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FLEXO Magazine : July 2007
prepress w w w . f l e x o g r a p h y . o r g J U LY 2 0 0 7 F L e X O 1 9 out forcing clients to incur any additional technology costs, is to place preflight at their fingertips—or, more specifically, at their desktops. Preflight solutions now coming to market enable print sup- pliers to host an online preflighting portal, where customers can drop their digital files. Virtually any type of file, from native appli- cations to “standardized” PDFs, can be run through an automated preflight. Within minutes, the customer receives a report on the file’s integrity. If the file “passes” the test, it is then automatically collected for output and uploaded to the printer’s prepress system. If it “fails” the adjudication, the customer is prompted to fix the flaws and resubmit the job to the same process. While the preflight process may be limited to some of the nuances of package printing and converting, it will identify some of the most common and innocent of file flaws, particularly simple errors that still require time and expense to fix. An automated, quality-controlled work- flow puts the responsibility of proper file creation where it makes the most fiscal sense—at content creation. It enables the printer to streamline its own operations and ensure that tight press schedules are met. But it also benefits the customer, who gets the reassurance that the files released to the manufacturing partner are accurate and optimal, and that there will be no sur- prise prepress charges on their print bill. No SurpriSeS Beyond the implementation of quality- control technologies, Willis proffered that, generally, better communication is needed among all the players in a packaging job. “The creators, the clients, must learn to always involve the production house at the beginning of the job.” He suggested, “Consult with them on the preparations of CAD samples, stock differences, number of colors, correct use of desktop applications and so on. Then, and only then, can the job travel without hiccup, save for edito- rial changes, after the print-ready file is supplied.” What the industry should not do is be complacent or apathetic about the work- flow. “If we, as packaging prepress profes- sionals, keep fixing the jobs, then the cli- ents will never have the desire to improve. We are, in fact, our own worst enemies,” Willis stressed. Lewis reminded us all that, “The most costly plate you will make is the one you have to make twice.”? ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The former editor- in-chief of PrintMedia and BookTech magazines, Gretchen A. Peck is a Philadelphia-based freelance author who writes about the international graphic arts, printing and publishing industries. She wel- comes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article was commissioned by Markzware, manufacturers of
Golden Anniversary Commemorative Journal