Keep automation software updated

Using automation to save money and increase capacity is quickly becoming the norm in the graphic arts industry. Automatic preflight and optimization software for customer supplied PDFs reduces the amount of hands-on work in the prepress department.

This software must be updated regularly to keep up with Adobe upgrades to Creative Suites and PDF libraries. Purchasing maintenance agreements with your software ensures these constant updates are available to you when you need them. Please note as PDF libraries change, you may notice issues developing in older RIPs. This is where automation can help by optimizing PDFs for your workflow.

The current versions of SWITCH, Pitstop and Pitstop Server have been updated to deal with new versions of software from Adobe, Microsoft, third party plugins and many other industry products. Since PDFs come from many different sources, versions new and old, automation systems must be able to handle just about anything, and they do. The latest version of Switch 09 can split and merge PDF documents without using Acrobat and comes with a brand new client. Pitstop Server and PitStop Pro support Windows 7 and there is command-line integration.

Increase Savings by Automating Colour

Saving money by employing ink saving software is also on the rise, giving print producers faster make-ready time by stabilizing gray balance and reducing the amount of ink on the sheet. These new technologies deal with Adobe PDF, which cause new issues to deal with as it advances.

Using a Colour Server inline with a Preflight Server gives you a hands-free, quality controlled workflow. The Preflight Server, such as Pitstop Server, will send jobs requiring attention to an operator to deal with. All passing files can proceed to the Colour Server, which can then convert colours to the colour setting that you have chosen as your standard and apply ink saving GCR if needed. The Alwan CMYK optimizer also has superior transparency flattening tools to create a file that can be sent to soft proof, hard proof or press.

The transparency is dealt with on several levels. First, the preference setting allows you to choose whether or not to pass items with transparencies to an operator. Choices include error folder, flatten the transparency or not flatten the transparency. This works great if you have SWITCH preflight files and sort them into categories to fit the workflow.

Secondly, the optimization settings have a section for PDF page rasterization. Here you can choose the type of rasterization when flattening transparencies. “All Transparencies” flattens everything including complex transparencies. “Complex Transparencies” allows the optimizer to evaluate two transparent objects together to maintain colour integrity instead of optimizing each object individually, as this could cause a colour shift. The complex transparencies detected are those from the effects pallet which include multiply, dissolve, colour burn, lighten, darken, etc.

Thirdly, an option to deal with overprints and overprint sensitive items is available in the optimization settings as well as in the ink purity settings. When applying GCR to areas that include an overprint, the original separation for this object will be maintained. A report will be generated with this error: PDF page contains overprint sensitive object, which forces preserve original separation. This is useful for Device N objects, spot colours and colours that do not contain black.

Keeping Up to Date

Many people are currently using Alwan CMYK Optimizer and don’t realize the latest updates provide these features. If you think the routine updates are just for bug fixes you’ve got it all wrong. A maintenance agreement will keep your workflow up to speed with all the latest PDF libraries, improvements and technology breakthroughs.

With the current versions of SWITCH 09 update 1, Pitstop Server 09 update 3 and Alwan CMYK Optimizer 3.8.0, you have updates for PDF Library 9.0, Creative Suites 5, Windows 7 and the improvements discussed in this article, plus more.

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