Assured Beginning With Fiery
“When I decided to start a digital printshop, the one thing I was most certain of was to invest in top quality machinery and equipment. Choosing the EFI Fiery was a no-brainer,” says Sriram.
Sriram started his entrepreneurial journey by running a service centre for Philips for many years. He also spent a few years at Bengaluru’s Photokina Colour Lab before starting his own company, CDPD.
“I had a few friends in the photo industry. My experience in Photokina made me realise the potential of the industry. With the learning and confidence gained over the years in the industry, I set up this shop,” he explains.
“The main goal was to carve a niche for myself and a place for the company in the competitive, but hugely satisfying photo printing segment,” Sriram adds.
Quality, The Growth Mantra
With quality as the main focus, CDPD installed the Xerox Versant 80 press at the centre of its operations, along with the EFI Fiery DFE server. “The first year was bumpy, but that was expected. After a six-month gestation period, we knew what the market is looking for and set our sights on producing consistent, high- quality output,” says Sriram.
“Focusing on producing images as beautifully captured by our long list of professional photographer clients, quality of delivery takes precedence to everything else,”he explains.The focus on quality made it necessary for the unit to calibrate the press on an everyday basis and ensure colours render as expected.
“Thanks to this, our growth has been strong with positive word of mouth from our existing customers,” he adds. Sriram insists that the focus on quality has led him to prioritise the latest technology and equipment for his set up.
“We have consciously invested in the latest technology, and Fiery was one of the first on the list of investment,” he explains. The print shop also carries out all post-press operations in-house.The company is equiped with a cutter finishing device and also laser and embossing equipment.
“I believe our strategy has also ensured our delivery is consistent and on-time, which is a crucial USP to our operation,” Sriram says.
The Fiery Journey
Before setting up the company, Sriram visited several digital print shops to understand what makes each of them stand out. In the process, one key finding was the quality of output produced by units with internal servers vis-a-vis the companies using Fiery was very evident.
“These factors made my decision quite easy. Any press investment in the future would also involve an EFI Fiery,” explains Sriram. He believes ripping, print job workflow, and Fiery Impose are the top three features in the Fiery. “While ripping has its advantages in terms of speed of print, Fiery Impose makes it possible for us to print multiple jobs in the same pass considering the fact the printable area is 12x18 and the media size is larger,” he adds.
Colouring It Right
Explaining the advantages of Fiery Color Profiler Suite, Sriram emphasised on the need to produce the right colour in the best possible way for albums. “The Color Profiler suite is one of the Fiery tools, which we regularly use, mainly for calibration and also other functionalities such as colour matching and verification,” he says.
“I must say this tool plays a significant role in the recognition we get for producing colours as intended by our clients. We can produce similar, high-quality prints every time, despite many factors and variables affecting the possible output,” he adds.
Fiery has several preset options, which Sriram believes makes his life more comfortable. He says that the solution can be easily used by a novice staff member with minimal knowhow.
“Several factors such as trays and media weight are fed in both local and server presets, thereby enabling processing jobs faster and more efficiently,” says Sriram.
Hands-On With Fiery
His passion and involvement in using Fiery is further evident with his handson approach in putting the features to use.
“While all my staff members are well-versed with using the various features in Fiery, the Color Profiler Suite’s calibration and colour management tools are solely managed by me. This ensures we maintain our high standard of output that we strive for and more so because of my passion for the subject,” explains Sriram. When used with EFI’s spectrophotometers (ES 2000), it allows him to create, edit and maintain colour profiles, and match the colour to a reference. CDPD also carried our regular linearisation and calibration for different papers.
Paper is profiled and calibrated in roughly 30-45 minutes. Fiery Color Profiler Suite also helps differentiate between M0, M1 and M2 profiles.
“The ease of use of the tools and the constant support from EFI team has only ensured we are well aware of all the latest functionalities that have been added on and implementing them in our environment at the earliest,” he adds.
Working On The Edge
CDPD was one of the few Indian customers to try out the Fiery Edge colour profiling technology as part of the Color Profiler Suite. Sriram says that there are several noticeable improvements with the Edge tool.
“One key difference I found is the colours are richer, as it is calibrated on 1,847 dot patches. Also, the gradients are much smoother than what we used to achieve earlier with our default system,” he explains.
Fiery Edge, which was launched globally in September 2019, gives users the ability to define colour-to-black transitions for reduced image peppering, graininess, and smoother transitions, which is useful for colour-critical applications such as photo album printing.
“I think it does what the name says; it gives an edge over our competition by enhancing print quality. The Fiery Edge functionality has been tried and tested for the wide and super-wide presses over the years, before its recent introduction to cut-sheet presses,” adds Sriram.
Automated For Efficiency
Speaking about print job workflow and the Fiery Workflow Suite, Sriram believes the ability to work on the files and import them directly onto the job queue saves them a lot of time and eliminates human error significantly. “We get unformatted files most of the time. The PDF tool in the Fiery is handy in such cases. It also ensures all the processes related to the job remain within the Fiery environment and the flow of information is seamless and automated,” he explains.
“We have several plans for the future in terms of expansion and increasing our print capacity and capability soon, and Fiery would play an integral part of any plan,” concludes Sriram.