How cloud-based systems help ink optimisation

Simply put, cloud computing is shared computing. In the past, companies would run applications or programmes from software downloaded on a physical computer or a server in their building. Cloud computing allows people to access to the same kinds of applications from a shared location.

31 Aug 2018 | By PrintWeek India

Most people do not realise this. But they are accessing cloud-based services when they update their Facebook status or even when they are checking their bank balances on their phone. In short, cloud is fast becoming the new normal. By the end of 2020, it is estimated that 90% of India’s businesses will be using at least one cloud service.

Why are so many businesses moving to the cloud? It is because cloud computing increases efficiency, helps improve cash flow and offers many more benefits.

Flexibility: Cloud-based services are ideal for publishers with growing or fluctuating capacity demands. If your needs increase it is easy to scale up the cloud capacity, drawing on the service’s remote servers. Likewise, if you need to scale down again. In most cases the flexibility is baked into the service.

Capital-expenditure Free: Cloud computing cuts out the high cost of hardware per centre or branch office. You simply pay as you go and enjoy a subscription-based model that is of a kind to your cash flow. The ease of setup / management and lower costs to build support teams makes it very friendly to the CFO.

Work from anywhere: With cloud computing, it is possible to have centralised processing which can take on the load of multiple centres and branches. Most processing can proceed seamlessly as long as there is an internet connection. With cloud computing, companies can reduce the size of their own data centres — or eliminate their data centre footprint altogether. The reduction of the numbers of servers, the software cost, and the number of staff can significantly reduce IT costs without impacting an organisation’s IT capabilities.

There are some items that one needs to be wary of when embracing cloud based systems too.

Since the cloud infrastructure is entirely owned, managed and monitored by the service provider, it transfers limited control over to the customer. As a customer, you can only control and manage the applications and data and not the backend infrastructure itself. Some administrative tasks and server management may not be passed on to us as customers.

At The New Indian Express Group, we have started our migration to cloud based systems with our first product – Ink Optimization software from Cadgraf Digitals that saves printing ink on presses. General ink optimisation software has been with us for some time, but most printing plants do not get the full value out of it. Ink optimisation software uses Gray Component Replacement (GCR) to change the separation of the image. The software will take colour (CMY) from the file, and increase the black channel (K) without affecting the quality of images. GCR software also typically adjusts the total ink limit (TAC).

Please note that the software is a heavy resource hungry desktop based application and we need to procure individual site licenses to use this in every location.

But during our interactions with the CEO of ProImage, Israel, we requested him to offer a cloud-based solution, in SAAS (Software as a Service) model so that we could use the said application in all our printing locations without incurring any major CAPEX investment.

He took this as a challenge and developed a cloud based solution in the last six months. We are using this in a full-fledged manner from 1st September 2016.

Please note that this is a unique cloud-based solution developed exclusively for us for a heavy desktop based application.

Benefits of on colour ECO software

1. Saves significant amount of colour ink. Expensive CMY inks are replaced by a cheaper K ink.

2. Show through problem on printed pages is eliminated or minimized due to better ink control.

3. Eliminates ink set-off by use of less ink on the newsprint. Faster ink drying time is achieved due to reduced amount of ink.

4. Due to increase in the usage of Black ink, better registration and higher printing stability is ensured.

5. Improved print quality and uniform colour reproduction. Better and more stable grey balance.

6. Flooding of ink on pages is not possible.

7. 220 Ink trapping level (suitable for 42gsm and 45gsm newsprint) is set for the entire page

by using this software.

8. We are also working on profiles with 200 and 180 ink trapping levels in order to opt for

much lower gsm newsprint.

9. 15% - 20% savings on colour ink.

In the cloud-based solution, we need to copy the pdf version of the colour pages in IN – HOT folder in the cloud and within a minute the processed page will be available in OUT – HOT folder.

(N Ravindran is the vice-president of The New Indian Express Group of Publications. He is a Bachelor of Engineering (Electronics & Communications) with over 26 years of experience in cross-functional areas, including IT infrastructure administration, communication engineering, operations, project management, software development and technical support with The New Indian Express Group.)