CIP4 Pain or Paradise?
When we looked at imposition layouts as the source of CIP4 data, we discovered that our job planning software, Creo's UpFront, was capable of exporting data for reuse in the rest of the plant. This data was already being created, and required no further purchases or labor expense.
Fortunately, we always believed in the value of thorough job planning. UpFront software had been used as a job planning tool long before the CIP4 process was considered.
Once the network connections were established, we could export CIP4 files to automate the make-ready process of the company's flatbed cutter and saddle stitcher. UpFront is the only tool we found that integrates job planning layout capabilities and CIP4 connectivity.
On the economic benefits of a CIP4 workflow, the use of UpFront and CIP4 has reduced staffing in job planning, prepress, and in the bindery. In addition to labor savings, we reduced plate and film waste over 50%.
These impressive savings result from the elimination of variations in job planning (in the past, no two people planned a job the same way) and in the setup of CIP4-enabled machines.
An automated CIP4 make-ready precisely adjusts the affected machine the same way, every time. Variations in machine settings are eliminated. This allows for fast, accurate make-readies.
We discovered the biggest obstacle to creating a CIP4 network is getting people to accept the radical changes that come with a CIP4 workflow. People who are of the opinion 'If it's not broke don't fix it' or 'That's not how we do things around here' will resist the advancements, and slow the implementation process.
We overcame this opposition through employee involvement and training. Creo, the developer of UpFront, also offered excellent on- and off-site training. Once employees were trained and involved in the creation of the new methods and procedures, the rate of innovation and adoption accelerated dramatically.