ProList – a KM1 sheetfed inkjet press driven by Ultimate software

Imposition revisited – Ultimate Impostrip drives the KM1 digital press

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Ultimate's Impostrip and Ultimate Bindery – a video testiomonial
ProList goes for Ultimate's Impostrip and Ultimate Bindery To watch the video testimonial and learn more about the implementation and use of the Ultimate solutions from an operator stand-point, visit www.imposition.com/video/ultimate-puts-prolist-ahead-of-the-competition

Montreal, Canada-based Ultimate TechnoGraphics, a leader in imposition and finishing automation software solutions, has just sent a video testimonial showcasing its’ Frederick Mayland US-based customer, ProList. An integrated marketing service provider specialized in transactional and mailing services, ProList became a digital print service provider with its Konica Minolta KM1 expansion. It now prints approximately 250,000 highly customized pieces every day in a completely automated workflow. 

Viewers of the video testimonial get insight on the journey that took ProList from zero to full automation and the key solutions they implemented, making them, today, an East-Coast print leader in the USA. ProList used Ultimate’s Impostrip and Ultimate Bindery software to take full advantage of the KM1’s 23 x 29-inch maximum sheets size to “cut it right, the first time” on its 40-cutter. 

Subsequently, a 45-inch cutter was bought to take full advantage of the KM 1’s maximum sheet size. Dave Lokos, president of ProList, says the company “needed a robust solution that could optimize every sheet of paper. . . . We were just not interested in losing paper or ink.” Since the company produces mostly variable print, Impostrip also immaculately looks after the sequencing of pages and documents. 

Ultimate’s Bindery software generates JDF files that can save something like 20 to 30 minutes if a pile of sheets requires 50 trims and cuts. (My recollection of checking the first printed sheet for imposition by folding it, and for accuracy by putting pins in the cutting marks is obviously very obsolete, but it was one way of checking for accuracy in the old days. Similarly, on the cutter, one measured with a ruler and cut a few sheets as a trial before computers, memories and subsequently, PDF-JDF became a part of the finishing workflow.) I couldn’t resist sharing this for the few young people who may be reading this article!

First phase – Accurio KM1, imposition automation
Originally not a traditional printer, the management team at ProList decided to invest in the Konica Minolta AccurioJet KM-1 Inkjet Press, which combines the speed and flexibility of offset presses with the digital benefits of variable data printing and zero make-ready. ProList was driven into this world with an increasing number of short-runs and variable content orders that came in from direct marketing agencies, cultural institutions, higher education marketers, and small businesses. Sports marketers especially created a painful bottleneck on the print floor, making it impossible to continue the way they were. It needed to find a solution to these challenges quickly, and the KM-1 met those needs. To support this new powerful piece of equipment, ProList needed exact imposition software. The team at Konica Minolta immediately suggested Ultimate Impostrip to automatically generate the imposition and feed the press in a just-in-time manner:

“When we acquired the KM-1, we needed a more comprehensive and robust solution that would also make it easier to impose any size piece quickly. And maximize the number of copies we could get on a sheet,’’ says Lokos, “The power combined with the ease of use of Ultimate Impostrip made it the best fit for all our needs.”

Previously doing simple impositions using their document composition software, ProList discovered the endless possibilities of control over marks such as bleed and crop marks that Impostrip offered them. But the primary value they see in the software lies in the time and cost savings aspects. “Impostrip allows us to pre-set our impositions using hot folders, so we can standardize the sizes coming from our Data Processing department making for quick and easy impositions,’’ continues Lokos.

Second phase – finishing automation
A new 45-inch guillotine cutter was bought to handle the large sheet size of the KM-1 (23×29-inches). The team at ProList needed to find a way to provide the cutter with the prepress data automatically. They reached out to Konica Minolta for an answer who highly recommended the combination of Ultimate Impostrip with Ultimate Bindery software. Ultimate TechnoGraphics’ finishing automation solution works seamlessly with the cutter by auto-generating the PDF/JDF combo. “It works so well in fact that it requires no interaction and is fully automated,” adds Lokos. Ultimate Bindery also helped reducing paper waste by offering the level of controls that permits precise job validation, doing the right cut on every order, all the time.

Results
ProList has been using Impostrip and Bindery to automate their workflow from prepress to finishing for a year now. The results are already outstanding. They are now able to print approximately 250,000 pieces per day, the majority of which are completely personalized. “The automation is a big reason why these products are so valuable. The ability to send our PDF into Ultimate Impostrip and end up with not only a fully imposed file with crop marks and bleeds but also a file to automatically drive our cutter has leaped frogged us ahead of our competition, says ProList’s CEO and president. About Ultimate TechnoGraphics, Lokos concludes, “The support we’ve received from Ultimate has been outstanding. Their team is truly dedicated to our success. . . In the end, it’s better quality, less labor, happier customers, and a better bottom line.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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