Application Analysis of Digital Printing Workflow

1. The status of digital printing workflow

Although the domestic printing production process has experienced the development of CIP3PPF in the past 10 years and started to enter the stage of CIP4JDF, the development of the printing industry in China is still very slow. Relevant data shows that the domestic printing enterprises that use digital workflows are basically in the stage of transition from traditional analog production processes to digital production processes, represented by large book printing plants, commercial printing plants, and large-scale plate making companies and publishing house output centers. The application of digital workflow in these enterprises is mainly concentrated in the pre-press link. Some printing companies are extending the process to printing, focusing on solving ink volume control. There is a lack of systematic and in-depth research on the equipment and technology for establishing and developing digital processes. Need practical exploration. The current state of digitalization in China determines the unique way to promote the application of digital workflow in China. Some advanced printing companies aim to achieve CTP output. Starting from the realization of digitalization, they will gradually realize digital proofing, PDF output, color management, digital process management, and network transmission will eventually realize the digitization of the entire process; and some printing companies with less technical content should adopt the digital workflow based on imagesetter according to their own situation.

2. Application of digital workflow

There are two modes of digital workflows that are currently being promoted and applied in China. One is the long-distance full-digital workflow, that is, the CIP3 workflow; the second is the short-distance prepress digital workflow, which includes three main methods: one is The digital workflow based on CTP, the second is based on the digital workflow of large-format laser imagesetter, and the third is the mixed operation mode of digital workflow software + CTP + CTF.

1. Long-distance digital workflow

This process is a fully digital workflow based on CIP3, which closely integrates the collection, processing, image and text combination of high-precision color digital images, digital proofing, output film or direct plate making, data transmission, printing and post-press. Together, to achieve job automation and integration. The whole workflow of CIP3 realizes the digitization and integration of Prepress, Press and PostPress. CIP3's fully digital workflow has high working efficiency and good product quality, marking the printing industry has entered a new stage in the digital era.

However, the current status of China's printing industry is that CIP3 workflow is difficult to promote and apply in actual production. For example, lack of funds, a set of software and hardware equipment with a matching workflow, which are expensive, generally cost hundreds of thousands of yuan; lack of digital management experience, domestic enterprises are still weak in data, standardization, and standardization capabilities; equipment is old , The composition is complex, most do not have CIP3 interface, it is difficult to fully apply digital workflow and so on. Therefore, the CIP3 full digital workflow is difficult to operate, which is also one of the biggest difficulties in promoting the application of this new technology.

Therefore, if the entire information management system of the printing enterprise has not reached a considerable level, it is difficult to achieve a fully digital workflow. But it must be seen that it is the direction of development. Therefore, qualified companies should implement it first. The good news is that many well-known developers at home and abroad have launched a set of unique solutions, which has created conditions for enterprises to implement CIP3 fully digital workflow from a technical level. The application of this process will become more and more extensive.

2. Short-distance prepress digital workflow

Every revolutionary change in prepress technology has greatly promoted the progress of the printing industry. At the same time, every progress in the printing industry is also inseparable from the development of prepress technology. The current digital technology in the prepress field is replacing traditional processes And the pre-press digital workflow will completely replace the traditional process and realize the transition to pure digital.

â‘ CTP-based digital workflow

This process has been widely used in some advanced printing companies, the effect is obvious, and it plays a huge role in actual production. The printing quality and production efficiency are greatly improved compared with traditional processes, and many users fully feel the new Technology brings efficiency, benefit and high quality.

The CTP and digitization workflow covers data processing and exchange processes from scanning input, document processing, digital proofing, direct plate making to machine printing and other links. A complete CTP system is not only a plate-making machine, the most important thing is to establish an ideal digital workflow matching it. The direct plate-making machine and digital proofing machine are just output devices. It is up to the digital workflow software to determine how it works. The role of the digital workflow in a CTP system is equivalent to the human brain and plays the role of command.

At present, there are multiple solutions for CTP and digital workflows. Among them, PDF-based workflows are currently the most popular workflows. PostScript data or other data formats in PDF workflows are converted into PDF formats. PDF avoids the unpredictability of the PS page description language. PS files from any application software and any platform are converted into PDF format. Its unity ensures the reliability of production. At the same time, PDF has nothing to do with the equipment and has a very high The compression capability ensures the flexibility and compactness of the data format. For example, the TrueFlow digital prepress workflow developed by the screen company is the core of the CTP and digital workflow. It can directly interpret PDF1.3 and PostScript3 files, and is the first in the world to run on a web browser. The workflow management system supports PDF, PS, ICC color management, layout, CIP3, PPF file output, work voucher, hot folder and other functions. It incorporates RIP technology, of which the function of RIP is to accept PS, PDF, EPS Equal format files, one-time interpretation, calculation, and formation of intermediate format files, and then output multiple times, such as generating TIFF maps, OutlinePDF, RIPedPDF, respectively used for digital proofing, blueprinting and CTP direct plate making, can make the digital process Multifunctional and intuitive automatic processing. And there is supporting EFI digital proofing software, which will output the 1-bit-tiff file or TIFF file completed by RIP on the large format inkjet printer to realize the color management of the sample output. Practice has proved that CTP and digital workflows are relatively mature. From the analysis of production practicality, it is easy to use, accurate, reliable and compatible with system integration and other signs of its maturity.

â‘¡Digital workflow based on laser imagesetter

The digital workflow based on the laser imagesetter is most suitable for the needs of most printing companies in China to upgrade their technology, because it can make full use of the existing pre-press equipment, combine the existing production system with the new system, and maximize the effectiveness. To make "old trees bloom new flowers" and continue to create benefits, it has been favored by everyone. Famous manufacturers at home and abroad have also used this process as the goal of current workflow development and launched successful solutions.

The digital workflow technology based on the imagesetter is mature, and various solutions can be used conveniently, processed accurately, and have strong compatibility. Many users have realized its valuableness in practice: they can make full use of the original pre-press equipment, exert their functions, and achieve less investment and quick results; enterprise technology has been upgraded to completely solve the cumbersomeness of the traditional pre-press production process The manual imposition operation makes the imposition operation fast and accurate; it plays a good role for the enterprise to further CTP and digital workflow; the color level information is quite stable in the transmission process, the reproducibility is good, the production efficiency and product quality Improved.

â‘¢ Mixed operation mode of digital workflow software + CTP + CTF

This operation mode is a mode in which the CTP direct plate-making system and traditional CTF equipment coexist. Its advantage is that it can gather the advantages of the two modes and flexibly choose the plate-making method according to the actual situation of the enterprise. On the one hand, it can meet the needs of most printing companies for technical upgrades, because it can make full use of existing pre-press equipment, combine the existing production system with the new system, and maximize its effectiveness; at the same time, it can avoid the use of CTP plate making for a few jobs The cost increase.

Therefore, this operation mode is the most suitable mode for most printing companies in China.

Of course, the difficulty in establishing this mode of operation is how to use digital process software to integrate CTP direct platemaking and traditional CTF process, and how to make the two modes work together. Because some of the equipment used in the prepress system in China is closed, incompatible, and not open, it is difficult for equipment and software from different manufacturers to be compatible, which makes it difficult for the effective integration of CTP direct plate making and traditional CTF process . For example, the digital process software integrates the RIP function, and the one-bit-tiff files output from the digital process software are sometimes not recognized by the laser imagesetter. Therefore, third-party RIP software is required to drive the imagesetter, which is for production. Brought some difficulty.

At present, some companies have adopted this mixed operation process model. I believe this operation mode will improve the efficiency of plate making and bring greater benefits to enterprises.

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