Choosing a RIP software for soft-signage and textile printing

InRip color management, reporting & finishing 

Choosing a RIP software for soft-signage and textile printing
The Onyx RIP includes several InRip features including TruFit for media savings Photo Onyx

Historically only available to commercial print, the past several years have afforded new and exciting print applications in the digital inkjet print industry, which includes soft-signage and textiles. As print buyers’ needs evolve into this space, software vendors must be continually investing in R&D to provide solutions to meet those needs. Two areas that Print Service Providers (PSPs) should consider when expanding into soft-signage or textile print is color management and finishing tool controls within the RIP software.

Achieving good quality and consistent color output has been a challenge for digital textile PSPs because standards have not been adhered to nor practiced in wide-format inkjet printing. However, competitive environments and print buyers’ color output expectations force PSPs to focus on color output accuracy. 

The recent announcement of iccMAX is just one example of a color standard the International Color Consortium (ICC) recommended for all wide-format print applications, including soft signage and textiles. Color management tools within RIP software, then, must include feature sets to help PSPs achieve accurate, consistent color output across devices for all print applications that conform to color standards globally. PSPs, then, may wish to look for a RIP software that includes features such as:

  • A color engine designed specifically for wide-format print
  • ICC profiling with iccMAX v5 capabilities
  • Integrated G7 verification
  • A tool to easily match print buyer brand colors
  • A tool to prove color output accuracy
  • Process controls to ensure consistent output over time
  • Reporting and tests for standards matching such as G7 and Fogra
  • A set of controls to manage color consistency across devices and media substrates
  • A single RIP technology to limit color changes between design file and finished product

Finishing tools

Finishing tools are the other area PSPs may wish to evaluate when considering a RIP software for textile print. The finishing work for wide-format is very different from general commercial printing. There are manual steps involved in lamination and sewing. Using tools such as routers and other cutting devices add complexity to setting up print work. Because of the variety in print applications that can be produced in wide-format, each product may have different needs for pre-press, production, and finishing. However, RIP software can be incredibly useful in helping prepare a file for printing and cutting, automating manual tasks, and truncating the finishing work necessary to produce a final product. 

Solutions that provide easy tools to produce patterns, tiles, bleed, grommets, sewing marks, and automation capabilities from file-open through to print (and even post-print) saves time and reduces the likelihood of manual errors. In addition, automated processes can positively impact production capabilities, enabling the ability to print more jobs per day, directly affecting the 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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– Naresh Khanna

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