Importance of dynamic preflighting

Modern preflight applications allow to create a preflight profile; such a profile contains a set of preflight checks and fixes. Each check defines a potential problem you want to check for; each fix defines how you want to correct potential problems. David van Driessche – chief technology officer at Four Pees, briefs the importance of preflighting, while explaining how this solution works. Well, what is dynamic preflighting to begin with? You know what preflight is of course: checking different properties of a file to make sure it will be suitable for your purposes. Historically most of the preflight technologies were developed with static profiles. In such a static profile each check and fix is defined by you and is used unaltered on every file that is checked. The included illustration shows an example of such a check on the trim size of a document: it shows how you create a rule to check the size of an advertisement in callas pdfToolbox.

The fact that you use static checks in preflight profiles has very important consequences; it means that every time you want a check to be different, you have to create a new preflight profile. And while that seems like a small thing, think of a typical publication where you have five or more ad sizes… If you want to make sure your clients deliver the correct size to you, you quickly see the number of profiles you have to create multiply or you have to build very intricate workflows with multiple preflight steps and a lot of duplication of efforts.

Where most of the preflight technologies got stuck with those static profiles, callas software developed dynamic checks to overcome the problem. It’s easily the most valuable and at the same time most under-used technology in callas pdfToolbox. So how does it work?

Well, compare the previous illustration with the one for a dynamic preflight check:

Instead of including specific numbers to check for, the preflight check now specifies variables. Each variable has a name (such as ‘trimWidth’), a description and a default value. This means that the check no longer depends entirely on the preflight profile; instead you can run this preflight profile and set different values for the variables on the fly.

When using automation technology such as Atomyx Automation, having dynamic profiles opens up all kinds of new possibilities. As illustrated in the screen grab from the callas pdfToolbox Server configurator in Atomyx Automation, you can now pass along the values you want to use, while maintaining a single preflight profile.

This means that you can now effectively check a property of the incoming PDF files – such as a piece of embedded XMP metadata or a part of the name of the PDF file – and decide how you are going to preflight that specific PDF file with your preflight profile, which provides a way to avoid having to build and maintain a plethora of different preflight profiles. Everyone who’s had to build complex workflows knows how much easier and quicker that can make your job.

Oh, and one more thing… Not only does the dynamic profile technology allow you to pass different values to a dynamic preflight check or fix, it also allows you to dynamically turn a check or fix on or off. That means you can build a profile where you decide on a file-by-file basis whether certain checks have to be run or not.

Succeeding with callas pdfToolbox

Anticipating the new trend in the printing industry and entering a new market, New Zealand-based Soar Printing wanted to offer a WEB2PRINT solution for people who know how to use Adobe products and how to create print ready PDFs. Soar Printing was looking for a way to provide instant quoting and inline preflight to customers and at the same time remove the ongoing cost of those activities.

Ultimately, based on callas pdfToolbox Server, PDF2PRINT was setup as an independent storefront solution, targeting new customers throughout New Zealand. The ease of setting up standardized quality control using pdfToolbox allowed Soar Printing to not only build the solution into the storefront, but to also use it as a hot folder based application in-house. The geographical distance between Soar Printing and callas software did not cause any issues. “The fact that callas software is situated in Europe and in New Zealand creating no problems at all. The storefront solution was developed over six months; questions were quickly answered and sometimes the time difference even made it easier because the answer or a recommended setup was sent over night. It was an interesting way to work,” conveyed Fred Soar, managing director, Soar Printing.

A print upload portal built with callas pdfToolbox, PDF2PRINT allows preflighting and corrections on uploaded PDF files. It is an affordable and fast way to do easy print jobs without sacrificing quality and behind PDF2PRINT the newest digital and offset machines are used to attain the highest quality standards. In order to offer amazingly low prices, Soar Printing has kept a standard range of products that can be ordered through PDF2PRINT, including business cards, flyers, postcards, brochures and posters.

What happens when a customer orders through the PDF2PRINT storefront? The PDF file appears on Soar Printing’s server together with information about the order and the price it was ordered at. The PDF file is preflighted and corrected in callas pdfToolbox. The order is then automatically transferred into the MIS system; once this is done, production can be started. In the background, calculations are running to work out where the break is between digital and offset printing for each product and price accordingly. Depending on those calculations, the order is printed either on an HP Indigo 5500 digital printing press or on a Heidelberg Anicolor press.

With the launch callas pdfToolbox software, Soar Printing started a marketing campaign including online marketing and direct marketing to attract new businesses. The uptake in traffic and visitors has been significant and the orders have been coming in.

For details contact: Radhika Systems & Solutions; email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;
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