Press pre-setting solutions
In this supporting article we explore some of the solutions available for Heidelberg press pre-setting and automation.
Pre-setting Heidelberg presses
Although the PPF file format is both open and adopted widely across the pantheon of workflow and equipment vendors, the workflow and equipment vendors will charge for ‘in and out’ software modules, exporting and converting CIP3/PPF files into appropriate formats for their specific machinery.
Investment costs and ROI can be objectively justified by time and material savings.
See our ‘makeready calculator’ for an indication of potential cost savings.
One consideration when integrating state-of-the-art Heidelberg PressCentre presses, is the once ubiquitous ‘Prepress Interface’ (Heidelberg’s original press pre-setting solution) will not, in the vast majority of cases, support PressCentre presses, and has in all practical sense been mothballed as a product by Heidelberg.
Heidelberg’s motivation in this sales and marketing decision is to ensure users migrate (and of course reinvest) in ‘the new Heidelberg link’ between prepress and press, known as PressroomManager (with the potential realisation of CIP4/JDF integration).
This is indeed reasonable where the intention is to develop a fully integrated CIP4/JDF print production workflow. However, where pre-setting is the primary requirement (which is often the case) there are reasonable grounds to argue this solution is somewhat the proverbial ‘sledgehammer to crack a nut’.
The cost of Heidelberg PressroomManager is significant on its own. The additional costs to evolve a print production system into a fully integrated CIP4/JDF print production workflow are, for many, simply prohibitive (further licenses, software modules, integration services, training and so on).
The result, in many cases, is PressroomManager behaving, for all intents and purposes, like PrepressInterface: providing pre-setting information to the press.
Fortunately, there is an alternative cost-effective CIP3/PPF press pre-setting solution called PressProfiler.
It pre-sets a wide range of printing machinery, including Heidelberg’s PressCentre presses.
The solution can bypass both the requirement for CIP3/PPF generation at the prepress workflow stage, and press network licenses (both with their associated costs) and can therefore save you money before you even begin.
PressProfiler has been particularly well received in the pre-owned equipment market and should be considered for any user new to Heidelberg PressCentre presses.
See article ‘Why press pre-setting is important’ for further information
Note: Formerly with Heidelberg, Steve has 35 years’ experience in the print industry. As Heidelberg Print Colour Specialist Steve led Heidelberg UK’s PCM activities, specialising in press pre-setting, optimisation and colour calibration.