Job Workflow — Ending the Digital Divide
“We use Pace Systems’ ePace for estimating and job ticketing, which is flexible enough to be tailored for both environments. Our operators charge their time to a customized digital or offset job ticket, which we distinguish based on job number,” Stuart continues. “Customer service is handled based on the sales rep and is a shared resource. We also have a common bindery department.”
The Bureau of Engraving currently has two Nexpress 2500 digital color presses and three (29˝, 40˝ and 64˝) multicolor sheetfed machines. As a practical matter, digital-offset crossover primarily is just a factor for work that is suited to the 29˝ press because of the format size. That means marketing materials and direct mail pieces, for the most part.
“We are matching color across platforms quite effectively, and have been able to get quality off of the Nexpress that rivals offset,” he adds. “Solid color, flat fills are still a struggle for any digital device.”
“We do a lot of short-run digital work to start up a project and then do reruns of large quantities via offset. We also do a fair amount of offset runs with reprints that go digital.”
Customers have the biggest role in determining if a job is produced via offset or digital,” says the company exec. “Most times it comes down to cost and run length, but sometimes it comes down to turn time.”
Non-variable imaging work goes through the shop’s Kodak Prinergy workflow, with a few special exceptions. One example is as a customer providing a print-ready PDF that can be sent directly to the Nexstation front end that feeds the Nexpress machines.
Imposed PDFs are sent from Prinergy to the shop’s CTP system, but a JDF file is used to drive the digital presses. The workflow system’s horsepower is used to generate PDF files that are optimized for printing on the Nexpress and then kept on the file server.