With a raft of prepress innovations, Agfa continues to provide innovations to the market, as it proved this month at drupa
At drupa, Agfa Graphics took the opportunity to demonstrate the newest version of its award-winning workflow management suite, :Apogee 8, which features greater connectivity and drives an ever-growing range of digital presses. :Apogee 8 supports 64-bit systems and offers optimised imposition for large volume web printing systems.
A new merge jobs function lets :Apogee 8 determine which jobs can be combined in one production run. This cuts costs by optimising press runs. An algorithm places different jobs on the sheet in the most optimal manner. As a result, there are fewer cuts which translates to less paper waste.
Agfa says that :Apogee Suite 8.0 gives prepress operators more process control. A toolbox of plugins allows them to easily manipulate PDF pages in the workflow. A varnish plugin, for example, lets them create a spot varnish on top of text or an image. The new CSR Dashboard gives customer service representatives or production managers detailed job status reports, allowing them to interact more efficiently and accurately internally and with customers, according to Agfa. CSRs can record notes and add customer requests. All information stays with the job to ensure absolute job integrity.
Andy Grant, head of software, Agfa Graphics, says, “:Apogee 8 is loaded with innovations that cater to every type of operation-sheet and web offset as well as hybrid operations including wide format. New 64-bit support combined with virtualisation (VMWare) lets high-volume printers consolidate processing. Other tools reduce costs with efficient output management such as the job merge function. All of these improvements are the result of carefully listening to our customers all over the world and incorporating their feedback.”
Brand new at the show, :Apogee StoreFront is a new cloud-based software solution that Agfa says enables print service providers to market their services and products more efficiently. This web-to-print solution means users can set up online stores for both printed and non-printed products, making it suitable for printers who wish to attract a broader audience with additional services. As it is cloud-based, printers do not need to invest in hardware or additional bandwidth.
It integrates with :Apogee Prepress 8. Print orders from web shops can be processed by any of the 8000 :Apogee Prepress systems deployed worldwide. :Apogee Prepress 8 automatically downloads and processes orders from :Apogee StoreFront.
The Online Editor in :Apogee StoreFront lets print buyers design or edit their own documents. Occasional users can personalise pre-defined business cards, letterhead or other business documents. Power users can use the advanced editing capabilities for creating or adapting visually rich, multi-page publications. With the Online Editor, printers offer their customers a way of creating personalised print.
Laurens Leurs, product manager for :Apogee StoreFront at Agfa Graphics, says, “We developed StoreFront as a cloud service so that printers do not have to invest in hardware or additional bandwidth. They don’t need expertise in web development or internet security either. Printers can focus on extending their service offering and use :Apogee StoreFront to improve customer retention.”
Agfa Graphics also demonstrated :Arkitex Eversify at drupa. This SaaS (Software as a Service) solution offers newspapers a way to convert their print content for mobile digital publishing, without increasing production costs and still providing a rich reading experience, according to Agfa. Using HTML5 for the reproduction of images, audio, video animation and other content, :Arkitex Eversify enables publishers to deliver their newspapers to a variety of tablet and smart mobile devices.
:Apogee Impose now supports web offset printing. Designed for the specific needs of web printing operations, this rule-based imposition software takes all specifications into account, including web folding and finishing requirements, to generate the optimal imposition scheme. It supports single, dual and multiple web deliveries.
:Apogee Preflight offers improved colour management. The new document-based capability verifies that profiles are attached to all objects and automatically updates incorrect profiles. :Apogee Preflight also makes the necessary adjustments should the output target change. A new customer profile wizard generates the optimal calibration profiles for any substrate. This is a critical capability in operations that have offset, digital and industrial inkjet printing. Agfa says the end result is consistent colour output over different media types regardless of the output device or if the operator is generating a proof. ICC Profile Regularisation is an Agfa patented technology that avoids discontinuities in profiles due to folding. Agfa says this is especially important for wide-format applications and results in better and more consistent colour output.
Agfa extends plate range
Agfa Graphics is extending its patented ThermoFuse-based prepress system to high-volume printers. The company says its :Azura TS system helps commercial printers run more efficiently and to reduce their ecological footprint. The :Azura CX125 COU (Clean-out Unit) reduces gum consumption considerably and extends bath life. It is designed to handle plate volumes up to 40,000sqm per year.
For newspapers, Agfa Graphics has released two new high-speed plate setters for the high-volume newspaper market. The :Advantage N PL HS (Pallet Load, High-Speed) and the :Advantage N TR HS (Trolley Load, High-Speed), both produce up to 350 printing plates per hour. At drupa, the :Advantage N PL HS ran live, imaging Agfa Graphics’ :N94 VCF chemistry-free violet plates.
With a completely new design, it can store more than 6,000 plates configured on two pallets of 3,000 plates each plus an additional cassette, in a fully-automatic setting.