what new equipment to look out for in 2012?

KevinC@EFI

Well-known member
As a vendor, I'm just curious what your wish lists for offset prepress are these days? What's a the top of your list for improvments and changes, and where are the remaining challenges for you?

(disclaimer - I'm in charge of Kodak's "future roadmap" for offset solutions... so hopefully I already know the answers, but I'm also hoping you surprise me).

Kevin.
 

Erik Nikkanen

Well-known member
As a vendor, I'm just curious what your wish lists for offset prepress are these days? What's a the top of your list for improvments and changes, and where are the remaining challenges for you?

(disclaimer - I'm in charge of Kodak's "future roadmap" for offset solutions... so hopefully I already know the answers, but I'm also hoping you surprise me).

Kevin.
Kevin,

If you are asking a question to the group in general, I would add my view. It is not short term future but a bit farther out.

I think there is a need to rethink the whole process.

We are now in a transitional stage in history where we are trying to adapt previous practice and methods to a computerized environment. The traditional methods which used tone curves, etc were useful but not totally predictable. They were also methods that could be used by the existing technologies, such as scanners, densitometers, etc.

The computing power and memory were limited and expensive and these existing methods more or less matched the computing technology.

Now the computing power is much different. It is fast with large memory and cheap. Advances in colour measuring technology is also available.

I believe that with some rethinking of the problem, one can get to a situation where getting predictable output from a press can be virtually automated without complicated tasks. No G7 method calibrations, no tone curves, etc. No human involvement with adjusting profiles. No consultants. :)

All it should need is the printing of a test form, technology to measuring of a lot more points, algorithms to provide more accurate interpolations between those points. An image specification method that is independent of devices.

I suspect that many of the building blocks for such an approach are already available but are not in place or need some adaption.

I would suggest that Kodak does some research in this area to develop a method and the technologies that will take advantage of the advances in computer and measuring capabilities that are now here and move away from the traditional thinking.

As with other manufacturing methods, one can make a drawing in North America and have the part made in Asia and you will get what you wanted due to the ability to specify the result. The method of manufacture is not so important. The specification of the target values and their tolerances are.

Anyhow, that is something I would like to see happen. Of course I would also like to see the presses be consistent and predictable too. :-(
 

gordo

Well-known member
What's a the top of your list for improvments and changes, and where are the remaining challenges for you?
Here are a few:

1 - Intelligent, embedded, customizable workflow profiles within native document authoring applications.
2 - The integration of press control, plate image, proof image, and file data to close the loop on color control.
3 - Definable tolerances (based on industry or shop specific capabilities) and reporting for presswork color alignment to proof based on isolated color areas as well as overall color.
4 - Industry specified presswork print integrity standards (something akin to Brunner's Star system)

Cusromers and Adobe remain challenges but are likely not fixable. ;-)

best, gordo
 

KevinC@EFI

Well-known member
Erik and Gordo - very thorough input, I appreciate it. I find it interesting that the focus you both have is on the workflow and process integration/automation side of the house... not necessarily core physical technology any more. May that be because of your own focus areas, or do you think that the non-workflow aspects of prepress production technology have "peaked"?

On the workflow aspects you raise - I 100% agree with you, and those goals are certainly valuable. The things keeping us from attaining them all today are diverse though - and remain as challenges for us to solve. Much of this is due to interoperability of systems from one end of the production chain to the other, and the rest are related to the still-huge array of variables in the printing process itself (ink, paper, founts, rollers, blankets, plates, humidity, temperature... and on and on). However, slowly we're whittling away at the major variables to get to a more control-based approach instead of the measure-and-correct approach we're stuck with today (eliminating plate processing with things like Thermal Direct, or improve process latitude with SQUAREspot, etc.). Press vendors are making similar headway as well.

It's also interesting to see how the needs of the Emerging Markets are rapidly changing, and will influence global trends as their market power grows.

Kevin.
 

Kaoticor

Well-known member
Here are a few:

1 - Intelligent, embedded, customizable workflow profiles within native document authoring applications.
2 - The integration of press control, plate image, proof image, and file data to close the loop on color control.
3 - Definable tolerances (based on industry or shop specific capabilities) and reporting for presswork color alignment to proof based on isolated color areas as well as overall color.
4 - Industry specified presswork print integrity standards (something akin to Brunner's Star system)

Cusromers and Adobe remain challenges but are likely not fixable. ;-)

best, gordo
I agree with the integration aspect. I think as long as we have the physical lithographic printing aspect, no matter how much our technological state advances, it will still be hampered by the physical limitations of such a printing process that, by nature, has so many variables. So I'm not sure it is a matter of implementing new technology, but perhaps a little more integration would help it out.

Perhaps if the prepress could be integrated with automated press measuring and provide real-time feedback. I have seen a lot of companies shift their focus to having real-time information provided. Many companies are trying to go "paperless" and gather data real time. If there was some way current press trending could automatically update plate curving and or proofing (although I dont know if such a thing is even plausible), I wonder if that could help bridge the gap between various departments...

I work in both the operating and prepress so I would love something like that, but I dont know if it is even a concievable concept. But hey, neither was 2,000 fpm on a web press!
 

Erik Nikkanen

Well-known member
Erik and Gordo - very thorough input, I appreciate it. I find it interesting that the focus you both have is on the workflow and process integration/automation side of the house... not necessarily core physical technology any more. May that be because of your own focus areas, or do you think that the non-workflow aspects of prepress production technology have "peaked"?

On the workflow aspects you raise - I 100% agree with you, and those goals are certainly valuable. The things keeping us from attaining them all today are diverse though - and remain as challenges for us to solve. Much of this is due to interoperability of systems from one end of the production chain to the other, and the rest are related to the still-huge array of variables in the printing process itself (ink, paper, founts, rollers, blankets, plates, humidity, temperature... and on and on). However, slowly we're whittling away at the major variables to get to a more control-based approach instead of the measure-and-correct approach we're stuck with today (eliminating plate processing with things like Thermal Direct, or improve process latitude with SQUAREspot, etc.). Press vendors are making similar headway as well.


Kevin.
Let me put it this way, you don't have mathematical definable models that are capable of connecting the target image to the physical output. The problem is the method of solving the problem. Get the method right and then put in place the technologies.

In general the whole process of offset printing is a mess in this regards. It is not just the prepress area but also the capability of the output to be even defined. When an industry thinks in very messy ways about their process, the result is messy methods to try and solve problems. There is no clear mathematical path. That is why, IMO so many are confused. Solutions that seem to work under some conditions but not under others is not being done by a capable system.

For any printing process to work as a system, it needs to have consistency. With consistency, predictability follows.

It is not a problem of having lots of different papers, inks and other materials. The existing effort to try to standardize materials is a wrong approach. Any approach should easily account for different materials in a general and automated way. Don't fight differences in materials. As long as one can produce a consistent result from those materials, one can develop a predictable prepress system for it.

You need consistent materials from batch to batch but you don't need inks that are limited to constant value in order to hit some Lab number.

Capability is the important concept. Not standardization. CIP is a good example of a great improvement in capability of imaging.

Of course there are real problems in doing this such as the problem of fluorescence in inks and papers that make predictability more difficult, but a lot of the problems you stated are not really problems for a prepress system.

If you have a process that has all of these kinds of variables in it but they are consistent, then it does not matter. If they are not consistent, then you can not provide a predictable prepress system in the first place.

The complexity of the process is not the issue, it is its consistency or repeatability that is important. All processes are very complex at some level but if they are consistent and repeatable, then no one cares about their complexity. Don't be distracted by the complexity of the printing process when thinking about what is needed for a prepress system. They have little relationship. Break it down to its most simplest and most general requirements that can be mathematically defined.

I know I have not explained this that well but of course this is only a post and not a technical guide. :)
 

gordo

Well-known member
@Kaoticor

The integration of prepress and pressroom is technically feasible - and relatively straightforward to do since all of the needed components, interchange file and data formats, already exist. Press trending and automatic updating of plate curves and or proofing is also doable - but updating of plate curves and/or proofing might not be the best way to solve color troubles.

best, gordo
 

kingpd@businessprints.net

Well-known member
Last edited:

saso777

Active member
From what i saw on Drupa digital is going up very fast but also offset is holding his strong positions. Maybe you should look what HP presents from digital side or BOBST from packaging side.
 

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Automatically Autonomous Automation
Although the autonomous car is not quite ready, a lights out print operation is something you can do right now if you have a comprehensive Print MIS (Management Information System). The advantages can put money on your bottom line. So what’s your next step? Link to Article

   
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