|Direct to Press Inc.
||How does the Heidelberg DI
benefit the environment?The DI (digital printing) process eliminates the hazardous waste materials right up to the final step of printing! No film or film processing is requires, the plates are non-photo-graphic, and the disposal problems associated with the heavy metals and chemistry are eliminated, as are the costs associated with these activities.
Since DI (digital printing) is a waterless offset printing system, fountain solution and alcohol substitutes are eliminated. . Paper waste is also reduced significantly since the DI boasts a very quick make-ready time.WHEN YOU USE THIS PROCESS,
YOU ARE HELPING THE ENVIRONMENT! Direct Imaging - tips and tricks for designers This Designer's Guide is designed to help our clients avoid possible errors in the phase prior to printing and the delays which occur as a result. If you follow our tips and tricks, you will avoid errors and problems in handling data. This Designer's guide is intended to help you to help us to deliver your printed materials in the form you want, on the day you want.
1.) Page Layout Data
The maximum imaging format for DI is 12.5"x17.75", with a maximum sheet size of
12.5x18.125". Define the page size for the document, or set the original size of your document. Please check whether the trimming is set to 3 mm. Make sure that you trap your objects with 0.144 points, if necessary. Please note that each trapping you create will be printed in the same way as we receive it from you. If your product is to be folded, please specify the correct position and folding style using proper crop marks in your file.
Convert all image data from RGB to CMYK. For best results we recommend an area coverage of 95% for black and a total area coverage of 340%. Save the images as TIFF or EPS. Do not use DCS, Sitex CT, JPEG formats or LZW compression. Don't use TIFF files with alpha channels or bitmap mode. Avoid the placement of half-tone images in EPS or TIFF files. If QuarkXpress or PageMaker pages are saved as EPS data and placed in another document, please send the QuarkXPress pages and all the data which are required for this page. Enclose the original Illustrator or FreeHand document if you have imported graphics from FreeHand. Scan line images with 1240 dpi or higher. This will ensure optimal quality. Set a scan resolution of 300 dpi for color images at 100% size. Use an EPS file format when a clipping path is necessary and set path flatness to 5. Only import your scans into a layout program in 100% or lower zoom values. Enlargements may impair quality. Turn, scale and trim all images before you import them into your document. Set the image frame background color, if possible, to white with 0% black in QuarkXPress. Convert the curves in Photoshop and use the qauss soft symbol to prevent steps. Do not save any screen information and separation curves in your Photoshop document.
Â 3.) Fonts and lines
Use Type1 fonts (fonts with both screen and printer icons). It is important to tell us all the font names. Take a little time to check all your illustrations to find the fonts used in them. Supply us with all fonts used on documents. Select a font from the font menu. Do not use any style options from menu or keyboard if possible, Define the lines using precise dimension systems. If you wish to use a hairline, define it as a 0.25 point line. Define all color names uniformly and use CMYK both in your graphics and in your page layout program. Do not mix Type1 & True Type fonts in the same document.
Spot colors must be converted to CMYK. For solid black areas use rich black. Create a rich black color using 60% cyan, 60% magenta, 60% yellow and 100% black. This helps to make the black areas more glossy in your final product. Use photoshop blends for best produced blends. Add noise (7 point, gaussian) to produce the best results. Illustrator, Freehand or QuarkXPress blends have a greater tendency to produce banding. Lighther blends print better than dark blends. Try not to run your gradient color to zero. Avoid solid colors. Rather than using a solid color, use a texture pattern or add noise to solid.
5.) Data Directories
Supply us either with a color proof. Regardless of what you decide to supply, please supply us with a hard copy in a size of 100%. Please let us know the data directories under which you have saved your jobs. What is a Quickmaster DI?
The Heidelberg Quickmaster DI is a four-unit, waterless offset printing press which links directly to any PostScript prepress system through a process called Direct Imaging. Direct Imaging utilizes the digital information from PostScript systems for press set-up and on-press plate imaging. Among the major process features of direct imaging is the elimination of film, photographic plates, and all chemistry usage and disposal.
The DI also serves to reduce labor intensive processes normally associated with lithographic printing. This press images all plates in register, simultaneously, and presets the ink zone settings based on the page coverage requirements. Also, it prints without waste, so dampening is not required. In short, page preparation and make-ready times are dramatically reduced.
What is Direct Imaging?
Direct Imaging is the bridge between electronic prepress systems and true offset printing. The DI allows digital data to be sent directly to the printing press using direct-to-press, non-photographic technology. No more film or chemistry!
What are the primary benefits of the
Since the DI eliminates the majority of manual processes, it excels in meeting marketing trends in many areas. The DI is indeed a cost effective method by which to produce four-color print runs of 250 to 20,000 pieces. You'll enjoy fast turnaround time and exceptional imaging quality.
What is the quality of print like?
The DI's image quality is comparable to traditional lithographic printing. As a result of its laser diode technology, the edge sharpness and dot shape produced on the DI are the same you would expect from a conventional imagesetting device.
Why are there two levels of resolution?
The DI is equipped to provide two levels of resolution; either 1270 dpi (dots per inch) or 2450 dpi. For most applications, we recommend 1270 dpi imaging. The keeps the file size small enough to accommodate up to sixty 11"e;x17"e; make-readies on-line at once. In addition, it helps to maintain a consistent six minute imaging time. A resolution of 1270 dpi is sufficient for work up to 150 lpi (lines per inch). For more critical applications, 2540 dpi resolution is available. It should be noted that both imaging time and file storage will increase by a factor of three to four times when 2540 dpi is in use. This is much the same as you'd encounter with a film imagesetter.
How does the DI compare to "digital presses"
like Indigo or Xeikon?
Actually the two technologies complement one another. Electrophotographic printers, such as Indigo or Xeikon products, provide good copier quality. From a technology standpoint, all are PostScript imaging devices. That's where the similarities end. The Indigo and Xeikon are electronic printers, or xerographic devices. An electronic charge us applied to a sheet of paper and either dry or liquid toner particles are polarized (oppositely charged) so the toner adheres to the sheet.
The DI takes advantage of an entirely different technology known as dry lithography, or waterless printing. From a marketing standpoint, the DI and electronic printers, even color copiers, address the quick turnaround, short run, four color process printing market. When you're looking at a run from 250 to 20,000, however, the DI offers the highest quality, most COST-EFFECTIVE solution on the market today.
What paper can run on the DI?
The DI can print on any substrate from 24lb. to board in thickens up to 12 pts. Choices include all substrates that can run on a conventional offset press, including coated, uncoated, recycled, and self-adhesive papers. Sheet sizes 13.5" x 18.125".
How are files RIPed on the DI?
The DI utilizes a "Software RIP". This type of RIP is generally preferred because it's easily upgraded and can execute on many standard computer platforms. The computer Heidelberg chose was the DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) AlphaStation 2000 with a Microsoft Windows NT operating system. This is one of the fastest combinations of hardware/software on the market today. Under most circumstances, we will RIP and separate customer files in times ranging from four to eight minutes. Since the system is multi-tasking, files may be received over the network, and the press will continue printing while other files are being RIPed.
Why is a waterless system preferable in
short-run color printing?
Waterless printing provides for easier and quicker make-ready, a sharper dot structure, and greater flexibility in ink lay down since there is no dampening system to bring into balance. In addition, waterless lithography results in less paper stretch, lower dot gain, and more consistent process control. Finally, the elimination of fountain solution in the dampening system helps reduce pressroom VOC emissions.
How does Direct Imaging work?
Direct Imaging works by a technique called "ablation technology". Wherever ink is to be laid down, a laser removes the silicone and image-forming layers from the plate, thereby exposing the base layer of polyester which accepts ink.
What's so special about these printing plates?
These plates are non-photographic, require no chemical processing, and are insensitive to normal daylight. The plates are composed of a top layer of silicone that repels ink (which provides the waterless offset characteristics), a middle image forming layer which initiates the imaging process, and a base layer of polyester that accepts ink and provides dimensional stability to the plate.
How long will these plates last?
These plates are good for one-time use of at least 20,000 impressions. Projects are, however, stored on digital data cartridges. When a job is to be run again, the data is simply reloaded via the DI server or press computer, and then run like any other job. Jobs may also be reRIPed using the front-end system normally used in production. In either scenario, you'll save the time and cost of normally associated with setting the ink key profiles.
Are the plates recyclable?
The plates consist of 99% polyester and a very thin top layer of silicone, both of which are completely harmless to the environment. So, yes, the plates are recyclable. The plate manufacturer, accepts the used plate material, or the plates can be recycled through normal channels.
What inks can be used with these plates?Process colors, Pantone, varnishes, and metallics are all available for use on the DI. In general, if an ink may run on a wet offset press, it may be used on a waterless offset press.