Users Report On Heidelberg PrepressInterface new Version 3.0
Tuesday, July 03, 2001
Following the completion of the beta test phase, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) is now launching PrepressInterface Version 3.0 onto the market. The range of functions offered by this tried-and-tested interface based on the PPF (Print Production Format) standard of the CIP4 Group (formerly CIP3) has been significantly extended. This means that PrepressInterface 3.0 is now a fully-fledged module in the printshop workflow, and can position autoregister marks on presses with the CP2000 Center and AutoRegister and transfer color reference values for ImageControl. The software also features a customizable output interface to the CP2000 Center press control system, the ImageControl quality measurement system and finishing equipment. Since hitting the markets four years ago, the PrepressInterface software has been installed more than 1,300 times. The feedback is unanimous: PrepressInterface successfully cuts setup times and waste, and is therefore indispensable for improving productivity. One of the reasons for the success of Heidelberg's PrepressInterface is its open interface architecture based on the PPF standard. This allows different makes of prepress systems to be connected, for example. Heidelberg has integrated the information gained from practice into the development of the 3.0 upgrade. "Far faster to color" Crowson Stone Printing in Columbia/USA is a growing company, focusing mainly on the high-quality short-run color market. Two Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 74s (one four-color press with sheet-reversal unit and one six-color press with sheet-reversal unit and coating unit) produce job runs of between 1,000 and 20,000 copies, the average job run being around 5,000. "The key advantage of Heidelberg PrepressInterface is its ability to cut setup times", explains Managing Director John deLoach. "From the time the first sheet is printed until the color is spot on, we used to get between 250 and 350 sheets of waste. Now we can move to the production run far sooner, after just 150 sheets." The transfer of color presetting values from the prepress data to the Speedmaster's CP2000 Center means Crowson Stone Printing not only cuts waste, but also saves significant setup time when frequent job changes occur. PrepressInterface is also very easy to use, says John deLoach, and runs entirely in the background with virtually no need for the operator to intervene. DeLoach will soon be expanding the business to a new building where the company will be using a Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 102 ten-color press with the Heidelberg ImageControl quality measurement system. This product will provide him with the ink presettings and the color reference values taken from the reference sheet measurements. It will also give him greater control over the setup procedure. "We wouldn't be without it!" Just like its colleagues in the USA, Kehler Druck in Baden / Germany uses PrepressInterface and runs its prepress operations in-house almost entirely using computer-to-plate (95%). "Our experience with Heidelberg PrepressInterface has been overwhelmingly good", confirms Head of Prepress and IT, Michael Knäble. Here too, the same maxim applies - 'No' to long setup times and waste, and 'Yes' to quality and color constancy! "Our printers wouldn't be without PrepressInterface", says Knäble, who is already using a pre-series version of PrepressInterface 3.0. With three Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 102 five-color presses and one Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 52 four-color machine, Kehler Druck operates a two-shift system with 70 employees to produce commercial printing products such as brochures, magazines, mail shots and flyers. Michael Knäble is very enthusiastic about the functionality offered by PrepressInterface, such as predicting estimated ink usage at the start of a job. This is done using the color setting values from the prepress stage. "And with parameters for the printing stock now being made available, the system is perfect. No other software offers that." "A key workflow module" Fast order throughput is the key to success, believes Managing Director Clive Parkes from John Goodman & Sons in Birmingham / UK. On its two Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 102 five- and six-color presses, the UK company produces commercial printing products of all kinds, but mainly brochures for the automotive industry and annual reports. PrepressInterface has been in use for the last two years, and Parkes is so convinced of the benefits the software has to offer that he will be upgrading to Version 3.0 at the earliest opportunity. "We are looking to gradually extend our workflow and make it more efficient." "Since the new Version 3.0 can also provide presettings data for the Heidelberg AutoRegister, we can cut setup time even further." An additional benefit is enhanced customer loyalty - "Thanks to automatic color presettings, we can prove to our customers just how much better our quality is when they come to okay the proofs!" "Excellent ink distribution" "PrepressInterface is ideal for saving time and money", confirms Peter Leinhase of Offsetdruck Leinhase in Berlin. Leinhase also uses a pre-series version of PrepressInterface 3.0. The automatic press presettings ensure excellent ink distribution on the image, with minimal deviation - "not even a master printer could do better". Only when there are very minute changes in the amounts of ink used - as with vignettes - may it be necessary to perform manual adjustments. Peter Leinhase uses PrepressInterface on a Heidelberg Speedmaster SM 52 four-color press. "We get to color after a maximum of 50 sheets", he beams. He warmly welcomes the fact that PrepressInterface can integrate postpress machines into the workflow, although he believes things can be made even better. Basically, it is possible to transfer data via PrepressInterface 3.0 for finishing equipment which features a standard PPF interface. This means that Compucut from Polar-Mohr and Heidelberg's Compufold finishing communication system can be supplied directly with presettings data from PrepressInterface and, in other cases, the data provided by the Heidelberg Signastation impositioning equipment is used. So whichever option the user takes, an end-to-end workflow is guaranteed. "The next step" In future, Heidelberg will be using the Job Definition Format as its standard interface. By also implementing JDF on all prepress and finishing equipment, we will ultimately achieve a truly end-to-end print media workflow. This will ensure that business management and production processes are even more closely intermeshed.