Himanshu Pandey, who is the gen-next at Avantika Printers, is now an EFI Fiery certified expert. The certificate is valid until May 2019. Pandey completed the course after he was enamoured by the system during his visit to the Bengaluru centre of EFI. An interaction with the team triggered his imagination.
When asked what motivated him to conduct the course, he says, “Upon visiting the EFI India Centre, I came across several engineers and managers, who were working on several different functions which were available as an option on the DFE’s we use daily. They were trying to understand from me how and which functions I am using on my machines to get output and I was understanding what makes them to develop those features for the market. There was a constant interaction which made me realise at that point of time being ahead in my circle I was still using less than 25% of total resource available to me; there are still different methods present in the workflow to do my job efficiently. I was getting firsthand information from the people who were constantly working to improve those features for people like us in the field.”
One such example was the Booklet Maker Wizard. It is a GUI-based function which can help even a novice user to create a booklet according to his needs without knowing which steps to use in imposition tool.
Pandey took baby steps. First he became an EFI Fiery certified professional.
He says, “I started exploring how I can utilise the resources available to me. I opted for some free courses of features on EFI Training Website (which is now called learning) and satisfied with the learning I took, I opted for the Fiery Professional Certification and completed it in August 2015. This year, I opted for the expert certification to gradually build upon my skills which I am using in daily work environment.
Being a Fiery Professional, Pandey said, was a boon, since most people see it just as a computer part of the digital print engine. But the system is much more than that. There are various tools built in inside that system which enables operator to do his task more efficiently and effectively with less steps involved.
At Avantika, Himanshu Pandey was the first one to learn the system and then he diligently trained his staff. Some of the operators picked up and mastered the tools quite fast; others took time.
Pandey says, “Our operators learn from video tutorials. Even though entry/junior-level operators are not educated enough, they pick up easily through the videos. With detailed video demos, language is no longer a barrier, and learning is fun and easy.”
Digital print specialist Avantika Printers has invested in new systems, some nifty pre-press software, along with taking up a lease for a new three-storey factory in Okhla. On a peak day, Avantika notches 30-40 jobs in one shift.
Pandey adds, “The digital presses along with their digital front-ends (DFE) are now able to produce internationally recognised industry standards such as Fogra and Gracol, which is what we try to replicate giving us the edge over others.”
Avantika started using EFI’s Fiery Exp 250 with Xerox DC 250 in 2007. Currently, they are working on the B4000 with Canon C8000, the fifth iteration of Fiery installed at Avantika. Pandey says, “Operationally, this has been a learning experience for us.” This is mainly because the Fiery has changed a lot from the EXP 250 to B4000. EFI has improved its graphic user interface and core capabilities and as Pandey explains, “the functions it offers are diversified now.”
Avantika produces more than hundred super-specialised types of jobs. These include PODs, photobooks, postcards, greeting cards, personalised desk and wall calendars, coasters, gift certificates, discount cards and the list go on. And digital printing proves to be much more feasible for such applications as the quantities as well as the turnaround time are very low.
Pandey mentions, “Fiery becomes very important for us because it is the brain which controls your entire digital print production. Even minor mistakes may cause direct financial loss. Fiery gives you the tools to see the preview beforehand and make changes, without printing even one sheet,” adding, “With the Fiery, we complete 300 jobs in a week.”
When PrintWeek India asked him how Avantika’s job submission makes sense of the mix and match approach, he says, “We have shifted 80% of our jobs out of the CTRL+P mode. We now use the import function on Command WorkStation (CWS) for a file which is 40 MB or more. We also use the hot folder function which is good for repeat and pre-defined jobs that use similar functions to save time and effort.”
He adds if your 30-40% job workload requires heavy processing, then getting an external Fiery is the priority. Day-to-day office jobs do not need external Fiery.” A simple upgradation to more robust system can save few hours that can be utilised to fine-tune your process.”
So how does Fiery drastically reduce the time frame of processing a file? Pandey replies, “We print variable data calendars every year. We do this mostly in evening time as these files need more time to process. This year, job files were published in two formats. One with PDF/VT and another with standard PDF specifications which include every object in PDF file. Team Avantika gained approximately 2.5 hours of less processing time when the file was processed with the APPE feature enabled on PDF/VT files in comparison to standard PDF. It gives us more time to print several other jobs.”
In addition, there is an advantage to do last minute changes without going back to design station with the large files (CTB’s and VDP greeting cards). Pandey says, “We can change the specific colours on the DFE using ImageViewer Color Curve Function on the ripped data itself to save time.”
Avantika uses the EFI’s inbuilt VDP for less complex jobs such as envelope address and personalised letters. While the ObjectifLune’s Printshop Mail is used for sterner stuff like “handling of complex algorithms.” The EFI DirectSmile is used for calendars and greeting cards in conjunction with the Printshop Mail.
Four reasons to get your people trained and improve skill set
1. It teaches you digital efficiency
At several digital printing units, printers do not work towards efficiency. They have a set of commands which are old and outdated and they still follow those, day after day, job after job, even after upgrading to a new robust system which has capability to improve the previous workflow with less amount of time and energy spent on daily routines.
For example, in a Fiery workflow you have an Import Files/Hot Folder option along with basic point to print (CTRL+P) function to print a file.
Suppose, if you use the Import Function for any given file not only the files will transfer fast to a DFE, it also gives option for other users in the same network to use alternate route to send files in held queue at same time rather waiting in the queue for first user files transmission to complete, and operator can prioritise any job received for output at DFE according to conditions.
2. Improves productivity
Avantika uses Fiery’s PDF Diagnostic Tools to verify files which are using different colour spaces or overprints.
For example, in Illustrator, if the designer uses a functionality called ‘Overprint’ on any object it will not appear in print until you specifically turn on the Composite Overprint function on a DFE.
For different colour spaces used in a document to be printed a operator can use Fiery Post-Flight function to check-check on that after ripping and modify the workflow of print according to the need.
At Avantika, we have used Fiery’s PDF diagnostic Tools features from System Version 9, and it helped to resolve approximately 65% of these problems.
3. Teaches you due daily diligence
All digital machines are electronic equipments, all factors contribute to final output product. Operators must check upon various factors such as temperature, humidity, media stocks used and lighting conditions before starting to print daily to maintain consistent print quality from the machine over a period. Please nb: relative humidity can be a single largest factor in producing consistent and accurate colour. Please view and approve all jobs under proper lighting condition. Or else your entire lot of printed output will be lying in trash setting you back with a massive financial loss.
4. Customer support
Customer only knows about the output he wants and under a specified budget, it doesn’t matter to him how you produce it.
In order to maintain a long-term relation with customer you must print his job accurately as per his requirements and must tell the problems in his submitted job and offer him remedial solutions for next jobs which he will bring to you.
For example, whenever a customer sets up print-related software, default settings are deployed. In India, we follow either international or European standards, which are not the same as US standards which any deployed graphics software use. So if Avantika receives files which are different from the machine workflow, we convert those files accordingly, calibrate it, print sample and always seek an approval on a hard copy before print. And if a printed approval is not feasible, then there is always the back-up of soft-proof approvals.
(EFI has started Fiery Global University, a self learn portal in order to help people worldwide to know how to use the features present on their DFE free of cost. It is recommended if you are using Fiery in your workflow try to get some updated knowledge/methods by visiting https://learning.efi.com)