The continued growth in market potential of web-to-print solutions has not gone unnoticed by the world’s biggest press manufacturer, which has refined its prepress solutions for print shops wanting to streamline their operations in order to save money and time
Heidelberg wants printers to see the big picture when they consider prepress. Soeren Lange, product and channel manager for workflow and CTP at Heidelberg Australia & New Zealand, says that the company’s Prinect Web-to-Print Manager, developed in collaboration with US company Pageflex, offers Heidelberg customers more than just the opportunity to move into this market segment with a cost-effective and highly automated solution.
He says, “Print shops need more than just a pretty web site. The Prinect Web-to-Print Manager is a fully integrated web to print solution, supporting business models for B2C and B2B. It’s an easy to use shopping portal with access to professional workflow functionality like pre-flighting. The Prinect workflow starts at the website and finishes in postpress. Prepress doesn’t exist on its own anymore and Heidelberg covers the entire process of print production.”
He points out that most printers understand the concept behind web to print and know the advantages of an automatic system allowing their customers to shop 24/7. He says, “Heidelberg sees the web to print as the perfect addition to the Prinect workflow. We believe that more and more print jobs will be ordered online.
This provides a great opportunity for printers to automate these jobs as they are typically ordered from a catalogue and therefore standardised. The Prinect Web-to-Print Manager can automatically create the job in the system without anyone touching it. The system can then make plates for offset production or send it straight to a digital device with our Digital Print Manager, which now supports variable data as well. It would even pre-set the device, for example, for inline finishing. Prinect ensures a smooth merge between offset and digital when you are doing hybrid jobs.”
Making it simple
Heidelberg has also simplified the integration process. Lange says, “The full integration between an MIS and production can be a quite complex and time consuming process. Heidelberg is still promoting the JDF approach because it provides the best data quantity and quality. However, to make things easier, we are now introducing a CSV (comma separated values) tool that enables printers to take basic data from management into production, achieving the integration far easier. The data complexity is less and it has some limitations, but the benefit is that we can basically utilise data from an excel spreadsheet. It avoids errors for re-entering data, cuts time and cost, and should therefore be attractive to many smaller printers that did not consider this integration in the past.”
Heidelberg will also launch its new Web-to-Print Manager. Depending on their business model, Prinect Web-to-Print Manager enables printers to operate one or more online shops with typical functions such as order processing and approval, user administration, dispatch and payment. The customer portal, at the front end, enables variable data processing and online document editing. Adobe InDesign or PDF files can also be used as templates. It also offers interfaces to payment and logistic systems, along with analysis tools from third-party suppliers.”
Based on a standard software programme with intuitive operation, Prinect Web-to-Print Manager requires no programming know-how. The front end can be tailored to customer requirements.
Lange says, “Prinect has always been a comprehensive environment. With the added online shop and also Postpress Manager it’s an all in one system from online order, prepress through to press and finishing that makes the most of available data from previous production steps. This means print companies don’t have to employ people to key in the information again and again. It most importantly means they can lower the operating costs, increase production security by avoiding errors and speed up turn-around times by using the workflow smarts.”
Heidelberg has also equipped its CTP imaging systems in the Suprasetter series with new functions, with the intent to offer more versatile application options, higher productivity, and lower environmental impact.
Lange says, “A new loading device, the fully automatic Auto / Dual Cassette Loader (ACL/DCL) plate loading unit for the Suprasetter 105 and Suprasetter A105 has cassette compartments and a conveyor integrated into the system, thereby reducing space requirements by up to 45 per cent.”
In the 70x100 cm format printers can choose between variants with one or two cassette compartments. They can also manually load additional plate formats on top of the two plate formats that are available directly in the loader. A turntable is an optional accessory to turn the imaged plates 90 degrees on the conveyor from landscape to portrait format. Outputting in portrait format means the plate processor is smaller, which means less investment cost, less chemistry and power and less floor space.
A new feature for security printing offers a 5080 dpi high resolution option for the Suprasetter A52 and A75 models. Both models are equipped with a laser module that can image printing plates at one of two resolutions - 2540 dpi or 5080 dpi. Lange says this new option enables smooth printing of very fine lines for applications like guilloches, microlines, and micro lettering, used in the printing of banknotes, shares, certificates, official stickers, and tickets.
He adds, “We can adjust the laser resolution so customers can decide to use that function for one job and switch it off for the next job. It is not a dedicated security device but will give them a lot more flexibility when it comes to security printing.”