03 September 2019 Other Voices

Gain efficiency through smart optimisation

Patrick Kerr, worldwide product manager, Kodak Software Division, explains that the automation possible with Kodak Prinergy meets the needs of today’s printers.

As the industry continues to undergo a major transformation, no printer can afford to ignore opportunities to optimise processes and improve efficiency.

Ever shorter runs are the norm today, bigger orders are divided into several smaller jobs with differentiated content and time schedules, while web-to-print portals mostly generate a large number of small jobs and personalised products are on the increase. That all adds up to higher than ever requirements and an even heavier workload for your prepress.

More files have to be processed and more plates and/or digital print jobs delivered to the pressroom in less time, to prevent the presses from standing still. The workflow and its potential for optimisation are taking centre stage. This is where the key lies to improving the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) of your printing operations. Mass optimisation represents an attractive option here that can help you raise the efficiency of your workflow sustainably and hence save time and money.

Mass optimisation is a strategy for leveraging the known information of all work in progress jobs, so that the jobs can be produced in the most efficient manner using the least amount of resources. Various approaches and possibilities exist for implementing mass optimisation. Apart from job batching, where groups of jobs are automatically created based on certain criteria, file and sheet optimisation also offer tangible benefits here. Automation and the use of intelligent software guarantee the necessary process speed and precision, so that operator invention is reduced to a minimum.

The first step on the journey is file optimisation, which ensures that all files and content supplied by the customer can be reproduced without any problems or errors in all printing processes relevant for the job. PDF preflight is a typical file optimisation software, and printers using a Kodak Prinergy workflow system have a robust automatic preflight technology as an integral element of the workflow.

Prelight software automatically checks the files against selected preflight profiles, which can be either based on industry standards or user defined, and reports any non conformances or errors. Prelight+, which includes the preflight power of callas PDFToolbox, is integrated in Kodak Prinergy workflow. Not only does it identify errors and problems; where possible it also corrects the files automatically.

And that’s not all – in conjunction with Prinergy's Rules Based Automation feature, the preflight can automatically send notifications to the person whose job it is to optimise the files in the event of a serious problem. In addition to this, for instance, Rules Based Automation can also cause the problematic files to be moved to a specific directory.

Incidentally, Kodak-style file optimisation covers not just production but also customers. Printers who offer customers the option of collaboration via the Kodak InSite prepress portal, which docks onto Prinergy workflow, can use Insite to automatically provide them with preflight reports generated by Prinergy’s Preflight+. Any essential improvements that have to be carried out at the customer’s end can thus be completed quickly and in a targeted way at the lowest possible cost.

The fast and reliable way to optimise press sheets, sheet optimisation is all about combining several jobs on one sheet, or splitting jobs between several sheets, in such a way that even the tightest deadlines are met while production costs and material usage are minimised. When it comes to utilising the resources available to your business as efficiently as possible, sheet optimisation is paramount.

Optimising processes and costs by ganging jobs that share common production attributes (such as the delivery date, press, substrate, inks, coating, type of finishing etc.) is a highly complex affair, especially when the jobs concerned have to be produced within a specific time period. Traditional manual planning methods are not only very time-consuming, they are also error-prone and inflexible. Fortunately, smart, high performance solutions exist for this purpose today, which even a few years ago would have been considered impossible.

Kodak Prinergy users can choose Dynamic Print Planning – one of the Prinergy Cloud services – as a convenient solution for automated production planning and creation of press-ready, cost-efficient layouts. Dynamic Print Planning leverages the computing power of Prinergy Cloud and artificial intelligence to generate ideal press layouts along with a manufacturing plan that makes optimum use of the available press capacity in minimal time. In case of last-minute changes to the printing conditions, Dynamic Print Planning can supply an updated plan in next to no time.

This sheet optimisation function is closely integrated with Prinergy workflow. Job ganging workflows can thus be configured with different levels of automation, including fully automatic processes based on a pool of jobs received either online or via a MIS system or else created in the traditional way.

The challenges confronting printers daily are incredibly diverse. Yet one thing is clear: if you’re reluctant to shape the transformation now and in the future, you’ll end up among the losers. Mass optimisation is a strategy that can help you actively realise those changes in your organisation. What’s more, mass optimisation is absolutely within reach today. Kodak has suitable, tried-and-tested tools for this purpose in its portfolio as components of a highly automated workflow that is in tune with tomorrow’s world.

By Gareth Ward

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