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. 

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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