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Article Summary: Press Automation: Connecting the Pieces


Several components of prepress and press systems can be integrated to produce a lithographic press which achieves a high degree of automation. 

CIP3-compliant prepress workflows can be captured in Print Production Format (PPF) files. The PPF file is accessed by all prepress devices. Each device adds its output to the file and the result contains digital image and ink key data. 

Job schedulers add substrate size and thickness information and query the press for maintenance and error status. The resulting job ticket is then passed to a press management system where the press operator controls the press. 

Press setup and makeready is performed by a control system on the press. Integral features include the ability to automate cleanup from the previous job, set digital ink keys and ink up for the current job, change plates automatically and set ink film thickness. If all parameters are properly set, the first sheet pulled can be checked by the operator. 

Once the operator accepts the sheet, its color densities can be scanned by a spectral densitometer. These color standards can be maintained throughout the press run by closed loop color control by repeated automated scanning and ink key adjustments. 

Measurements and statistics can be taken and stored at any point along the automated processing train for offline production management. 

Source: Graphic Arts Monthly, Feb 2000, p. S2-S8


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