Gradual Software and Ultimate Technographics Inc. form Cooperative Alliance
Press release from the issuing company
Ghent (Belgium), 24 April, 2007 — Gradual Software, specializing in software solutions for automating the publishing process, and Ultimate Technographics Inc., the leading imposition software developer and the inventor of digital imposition, announce a partnership to combine Gradual’s SWITCH automation software and Impostrip On Demand digital imposition software to provide digital printers with a fully automated imposition workflow solution.
Ultimate Technographics’ Impostrip On Demand is the first automated imposition solution for digital print of brochures, catalogues, books, calendars, business cards and direct mail products. Impostrip On Demand automates through a unique “smart” hot folders mechanism. Dynamic Templates designate the usage of the same hot folder for jobs of different page sizes and page numbers, significantly reducing the number of hot folder workflows needed.
Gradual’s SWITCH family of products, including LightSWITCH, FullSWITCH and PowerSWITCH, enables users to implement workflow automation solutions tailored to meet the production needs of individual work environments. PowerSWITCH provides advanced automation features, such as support for scripting and metadata, together with SWITCHclient, a workgroup client that makes it easy to deploy automation for a complete workgroup.
Automated dynamic imposition through smart hot folders
The companies' solutions work in complete synergy to link hot folders and create a fully automated production workflow that can be easily configured and or modified. David van Driessche, Chief Operating Officer at Gradual, comments: “The fact that Impostrip is a hot folder-driven imposition product designed for digital print makes it an ideal partner for Gradual’s automation products. FullSWITCH and PowerSWITCH can link directly to an Impostrip hot folder to facilitate an automated workflow, beginning with FTP submission, preflighting and other prepress functions, all the way through to a completely imposed print product on a digital press.”
Flexible workflows via advanced automation tools
From Gradual's perspective, the cooperation builds upon the company's mission to deliver enhanced automation capabilities for the growing market of digital on-demand printing, from A to Z, including imposition. “Impostrip On Demand is dedicated towards the on-demand market, where the imposition requirements are not as complex. But the unique possibility of combining jobs of different sizes within one imposition job, and adding full automation, provides significant advantages for a digital printer,” states van Driessche. “Workflow automation delivers dramatic time savings as well as optimized usage of substrates. The printer simply drops the files in the same hot folder workflow, even if page sizes differ. Impostrip dynamically impositions all pages with marks in proper position relative to the size, then SWITCH automatically sends the imposed files to the digital printing press.”
Versatility through targeted products and customized processes
All of Ultimate’s products are hot folder driven, so SWITCH can be used to automate a variety of specialized workflows, such as Impostrip On Demand for digital print, Impostrip Book Stacker for digital books, Card Stacker for web2print invitations and cards, and Repurposing and Proof to bridge offset to digital. SWITCH can also automate Impostrip for offset print workflows along with Ink Ready to control ink density on press. Impostrip Page Pairing combined with SWITCH offers an excellent solution for automating newspaper production.
Quick snapshot of automation efficiency
The following is a scenario of how Impostrip’s hot folder-based imposition capabilities and SWITCH’s workflow automation tools work together. Business cards or complete book pages in PDF format arrive through email or FTP on a “smart” hot folder. Preflighting software verifies print-readiness, and if an error is detected, the file is returned to the customer. No need to check the page size, as Impostrip detects and dynamically imposes them based on the actual size and the imposition layout-template (including user-defined marks, printing strips, collating marks etc.). If the imposition reveals a printing problem, a message is sent to alert the user. Each workflow scenario can be used to impose files of different sizes. After the imposition stage, SWITCH certifies the files (if necessary) and sends them to directly to the printing press.
Drs. Gerard Korving, Vice President of Krips B.V. in The Netherlands comments: “Beginning 2006 we started the investigation for automated impositioning. Our first goal was to reach automation to avoid manual intervention with incoming files. Our second goal was to get the imposed files ready for plate production in a minimum of time. We finally choose the Gradual’s FullSwitch solution combined with Ultimate’s Impostrip. This solution using Impostrip’s smart HotFolder configuration and Gradual’s automation features gave us the possibility to get a fully automated system for imposition. This solution acts like a toolbox and my staff setup the system of hot folders. Ultimate is for us a very useful solution and Krips B.V. already reached the two set goals.”
Gradual's SWITCH technology was a perfect match for Ultimate's search for a full-featured yet flexible automation solution to automate imposition as well as the complete prepress workflow. “Digital printers do not have time to set up complicated workflows, one job at a time – they need complete automation. The SWITCH product family enables users to use the tools they prefer to configure a customized workflow and to combine them with the most automated and powerful imposition solution,” explains David Watson, President and CEO of Ultimate Technographics. “Gradual and Ultimate provide the ultimate solution to easily and effectively create completely automated production to a digital press.”
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