The RIP outputs files to both digital presses and platesetters which allows users of conventional printing techniques to use digital print production to produce short print runs as well as single prints. The colour specifications are often device-dependent. In order to ensure accurate colour reproduction, the RGB or CMYK values in colour specifications have to be further specified by a reference colour sample or an ICC profile.
“The end-user client always expects an identical colour reproduction if the same source files have been provided for use within the entire production process, but this assumption is incorrect. Every combination of a specific printing method with a defined printing material and a distinct ink system represents a specific printing system with a unique colour characteristic,” says Vishnuu Kamat, vice president - sales, Advanced Graphic Systems (AGS), which represents ColorGate in India. He adds, “This is rightfully done by a preceding colour characterisation of the printing systems in the form of ICC profiling.”
That’s where ColorGate’s Production-server comes into play. “This ICC-based system defines distinct colour reproduction workflows which ensure an exact predictability if and how a respective tonality will be reproduced on a system,” says Kamat.
It is critical, especially when more than one printing technology is being used on a shopfloor.
The ColorGate software is capable of driving multiple devices concurrently including wide-format, CTP and digital presses, and uses parallel processing to take full advantage of available hardware resources, effectively running multiple Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPEs) in tandem and load balancing across them.
ColorGate launched a new modular version of its Productionserver RIP at Drupa 2016. The version 10 of the software comes in five variants, each aimed at different applications: ceramic, decor, packaging, textile and lab edition for industrial printers. According to Kamat, all are based on Productionserver software, developed over ten years, but had been tailored for each sector.
“If you print on ceramic tiles it’s an inline process and you need white primer and a varnish on top all in a single pass, but the colouration is not so crucial. If you print a logo on a bottle the brand owner will be very critical of colour. If you’re printing a wood pattern on boards it needs to match in multiple runs,” Kamat says.
What’s new in version 10?
The ColorGate version 10 uses the latest version of the Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE) RIP engine “for a fast image processing of complex graphics without any surprises.”
“During the integration process of APPE, ColorGate removed bugs and improved the stability further. Additionally, the overall processing speed of PDF/X and PDF/VT was further optimised and the overall handling of multi-page PDFs was improved,” added Kamat.
The high-performance industrial printing systems are capable of printing hundreds or even thousands of square metres per hour. Kamat says, “It is vital, that the front-end solution is capable of keeping up with these speed requirements, which includes PDF or raster formats, such as Tagged Image Format File (TIFF). Even in commercial printing environments, the performance requirements are increasing steadily, especially since often print data has to be served to multiple printers at once. Due to these requirements, the processing architecture of all version 10 products has been optimised to substitute sequential processing steps with parallel task processing.”
Ink Saver Module
The Ink Saver Module is the USP of the Production server, which Kamat claims, can help reduce the total amount of ink by up to 30 per cent “without a visible loss of quality, which also means a reduction of the total printing costs.”
The Ink Saver is available for CMYK, light-colour halftone printing systems as well as for multi-colour systems.
Multi-host and single-host licenses
Starting with version 10, ColorGate comes with the new licensing models. The new Multi Host License (MHL) is suitable for end-users, who use two or more PC workstations for print data preparation because with MHL the RIP Software can be installed and used on multiple PCs.
The new MHL model allows concurrent usage on as many host computers as licensed by the licensor, in daily operation. The software access can be flexibly assigned between all available host computers in the local area network.
“This increases the efficiency and productivity of the entire workflow, because print preparation, print data creation and print output can be performed simultaneously,” says Kamat.
The ColorGate Single Host License (SHL) contains all well-known benefits of a simple and secure licensing process for a single license that can be installed and used on one system.
Recently AGS implemented ColorGate’s new portable version of its Rapid Spectro Cube (RSC) colour measurement system for ceramic printing segment in India in order to create ICC profiles using Productionserver RIP.
The minimum patch size is only one millimetre. The RSC takes measurements of very small objects, for instance from business card sized labels, from which the RSC can read up to 1000 colour patches in just a few seconds, which will be processed into high-quality ICC profiles.
Kamat explains, “It contains an ultrafast colour measurement system and software for ICC profiling. RSC can take substrates right up to a size of 600x600 mm with a maximum substrate thickness of 80 mm while processing as far as 10,000 patches per target.”
Besides this, RSC includes an option to measure backlit-materials (transmissive measurement), in order to process and profile objects like City Light posters and backlight displays. In batch mode, the RSC allows the creation of up to 20 profiles per hour.
Sai Flexi 12
FlexiPrint SE, FlexiPrint and Flexi Sign & Print offer RIP and workflow functions, with the second two also supporting multiple printers and print and cut working. A full Flexi 12 package is also available.
Caldera version 11.1
This suite of products and add-ons are equivalent to the Onyx Suite and can drive a long list of printers and cutters from most manufacturers.
Onyx Graphics Software 12.2
The current Onyx 12.2 was introduced in July 2017. It’s modular and scalable and aimed at “across the full spectrum” of wide- and grand-format applications.
The Fiery XF Version 6 is a way to introduce sophisticated colour management, including media calibration and output optimisation of wide-format device.
Advanced Graphic Systems (AGS)
Vishnuu R Kamat