In this article we'll learn:
- How to prepare a Production Job for printing
- Which sequence of steps you should complete
- Which parameters are available
1. General Overview
Once a Production Job has been created, there are a few additional steps that need to be completed to prepare the Production Job for printing. Some of these steps may already have been performed when the Production Job was created, but these steps can be changed at any time in the Production Job. If the Production Job has been created and contains the necessary Print Items, proceed as follows:
- The individual Print Items must be prepared for printing if they are not yet »print ready«.
- An Output Configuration must be assigned to the Job to determine the Printer, Substrate and Color Policy with which the Production Job needs to be printed.
- If Print Items do not need to be printed individually, an imposition must also be created. However, if Print Items should be printed individually, we recommend creating separate Production Jobs for each Print Item, as this allows batch ripping of Production Jobs.
Let's take a closer look at the individual steps below.
2. Preparing Print Data
Print data is prepared based on a Preflight check which applies industry and production based corrections to the print file, and may require additional processing using Fixups.
Before sending print data to the printer, the print data needs to be checked for producibility. A basic check of the print data regarding technical problems in the print data is already carried out when uploading the file into the Workflow using the default Preflight & Fixup correction, which was set as default by the system administrator under Administration > Settings > Preflight & Fixup.
As the name implies, both a preflight list of checks and Fixups are carried out. This preflight profile ensures a high level of quality control and ensures that the print data can be processes by the Workflow correctly before/during ripping. You can read more about this in the article Print Data Analysis.
When the check is carried out the following variables are checked and controlled.
2.1.1. Production Job related information
Customers place an order for print products, and a single order may contain:
- A specific number of copies
- A specific Substrate
- A specific print dimension
- Specific cutting/varnishing requirements. (lacquer, groove cut, etc.)
- A specific printing quality
For roll substrates or other selected substrates, the alignment on the roll or the shaft direction, for example, must also be taken into account.
All this information should be stored in the Workflow so that the respective press operators/sales team can reference the original data and the specific requirements for printing and make the appropriate corrections or changes as needed.
2.1.2. Requirements for a production ready print file
Print data must meet certain technical requirements for production. Depending on the product, these requirements may be mandatory or optional.
The mandatory requirements, which are determined by the default Preflight and Fixup include:
- Fonts must be embedded
- Files must not be protected/encrypted
- Files must not be corrupt
Optional requirements include:
- A Bleed is available in sufficient size and content
- Cutting lines or creases must be designated as Technical Colors
- Technical Colors must be set to overprint
- Grommets must be the correct size and placed in specific locations
- Captions should be placed on specific locations
- Black barcodes must be generated and output with black only
- when printing pixels, they must be backed with white when printing on transparent foils/films
- Control files available as CSV files for VDP jobs
2.1.3. Factors that influence quality
Print data must also be checked for qualitative factors. These include:
- Image resolution must be sufficient
- ∆E values for Spot Colors must be defined
- Different shades of black need to be balanced
- Source profiles must be available for RGB images
2.2. Data Preparation
For all the aforementioned factors, various tools are available in the Workflow to correct the print file with regard to job, production and quality requirements.
If you need to perform further print data corrections, you can achieve this using Fixups directly in the Workflow. Learn how to apply Fixups and where to find them in the article: Fixups and Fixup Chains.
2.3. Before/After comparison
After making any necessary corrections, take a quick look at the before/after comparison in the Before/After tab  to visually assess whether all the necessary corrections have been made.
To inform other colleagues that the file is ready for production, you should manually change the status to »Ready for Print«. Changing the status is not absolutely necessary, but it does facilitate communication within the team.
Figure 1: The Before/After tab in a Production Job.
3. Selecting Output Settings
Before you can send the print data or a Production Job to the printer, you must select an Output Configuration or choose a predefined Template. Proceed as follows:
- Switch to the Output Settings tab .
- In the Template  drop-down menu, select your pre-configured Template.
- If you have not yet created a Template, you can select a Printer, Print Configuration, Substrate, Substrate Definition, Color Policy and the Destination. Optionally, you can also set other options for ink saving or color correction, with or without color management including control of color offsetting. You can also choose a Cutter in the Output Settings if needed.
- If you have just created a new Output Configuration, you can save it as a Template by clicking on √ symbol .
- The currently selected parameters will be saved with the Production Job, so you can always reference the specific Output Settings for that Production Job.
Figure 2: Defining the Output Configuration in a Production Job.
Once you have completed this step, you can send the Production Job to the printer. You can find additional information in the article Sending a Production Job to the Printer.
4. Create an imposition
Generally if the Print Item(s) has to be output multiple times on a wide Substrate, creating an imposition is necessary, as the Print Items will be placed according to the number of copies per print item as well as in a way that reduces material waste. Proceed as follows:
- Select the Impose tab .
- Select the desired Impose Mode  clicking on the corresponding symbol.
Figure 3: The Impose tab offers four different Impose Modes.
- Clicking on an Impose Mode icon opens the Impose Editor using the selected Impose Mode. More detailed information regarding Impose Modes can be found in the articles: Manual Mode, Step & Repeat, Nesting or Tiling.
- Complete the imposition by saving it. By closing the Impose Editor, you will return to the Impose tab . The imposition result is displayed in the preview thumbnail including important information regarding the imposition and the status for the Production Job is changed to Imposed  in the Workflow.
Figure 4: The Impose tab after saving the imposition.
As soon as you have completed this step, you can send the Production Job to the printer. You can find further information in the article Sending Production Jobs to the Printer.