CIP4 Pain or Paradise?
Action Printing is an early success story in the printing industry's efforts to implement an integrated CIP4 workflow.
We are using Creo's UpFront software to create CIP4 files for re-use in their prepress department, as well as in the department bindery, on a flat bed cutter and a saddle stitcher.
We are currently working to expand our CIP4 network to include a CIP4-enabled folding machine, and to use CIP4 files created by our RIP to pre-set ink keys on sheetfed presses. We're focusing on adding CIP4 technology in every scenario where doing so will increase efficiency or reduce waste.
Action Printing arrived at this advanced stage of the CIP4 process by taking a systematic approach to what is generally viewed as a futuristic and somewhat confusing technology shift for the printing industry.
Since it wasn't feasible to replace all of our equipment with CIP4-enabled machinery, we consider the feasibility of migrating one machine at a time.
Answering three basic questions got us started on a gradual process to CIP4 adoption:
1. Where are the best places in the production process to generate CIP4 files?
2. What are the economic benefits of a CIP4 workflow?
3. What are the biggest obstacles to creating a CIP4 network?
Regarding point one, we considered two potential sources of production instructions (trim margins, sheet size, page imposition, fold and cut instructions, etc.) for data that could be saved in CIP4 format: the work order, and the imposition layout.
We viewed job ticket information as job specific, and therefore difficult to reuse for other jobs. Another disadvantage: a work order capable of saving data in CIP4 format has not been developed.
On the other hand, layouts are process specific. A 16-page saddle stitch layout can be copied easily, and reused for another job that has the same specifications.