Case Studies

“Proof of Success” – OKI’s C9600 Series Printers Create a Positive Impression at Heidelberg Printing Machines


Germany’s Heidelberg uses OKI's C9600 for color proofing.

For several years now, Germany's Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) has been using OKI Printing Solutions' C9600 Series printer as a color proofing machine. The C9600 (MICROLINE 9600 PS)was first used in tandem with Heidelberg's Color Proof Pro Station in 2006 at the German company's headquarters.

Heidelberg is the world's leading solutions provider for print media. It has a strong reputation for driving the efficiency and profitability of its customers through the delivery of advanced printing techniques and solutions. As well as optimizing prepress, press and postpress procedures, Heidelberg offers a workflow system and associated applications which can manage the complete process, encompassing everything from production flow to administrative tasks. The Prinect Workflow, system specifically designed for print shops, is capable of delivering efficiencies across the entire process from preliminary preparation to actual production workflow.

Today, in the print media industry, the use of PDF-formatted files in submitting drafts is common, as is the process of printing using a film-less method called computer-to-plate (CTP).

The working environment in the prepress industry has changed dramatically in recent years. Most of the production workflow is now digitalized. Creative staff often bear greater responsibility for the quality of the color output. Since they frequently exchange drafts electronically, it is essential that they have access to a printer capable of managing color effectively. It is now common to use large-scale color printers for color proofing. Under these circumstances, it is much more efficient if the design firm and the print shop can confirm and progress the process while working in the same environment.

A proofing printer needs to simulate colors quickly and precisely. At the postpress stage, it also needs, where necessary, to prepare and bind finished images. Printers used in proofing in conjunction with this MetaDimension ColorProof Pro Station are typically inkjet devices set up specifically to approve data through ongoing evaluation testing.

Facing up to the Challenges

Historically, Heidelberg had used large-scale inkjet printers for color proofing. This approach presented the company with many challenges. Typically, it was not possible to use paper for the proofing process that was the same quality as that used in the final print as the printed color would be too thick on the page.

Usually, the preparation of bulk samples was difficult and unwieldy since they were generally printed on such large paper sizes that the edges would need to be trimmed and folded so that the finished image could be clearly seen once the binding process had taken place. This was especially important when the proof was needed as a reference at the postpress stage.

As result, there was increasing demand for page printers that would be convenient for simple proofing. The issue was that these kinds of solutions are typically unsuitable for color proofing.

Finding a Solution

The ability to use the C9600 Series printer, incorporating Heidelberg's RIP, the world's most advanced color-conversion processor, has changed this situation completely. The solution directly controls MICROLINE's colors when processing proofs. It is also equipped with lithography technology. As a result, it can be used for simple proofing and can also be deployed at the actual printing site.

In addition, print shops can now review work in the same environment throughout the process since many designers are also OKI users.

The solution's processing speed is attractive, too. OKI's printers have a reputation for fast processing anyway. Now it seems that the engine itself is faster still. In addition, it is very easy to bind-print with OKI's page printers, enabling rapid delivery to customers. And spotting imposition mistakes is easier than ever.

In Japan, OKI's printers have been widely used as standardized machines at graphic designers' and prepress sites. In fact, they are known as the first PostScript printers in Japan. And now, following a further refinement in technology and performance. they are helping to support seamless and smooth digital workflows.

In the future, the ability of print shops, production firms and project owners and to install and use the same brand of printer will help to enable remote color proofing, ultimately resulting in even greater efficiency levels.

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