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Intelligent software is as important a component of your digital press as any hardware

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Intelligent software makes a huge difference to the commercial success of your inkjet press. That's the message that Martin Bailey, CTO at Global Graphics Software, discusses at the annual Inkjet Conference on 5th and 6th October 2016.

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Intelligent software is as important a component of your digital press as any hardware

  1. 1. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Software for digital presses Martin Bailey, CTO October 2016
  2. 2. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Global Graphics Software Software platforms for printing and digital documents Global network of partners: HP, Kodak, Delphax, Agfa, Staples, Canon, Fuji Xerox Primary markets for: PRINT PLATFORMS Commercial printing, newspapers, wide format graphics, labels, industrial inkjet, office DIGITAL DOCUMENT PLATFORMS Consumer and enterprise document applications Public Company Euronext (GLOG) Main R & D in Cambridge, UK Offices in Tokyo & near Boston Harlequin Roots go back to 1986 in Cambridge
  3. 3. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 H Harlequin technology BILLIONs of pages rendered every day with Harlequin #1fastest software Drives >70%of world’s newspaper presses 80% share of world-wide photobook market
  4. 4. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Our customers We develop the software that provides the power to drive all of these and more:
  5. 5. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 5 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Billionsofletter/A4equivalentimpressions Brochures Catalogs Direct Mail and Inserts Books and Manuals Magazines and Newspapers Other Color (including Transaction) Higher Quality Applications Printed on Coated Stocks Will Be a Key Driver in High-speed Production Color Inkjet Growth (10M+ Color Duty Cycle Segment, U.S. & W.E.) Source: U.S. & W.E. Digital Production Printing Application Forecasts: 2014-2019, InfoTrends • Overall page growth = 21.0% • Higher quality application growth = 28.7% • Other color growth = 9.1% Medium or high quality requirements Direct Mail and Inserts Books & Manuals Magazines & Newspapers High quality requirementsBrochures & Catalogs Lower quality requirements Other Color (Including Transaction
  6. 6. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Inkjet growth is going to happen • There are enough opportunities to make this an attractive market • Both for print companies and for vendors • So let’s look at the barriers • What do print companies need to delight their customers? • What do vendors need to delight the print companies? • What’s preventing delivery?
  7. 7. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Dear Vendor; is this you? • You’ve designed your press • Selected heads, inks, fluid pumps, filters, degassers, media, media transport, driers, unwinders and rewinders … etc • Everything works • You put a BMP file in a specific directory and get good output • Time to start selling! • Oh, hang on a sec • Will customers be happy to drive it like that?
  8. 8. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Sounds like a joke … • But it’s not • There are lots of companies who have pretty much done that • A press sells on: • Print formats (size, roll vs sheet etc) • Supported media • Print/color quality • … and how well it fits into the rest of the printing and finishing/converting workflow • Which includes software connectivity
  9. 9. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Message #1 • Every bit of your press system is vital • No ink? • No press • No paper transport? • No press • No software for your Digital Front End? • No press • No press? • No revenue!
  10. 10. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Quality matters! Brand managers and buyers are driving change by pushing the boundaries. They need high-quality at high-speed Inkjet press manufacturers are frustrated with output quality. They are reaching the limits of what can be achieved with mechanical improvements The faster the press runs, the harder it is to control drop placement precisely Coated and impermeable media suffer more from ink/surface artifacts
  11. 11. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Quality matters! Brand managers and buyers are driving change by pushing the boundaries. They need high-quality at high-speed Inkjet press manufacturers are frustrated with output quality. They are reaching the limits of what can be achieved with mechanical improvements The vendors know they need to significantly improve output quality and operate at high speeds to keep pages fed to the press It’s often not financially viable to fix these press problems in hardware But they can frequently be compensated for in software
  12. 12. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Fixing hardware with software • Sometimes the right software can solve a problem elsewhere • In hardware, inks, etc • It may be fixable at source • But sometimes that’s not viable financially or in time-to-market • Compensating for many things, such as • Over-inking • Mottling & streaking • Head-to-head (or nozzle to nozzle) variation
  13. 13. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Limiting ink is vital in inkjet • Using too much ink can • Make drying/curing harder/slower/more expensive • Require the press to run more slowly • Increase ink mixing on the substrate surface • Reducing the readability of barcodes and small text • Lead to cockling or paper stretch • Reduce media tensile strength in web presses • But printing companies want to make their own ICC color profiles for new media • So ink limiting and media profiling must be kept separate
  14. 14. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 High-speed inkjet drop placement • Ink drops should ideally form a regular grid on the media They usually don’t You can see straight lines along the media (up and down), but uneven lines across the media
  15. 15. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Causes common quality issues Irregular drop positioning leads to drops ‘randomly’ coalescing on the media: These microscopic effects cause visible artefacts, often described as mottling or streaking: Synthetic image with exaggerated artefacts in order to be visible on a projector, or reproduced on another print process
  16. 16. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Single pass inkjet non-uniformity • Head to head variation in manufacture and head wear can lead to banding along the print • This can be compensated for in software in the DFE
  17. 17. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Message #2 • Think about hardware and software in parallel • Each one affects the other, and software may be able to resolve a ‘hardware’ problem faster and at lower cost than adjusting the hardware itself
  18. 18. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 In our experience … • We’ve worked with many digital press vendors • Most under-estimate the effort/time needed for their first inkjet press • Both the physical press and the software • We recommend you address both in parallel • For minimum time to market • To enable best cooperation between the two • And remember, if it’s going to take you a few years to get to market … Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.
  19. 19. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 Message #3 • The market is constantly evolving • Design for the future; It may be years until you hit ROI • You will need to respond to changing customer demands • Your DFE/software must be part of that • Your customers may tell you they only want to print runs of 5000 copies right now • They’ll probably want variable data and every-page-different when your press ships • What does that mean for your data rates?
  20. 20. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 20 The big message Intelligent software is as critical a component as the print head, media, ink, fluid control, paper movement, electronics, etc
  21. 21. Copyright © Global Graphics Software Limited 2016 QUESTIONS Speak to us here at The IJC or contact me to find out more martin.bailey@globalgraphics.com We welcome enquiries from journalists writing about DFEs, inkjet printing, variable data printing & PDF/VT, screening, colour management: jill.taylor@globalgraphics.com For more information: www.globalgraphics.com

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