Smooth workflow14 September 2016
MyPressXpert specialises in automated workflow systems that save time and reduce material waste. Its colour technologies have been optimised for packaging applications, preserving minimum dot specifications, simulating dot drop off, managing highlight dot gain and multichannel applications, and more. Packaging Today asks managing director Niall Coady about the company’s recent collaboration with CS Labels.
How does MyPressXpert create its detailed job-management systems?
Niall Coady: The objective of any workflow is to automate as many steps as possible between the receipt of a piece of artwork and the shipping of a finished product to a client. This makes our clients able to reach higher levels of efficiency without needing to hire more staff.
We work with high-quality tools to deliver bespoke workflow solutions. We have the engineering know-how and resources to translate our clients’ needs into functional workflows that deliver savings in time and white waste.
What challenges did you face streamlining CS Labels’ workflow, and how did you overcome them?
We needed to engineer a way to work with many different types, shapes and sizes of labels, some of which had cut marks or page furniture, and so on. We addressed these differences by using variables and advanced process plans in the Callas pdfToolbox, driven by Laidback Solutions’ FileTrain system. Using variables and checks, we were able to interrogate the PDFs to see which elements were present on which files. If a check found bleed marks, for example, it could skip the step that would add these.
In another instance, we had to provide the sales team with data on toner usage for clients’ files, as those with higher toner coverage would need to be varnished and this had to be quoted upfront. Previously, the files would have to be prepared in Illustrator and ripped before the toner coverage could be calculated and the client informed – a time-consuming process. To avoid this, we provided a calculation of the separation using an ICC profile of the system’s media output, which would include the conversion of spot colours to process as well. The resulting separation would be interrogated by a pdfToolbox check and the results displayed on the proof – a colour-accurate visual overview of the job after preflight and fixes, with all bleed and cut marks added.
We also needed to improve the quality of the Pantone spot colour reproduction in fixed-palette CMYK. The conversions had to be fast to ensure there was no workflow bottleneck, and we needed to be able to demonstrate the accuracy of the conversions for our clients and their customers. We used ColorLogic Zepra, an automated colour server, with supporting technology from Copra, to build advanced device link profiles that ensured accurate quality conversions between industry-standard colour spaces and the individual profiles created on the presses themselves. This was the best way to get the Xeikon Presses to match the internal proofing standard set to Fogra 39.
Zepra could create a report showing how many Pantones could be printed accurately on the press – and all the ones that could not. This allowed CS Labels to advise its clients upfront. Zepra could also use a special technology called SmartLINK to automatically detect images in foreign colour spaces and clean them up prior to proofing the jobs. This enhanced the contrast of the images and ensured that clients’ jobs were printed as accurately as possible to the original specification of the file.
One challenge that took a great deal of time to resolve was the creation of the proof for the client. The MIS system would include information about the job, substrate, quantity and other factors, plus job notes. We used the Callas pdfChip to generate a proof dynamically, with an XML output from the MIS system and a final PDF of the job.
How can you confront poor workflow management to ensure companies are running efficiently and cost-effectively?
CS Labels wanted to add printing devices to a busy working environment where files were already bottlenecking between being received and being delivered to the press staff for printing. The owner of the business did not want to invest in more staff; they wanted the existing team’s efficiency streamlined by working alongside automation.
The workflow process took hours – even days – before, but with our solutions, CS Labels could give a quote, accept, fix and proof a job, and prepare it for press within minutes. The system handles over 65% of all jobs completely automatically, leaving the more challenging tasks to experienced artists and employees.
What markets does MyPressXperts hope to reach with this technology?
We are targeting the labels, greetings cards, large-format, textiles and packaging marketplaces; digital and conventional press environments can benefit greatly from these technologies.
We are currently working on several new projects to expand our offering and meet these markets head-on, and we hope to launch our new CloudRepro service in 2017.