Let's talk about the best-of-breed prepress solutions used by ABT...

ABT Räume Details No2

ABT Mediengruppe, an expert in sustainable media communication in digital and print for medium-sized businesses with headquarters in Weinheim in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region, employs around 50 people. Each year, the company handles around 4,500 'print jobs', all ranging from business cards, catalogs with several 100 pages, flyers in variable quantities, to large-format posters. To ensure that the PDF files are reliably processed, ABT introduced callas pdfToolbox back in 2006 which ensures that the PDF files are structured without errors and thus achieve the desired print result. As part of the processing procedure, Enfocus Switch passes incoming print data to pdfToolbox, which checks it for resolution, color spaces and fonts, as well as dimensions, and then corrects it. Switch in turn makes the results available in predefined folders - one for files without and one for with error messages or warnings. If it is not possible for pdfToolbox to correct the errors on its own, the employees of the ABT Media Group make use of the corresponding reports from the callas solution to then correct these errors manually.

With the interaction of the two solutions, the ABT Mediengruppe has been able to accelerate production processes to a high degree. What was missing at some point, however, was the ability to control standard jobs in a fully automated way. Frank Hoffmann, the team leader of the prepress department was heard saying:

"Like other companies, we were confronted with the fact that print runs are falling. In order to keep the volume high and thus work economically, we were challenged to process more jobs with the available resources."

For the company to achieve this goal, prepress processes needed to be as uninterrupted as possible and with least manual intervention. When evaluating suitable solutions, ABT was faced with the decision of whether to implement a closed system from one supplier or products from several manufacturers. One major reason to go down the multi-product route was the flexibility and openness to integrate further products in order to be able to cover future requirements.

A partner in the name of calibrate GmbH then recommended that the existing products could be expanded to include the in-house MasterProfile, the Krause Imposition Manager and the Impressed Workflow Server (IWS) (more info on them below). The calibrate MasterProfile is a variable extension of pdfToolbox, with which all presets including possible variables are uniformly described in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format in a file. The associated advantage is that instead of different setting files, only one dynamically controllable file is used, which of course massively simplifies handling.

Based on the above recommendation and after calibrate's MasterProfile, ABT introduced the Impressed Workflow Server, an in-house development by Impressed GmbH. This is an automated PDF workflow solution for prepress that manages jobs with database support and controls them via a browser-based graphical interface, providing a component for a smooth production workflow. This system includes the corresponding interfaces with which Enfocus Switch, callas pdfToolbox, calibrate MasterProfile and Krause Imposition Manager are controlled and the production data is made available.

As of now, in order to achieve the desired print results, checking the PDF files and color management take on a central role during processing which means using pdfToolbox to check and correct the color profiles in connection with the printing paper to be used. It also ensures that the page format created matches the height and width of the print sheet. Finally, the Krause Imposition Manager is used for digital sheet assembly. With the help of information stored in the job tickets of the Impressed Workflow Server, this enables automated and optimized impositioning on all machines for all printing processes.

Since ABT started using these solutions in the prepress area, the company has been able to successively optimize its processes. The media designers, who previously had to do the work to ensure reliable processing, can now devote themselves to more creative tasks.

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