We recently caught up with P Chellappan, partner and chief technologist, PM Digital Products, at his Chennai office to get an update on the company’s newly launched prepress software, A2Z PDF. Developed by Chellappan’s in-house software engineering team, A2Z PDF is a versatile prepress software designed from the ground up to meet the various workflow requirements of offset and digital printers. Claiming to reduce prepress time from hours to minutes and even seconds, we decided to take a demo of each feature of the software to understand how it works.
The software offers 12 categories, which further contain sections with several useful features— a range one can expect only with a combination of various software. The categories such as Impose pages for saddle stitch, Add numbers, text or variable data and Add blank pages anywhere you need are self-explanatory and once selected, they can perform a job in just a matter of minutes and a few clicks.
Talking about the need for developing software like A2Z, Chellappan said, “Being in the digital printing business for so long, we know the pain points that printers and clients suffer from. We understand the areas that take a lot of time in prepress. A customer brings a PDF file in different forms and it cannot be used as is for printing. One needs to do a lot of editing, resizing, cropping and, of course, imposing, deleting and reordering of pages. One needs a combination of software, such as Acrobat Pro, Illustrator and others to achieve the desired output before a file is finally sent for printing. A2Z is a standalone application that does away with the need of an assortment of software.”
Saving time in prepress
Chellapan says that a 100-page center pinned book printing job for, say, a quantity of minimum 100 books would earlier take hours for an operator to process, resize and set up for final processing. With A2Z, the prepress workflow time is reduced to a mere 5 minutes, thanks to several options that it comes loaded with, including Create N-Ups for all pages; Impose pages for saddle stitch; Impose pages to print one copy; which is used for printers to print a sample copy, Impose folded and custom signatures; Tile pages larger than print size, Join many pages to form one page, Split a single page into two or more; Add numbers, text or variable data; Scale, rotate and resize pages; Extract, delete, reverse or duplicate pages; Add blank pages anywhere you need; and, Combine several PDF files into one.
The software has already been shared with several digital print service providers and is in the beta testing stage. According to Chellappan, “We have already sold the software to a few known names in the digital space and are awaiting their feedback so we can include some more features in A2Z. Currently, we are not in a position to offer hands-on training on the usage of the software but we have included a useful ‘Help’ file that provides a step-by-step guide.”
The software can be downloaded at www.A2Zbinary.com at a one-time fee of Rs. 25,000. Users can start with a 15-day free trial to get a better sense of the working of A2Z. Chellappan plans to add more features to the software at regular intervals, which users can upgrade to for a nominal additional cost.