Prepress the game-changer

This article was first published in the November 2020 issue of AP – By Agfa Oceania managing director Mark Brindley

The role of prepress has drastically changed over the last several years. With the levels of integration now possible – not just in prepress, but across all departments in the print shop, prepress can be the game-changer for printers to provide the highest level of service to their customers, while maintaining the highest profitability.

As customers demand increasing quality on shorter lead times, an efficient workflow and reliable CtP system is imperative for a printing company to provide them with efficiency improvements in the prepress process.

Agfa offers prepress and printing systems that make commercial offset printing operations
more economical, ecological and extra convenient.

Apogee v12 workflow software from Agfa delivers increased automation and smooth customer interaction. It marks another step in the automation of print production.

The latest version of Agfa’s print production hub introduces new impositioning and approval functionalities, and adds a new browser-based GUI for CSR’s to have control over print production.

With Apogee, you control every phase of the production process from a single user interface. Even jobs that consist of multiple parts are simply processed in one flow. The latest version brings new tools, an improved performance, offered as a standalone, subscription, or cloud-based solution.

In sync with Apogee v12, Agfa has also released an update of its web-to-print software StoreFront.  Version 5.6 offers additional functionality for approvals. It features a new softproof sign-off option for customisable products and variable data printing, which is particularly useful to avoid discussions with print buyers. Secondly, the multi-step approval option enables the sequential approval of print files by multiple stakeholders, benefitting mainly heavy-duty users or users that need to build. In addition, StoreFront 5.6 saves its users time thanks to the autofill option for customisable products.

From entry-level platesetters to high-end computer-to-plate (CtP) engines – the Avalon 8-up series of thermal platesetters for commercial printing has a best-in-class solution in store for every need.

Affordable excellence that will help commercial printing businesses thrive – that is the promise of Avalon 8-up platesetters. 

With their reputation for solid dependability, these CtP engines prove themselves in terms of quality, consistency and productivity, and they are sustainable to boot. Deploying Agfa’s patented cascade system, the Arkana smart plate processor saves printers both time and money, while making operations more ecological and convenient.

Agfa’s Eclipse plate is the most convenient process-free printing plate. Eclipse eliminates the need for a processor/clean-out unit, saving printers money, maintenance time and floor space. In addition, Eclipse is just as easy to use as a conventional offset plate, combining press purity with superior and stable image contrast and excellent scratch resistance. And it is flexible too, as it can be used with either conventional or UV inks. Eclipse complements Agfa’s offset printing plate portfolio, which meets printers’ needs in different ways.

Eclipse is part of Agfa’s ECO3 approach of sustainable innovation (focussing on focuses on ecology, economy, and extra convenience), which encompasses hardware, software, and consumables that make prepress and printing operations cleaner, more cost effective, and easier to operate and maintain. ECO³ extends from the prepress environment into the press room with unparalleled ink saving and press standardisation software packages that reduce make-ready time and paper waste.

Our ultimate goal is to create more value for the entire printing business.

Besides our offering of chemistry-free plate technologies and eliminating waste, Agfa’s PressTune and InkTune are two software modules that allow printers to substantially improve their processes, and save a lot of money in their operations.

PressTune is a comprehensive and unique print standardisation solution that provides colour consistency and ensures that printing jobs meet ISO, G7, and client-specific standards. It increases productivity by lowering ink and paper consumption, significantly reducing make-ready time and improving communication between prepress operator, quality management and print buyers.

InkTune is a solution that is entirely integrated into the prepress workflow. The software works during the rendering process, ensuring that all transparencies are fixed optimally, and creates an ideal environment for the application of GCR. This makes InkTune a cost-effective solution that improves quality and lowers environmental impact.

Agfa has and will continue to invest in support, training, and facilitating our sales and technical team to support the printing Industry. We believe in working with our customer to allow them to grow. Agfa remains at the forefront of innovation within the industry as R&D allows us to develop and introduce new and improved products. Agfa is also mindful of the ecological impact in all of our product developments.

As automation is already strategically essential for every forward-thinking company, the need for remote capabilities will grow in the future of prepress, and automation will become essential to meet demand.

Technical support will compliment smarter equipment and software development with the remote operational capability. Robotics too, has found its way into prepress to streamline operations and automate plate loading in a cost-effective way – even when loading from multiple pallets into multiple CtP units and this will shape the future of prepress.

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