chime in on the new features. These folks know their pain points in your shop and can appreciate the advantages a new solution may bring to the shop floor. The technology is changing fast and there is a competitive advantage in having the latest systems at your disposal.

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