CTP and digital workflow

The application of CTP in China has been for 8 years since 2000. During this period, it has experienced several different stages of development: the "wait and see" period, the "confusion period" and the "mature period." During the wait-and-see period, the leading domestic manufacturers have taken the lead in introducing CTP equipment. These manufacturers have relatively mature technology digestion capabilities and application levels, complete related supporting technical equipment, and years of digital production management experience and production cost control capabilities, and the introduction of CTP. "Immediately," has played a significant role in production, improved product quality and efficiency, and achieved good results.

The demonstration role of CTP has made more manufacturers join the CTP family, but for manufacturers accustomed to using external film printing as the main production model, they need to face more problems to overcome. The development of CTP has entered a "confusion period."

In recent years, with the continuous deepening of understanding of CTP technology: 1. The digital workflow is the core technology of the printing plant. The production mode, business model, production management, and equipment integration of the printing factory are closely related to the digital process. The standardization of printing materials, the standardization of printing production, and the digitization of production management are the core competitiveness of printing plants. CTP technology can play an important role in this process; 3. CTP equipment itself is not mysterious, it is only an output machine, and there is no image machine. Essential difference. But its characteristics make standardized production more simple and controllable; 4. Plate is an important part of the CTP, the best application of the plate is closely related to all aspects such as the printing garage. The development of CTP entered a "mature period."

The good application of CTP can be summarized as: "The equipment must be stable, the plates should be durable, the process is the core, and management is the most important". The author believes this can also be used as a criterion for selecting a CTP brand.

CTP equipment, the plate making machine, is the first requirement for stability. It includes both stable quality and true reduction of plate points, including stable operation, low failure rate, and low operating costs. There are many influencing factors in the application of plate material, such as the drug solution and the status of the printing press. There is no need for baking version to have long printing power, no need to bake version to print UV ink is an important factor to examine the quality of the plate.

The workflow is the core. One of the current trends in the printing industry is to maintain the stability of the subsequent processes and determine the quality before printing. G7 and other standardized certifications hold this view. After the printing materials and equipment are calibrated, the printing only needs to maintain the standard state, and all adjustments are made before printing.

As with the successful application of any new technology, scientific management is the guarantee of successful application. The application of CTP, "document standardization, production standardization" is the direction of efforts. The traditional foreign film printing as the main production model of the manufacturers, the biggest change after the introduction of CTP is that foreign documents have replaced film. Foreign film does not require any treatment, as long as the printing can be. However, after the document is changed, whether the document can be handled correctly or not, whether the document has an output trap that does not meet the printing requirements, and digital proofing and color management are the biggest problems faced by the printing factory. Most of the major factors constraining CTP applications are related to this. "Document normalization" is the first problem to be solved.

"Document standardization", in addition to the internal application level of printing staff and communication with customers, the digital process should have the following functions:

1. Use a standard, open kernel. At present, Adobe has introduced the Adobe PrintEngine kernel. The process using this kernel has the greatest compatibility. It can process the latest version of PDF files and is compatible with the latest version of the Adobe desktop software, avoiding most of the output pitfalls; 2. There is a PDF preflight function. This function can ensure that PDF files meet the factory's printing requirements; 3. Integrated digital proofing capabilities. Ensure that the digital proofing and final output are processed by the same engine to avoid inconsistency between proofing and output. 4.Provide remote screen proofing and confirmation tools to communicate with customers at any time. Customers can confirm the digital film layout after screening.

“Production standardization” includes the standardization of printing materials, data-based state of printing equipment, and standardization of prepress equipment. One of the perplexities of application after many manufacturers introduce CTP is color instability. To achieve stable printing quality, you need to do the following:

1. Standardization of printing materials, different types of paper ink combinations need to determine the optimal density, establish color characteristics curve, use different combinations, need to use different curves before printing; 2. Different printing machines, different color groups, need to determine the dot expansion curve ,Periodic inspection. Keep this expansion curve unchanged during printing; 3. Regularly check the status of the plate making machine and the punching machine, and establish the correct calibration curve; 4. Periodically check the status of the digital proofer to ensure that the proofing is stable.

The application of the digital workflow is the basis for the entire printing plant and can be extended from prepress to postpress and distribution. The digital workflow has evolved from a single RIP concept and has the following features.

1. The digital process is based on JDF and can integrate various printing production processes. From Drupa2008 it can be seen that JDF-based digital workflow applications are becoming increasingly common. Past independent MIS systems, documentary systems, prepress processing, printing and postpress processing systems are based on JDF and are organically linked together. 2. Remote solutions are provided. Print buyers can upload files via the Internet. Screen soft proofing, real-time endorsement to understand the production status; 3. Mixed production mode support. With the digital printing market expanding, the digital workflow not only supports the traditional printing mode, but also supports the digital printing mode. In addition to directly driving CTP equipment, digital processes can also directly drive digital printers to meet the major production goals of digital printing in traditional printing plants. In addition, the digital process can also support variable data printing; 4. The use of mainstream core, with the greatest compatibility, such as AdobePrintEngine; 5. To provide a variety of value-added tools to reduce printing costs and improve the quality of printing. Such as InkSave ink saving technology and Sublima dot technology in the Apogee process.

Author: Shanghai Aikefa Photographic Equipment Co., Ltd.

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