With today’s ever-changing technology landscape, it has never been more important for any company, in any industry, to cut costs and increase productivity. This is true for the commercial printing industry. This article looks at three ways any commercial printing company can increase operations, and thus productivity. All three of these can vary in scope; so you can incorporate these suggestions into your operation no matter what size operation you have.
1- Implement a Color Management System
These days, color management is digitized. So, that means less quality (or information) is lost from stage to stage during the workflow. However, just because things are simplified doesn’t mean that quality isn’t lost and errors don’t occur. Remember, with commercial printing, you are dealing with several different devices that have their own specific color information for whatever file is being printed. Computer monitors, scanners, cameras, and inkjet printers all share a common color space. And, it is the commercial printer’s job to reproduce these colors as accurately as possible.
In his book, “Understanding Color Management”, Abhay Sharma definitively states that we need color management because every imaging device has its own “personality”, and the final result will only be of high quality if the individual characteristics of each device are taken into account. Experts recommend things like hiring a consultant, investing in a custom color management system, and sticking to the four C’s of color management: consistency, calibration, characterization, and conversion.
2- Maximize Usage by Minimizing Waste
As costs for materials and resources rise to new heights, the need for faster and more accurate print-defect detection in industrial printing systems has never been greater. The technology itself has come a long way since even five or ten years ago. Aside from the element of human error, but not to diminish it’s relevancy, the wear and tear of machines and computer errors all contribute to the proverbial waste pile.
For a long time, the industry depended on human spot checks only. Thankfully, quality assurance technology has advanced by leaps and bounds since then. New artificial intelligence technology enables print inspection machines to spot-check a small chunk, or the entire web of your print run in real time. These systems employ single or multiple high-optic cameras to inspect your batch as it runs, and depending on how much you spend and which company you invest with, you can see a dramatic increase in defect reduction.
3- Automate As Much As Possible
According to an article in Print Week Magazine, nearly 80% of the printing industry desires automation of their printing systems. However, more than half of them are still running on old manual printers or outdated computer systems that cost a small fortune to update or configure. Automation is a natural evolution of the business of the commercial printing industry. The innovation and cost-savings that automation will bring upon the printing industry as a whole will have a profound effect on those dependent upon it, such as agencies in the public sector. Of course, this is simply a question of how much to invest, and in what machines.