By Melissa Donovan
Part 2 of 4
Software used to automate the production process of digitally printed textiles is helpful in manufacturing facilities of all shapes and sizes. Design, printing, finishing, and inventory all benefit from automation.
The printing portion of the workflow involves RIPs and color management tools to ensure exact colorways are met when it comes time to output the graphic to the material. Other components include positioning, with features that are essential to nesting graphics and/or patterns to optimize printing width and minimize waste.
RIPs and Color
A printer’s RIP is a powerful component when it comes to ensuring the end product is exactly as it appeared in the proof. Color management beyond the RIP also helps.
“Key to streamlined production are good color measurement and management practices. This includes profiling and calibration all printers and monitors, verifying the incoming color quality of inks being used, and using modern software to automate and digitize nesting and pattern making,” shares Shoshana Burgett, director of corporate strategy, X-Rite, Incorporated.
X-Rite offers its i1 Pro 2, a spectral color measurement solution used to calibrate and profile digital textile printers. In addition, the X-Rite exact handheld 0:45 spectrophotometer can be loaded with spectral values from PantoneLIVE digital libraries and used to measure fabrics that are not highly figured or textured.
For Sebastien Hanssens, VP of marketing, Caldera, RIP software is the key to color management and color repeatability. “Digital printers take the creative element and adapt it via the same software or other more production-orientated software to make sure the design or pattern is printed optimally,” he continues.
Caldera’s TextilePro is a textile print suite that ensures designs and colors are matched throughout production. It helps create patterns, variations, and repeats without error or waste. It includes EasyMedia, which is a step-by-step wizard that specifies the color gamut for any print configuration.
Certain software also adds important markings prior to printing that prepare the fabric for the cutting process like crop marks or barcodes. “Additional functionalities such as finishing tools like bleed, grommets, and sewing marks are all must haves for textile printing to minimize errors and reduce waste,” explains Jonathan Rogers, international marketing manager, Onyx Graphics, Inc.
Onyx’s ONYX Textile Edition software is designed specifically for the large format textile printing marketplace. It is available as an application-specific edition for ONYX RIPCenter, ONYX PosterShop, and ONYX ProductionHouse packages and as a module for ONYX Thrive software. It allows users to add custom sewing marks to reduce finishing time. Marks are customized for tiled images with overlap to ensure proper matching of panels.
Prepared to Print
Production software during the print process can dramatically streamline manual processes that normally halt production. The same can be said for the finishing or cutting portion of the workflow, which is discussed in the next part of this series.
Jun2018, Industrial Print Magazine