The Training Track
Hit the classroom – real or virtual – to learn new skills and refine existing practices.
Print providers are continually looking for an edge over the competition. And while many shops might seek out relatively common advantages such as additional machinery, larger staffs, and the dreaded low-balling on prices, the successful print provider also is sure to integrate a steady mix of education and training programs into his or her operation.
By having your staff stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and best practices using those technologies, you can help ensure that you’re turning around the highest-quality jobs and doing so in the most efficient (and profitable) way. You’ll be increasing the margin of superiority – putting even more distance between your shop and your competitors.
Across the industry, the various players – manufacturers and suppliers, associations, tradeshows – are recognizing the importance of training and education. So the timing is perfect for the print providers to get back to the classroom, even if it's a virtual one.
Training from manufacturers and suppliers
As you might guess, some of what manufacturers and suppliers offer is company- and product-centric by its very nature. Nearly all industry companies offer training on the specific hardware or software they produce and sell – either as part of the purchase price or for an additional fee.
But many companies are now partnering with other manufacturers, suppliers, and others to provide users with a broader range of knowledge and expertise. We shine a spotlight here on those companies that offer training, education, and events beyond the basics.
Agfa Graphics (www.agfagraphics.com) hosted several educational events in 2012 – including an open house at a customer’s facility in Salt Lake City in May and another at its distribution center in Plano, Texas, in September – and is planning a half-dozen similar open houses in 2013 as well. Attendees are able to learn about UV and solvent printing, rigid and flexible media as well as inks, and related technology; the open-house events are free with registration. The company also works with other industry suppliers and associations for educational events hitting topics such as color management (with X-Rite) and G7 training (with IdeAlliance).
Avery Dennison (www.averygraphics.com) has partnered with Mutoh (Onyx is also a sponsor) to produce 10 Car Wrap Training sessions throughout the US and Canada; Justin Pate is teaching the first two days of the three-day workshops while Todd LaBrie is teaching the third day (covering vehicle wrap design, layout, and customer service). The third day also includes a Car Wrap Certification Program (once certified, the business is listed on carwraps.net, now owned by Avery Dennison). The company also offers a free series of training and application videos on its website’s Resources section as well as a general Research Library.
The Color Management Group (www.colormanagement.com) offers color-competency testing; one-on-one WebEx online/remote technical support and training; on-site training and installation services (including 2-, 3-, and 5-day G7 training); and more. Its “Color Without Chaos” seminar is a one-day, in-house training opp that demonstrates how color management can be effectively used.
At the three-day CorelDraw Unleashed Boot Camp (www.unleash.com) workshops, attendees learn the ins and outs of CorelDraw and Corel PhotoPaint. The company also offers phone consultation and onsite boot camps, as well as books and DVDs.
Cyrious Software (www.cyrious.com) hosts CyrCon, an annual conference for users of Cyrious products. The event includes product-specific training, user-led roundtable discussions, expert-user speakers, and sessions on new product features and enhancements; attendees can also offer feedback on current products and suggest future products. The next CyrCon is scheduled for October 17-18, 2011, and will be held in New Orleans, concurrent with the SGIA Expo. The company also offers webinars and a library of training videos.
The EFI Connect conference brings EFI (www.efi.com) users together to test-drive products, discuss industry trends, attend keynote addresses, and network with peers. More than 150 classes will be offered, and users will be able to supplement the classroom learning with keynote speakers and live demos in the lab area, where EFI will highlight its complete portfolio, including fully integrated, end-to-end workflows. The 2013 event takes place January 15-18 at the Wynn in Las Vegas.
In addition to offering training courses for its Vutek and Fiery products, the company also offers: a Professional Print Software series of online webinars; an array of EFI “ABC Guides” (how to use VDP, office, Print MIS, Proofing and Design solutions more effectively, etc.); and EFI’s Fiery Global University program, which is a consolidation of eLearning courses, webinars, and technical classroom training designed to make it easy to develop expertise on Fiery solutions. And, in July of this year, the company announced it has launched a Fiery Certification program for its Fiery digital print servers, tools, and software options (Fiery Professional and Fiery Expert certifications).
EskoWorld is the global EskoArtwork (www.esko.com) user event held annually. The organization of the event and preparation of its content is a collaboration between EskoArtwork and the EskoArtwork User Group International (EUGI); the event comprises training sessions, roundtable discussions, seminars, and hands-on labs. The 2013 event will be held May 19-22 in Phoenix, Arizona. The company also offers various training for its own products.
HP’s (www.hp.com) 60,000-square-foot Graphic Arts Experience Center in Alpharetta, Georgia, is designed to serve as a training facility for graphic-arts customers and prospects throughout the Americas; the site hosts educational workshops on marketing, print business management, and other subjects.
The company’s HP Capture program comprises educational modules, business tools, community networks, market development activities, and 1:1 consulting services designed to help print providers grow their digital print businesses (users must have an HP registered printer to participate).
At HP’s Web-based Learning Center (hp.com/go/learningcenter), visitors can access various online classes; major topic categories include digital photography, technology, business/business basics, IT, PC security/maintenance, and more.
For LearnToWrapCars.com, car-wrap installer Justin Pate offers three vehicle-graphics installation DVDs in its “Techniques and Tips” series: “Vehicle Graphics Installations,” “Speedwrapping,” and “Advanced Wrapping.” “Vehicle Graphics Installations” (144 minutes) covers tools, workspace, hardware removal, safety and more, including Pate’s UGIS (Universal Graphics Installation System). “Advanced Wrapping” (118 minutes) covers how to wrap the more complex aspects of vehicles; Pate addresses: cutting perfect corners, door handles, mirrors, wheel wells, antennae, rubber molding, bumpers, and problem solving. “Speedwrapping” (94 minutes) is geared to help the entire shop; included in this DVD is a segment on fleet wrapping.
LexJet’s (www.lexjet.com) online Learning Center offers various educational guides as free downloads, including: “An Application Guide to Floor and Carpet Graphics,” “How to Create a Wall Mural,” “Increase Revenue by Offering Banner Stands,” “Coating, Stretching and Wrapping Canvas,” and others.
Lowen Corporation’s (www.lowencertified.com) Lowen Certified training and certification program is aimed at vehicle wraps and related digital graphics. At the company’s 3M Preferred Training and Certification Center in Hutchinson, Kansas, installers can pursue any of five designations: Vehicle Wrap Installation Professional, Fleet Graphics Installation Professional, Rough Wall Installation Professional, On Premise Graphics Installer, and Lowen Certified Expert Installer. The certification status is portable, meaning that the certification stays with the individual, not the company. The installer is also eligible to apply for the 3M Preferred Graphics Installers designation.
Mactac’s Application Nation (www.theapplicationnation.com) is an online resource and virtual community for graphics installers working with vehicle wraps, cut vinyl, and wall and building graphics. Members can visit the website to ask questions of industry experts, read about installation tips, peruse the resource library, and download ICC profiles. Several training videos are available to members and non-members alike.
Mactac also offers Application Nation training sessions across the country. The hands-on events typically cover techniques on vehicle and vinyl preparation, printing, measuring, squeegeeing, repositioning, finishing, removal, and more.
In 2011, the company created the Application Nation Authorized Installer program, designed to provide certification for and visibility to professional installers who adhere to industry standard processes and systems for vehicle and architectural applications.
Mutoh America’s (www.mutohcarwraps.com) Mutoh Business Builder is a resource for print providers to gather market specific information, education and application suggestions that help customers be more successful in their business. Business Builders are available for Signage, Wraps, Textiles, Packaging, Color Management, Wall Art, Tradeshow Graphics, Process Control, and more. In addition, Mutoh has teamed up with Avery to produce Car Wrap Training sessions throughout the US and Canada.
Nazdar Consulting Services (www.nazdarconsulting.com) offers a number of training and consulting programs and initiatives, all designed to improve the productivity, predictability, and profitability of screen and digital print providers. Specific programs include: G7 Master Printer Certification; Chromatix Color Control; and IDEAlliance PCC Process Control. The company also offers a number of free videos on its website, on the topics of automated trapping, Lab color correction, Catzper, and more. In addition, Nazdar Consulting worked with SGIA on two workshops in 2012.
Neschen Americas’ (www.neschenamericas.com) Training and Education Center is designed to train students on the entire Seal and Neschen brand portfolio, from product selection to final delivery. The center is located near the company's Elkridge, Maryland, headquarters and includes a workroom, conference room, and expandable classroom; it’s equipped with laminators, laminates, media, and wide-format printers.
Course options for print-service providers include: InDisplay In Depth, where students learn about the integration of Neschen inkjet media, Expolinc hardware, and Seal laminating films in creating comprehensive display products; Application Training in Finishing; Textile Printing and Material Selection; and Environmentally Responsible Media Solutions, which covers the "Converd presented by Neschen" media portfolio. There are also course options for sales training and an in-depth review of all Neschen products for authorized Neschen product resellers.
Océ Display Graphics’ (www.oceusa.com) “Choosing the Right UV Flatbed Printer” is a buyers’ guide designed to walk the user through all aspects of UV flatbed technology. It covers printer format, printhead and curing technologies, operational considerations, RIPs, inks, and more (the free download requires registration with Océ). The company also offers the "Wide Format Printers Buyers Guide" for the technical-documentation (A/E/C) market and “Is It White for You?” on the topic of white ink.
Roland Academy (www.rolanddga.com) offers end-user and dealer workshops, which feature hands-on instruction by industry experts. This year’s Born to Wrap Workshop, in conjunction with Digital EFX Wraps, is a two-day workshop that covers a vehicle graphics job from design to installation. Attendees will learn tips on file setup and design, color matching and workflow, printing, cutting and laminating, job estimation, sales, and advertising; and preparation, application, and removal techniques. Available in September (Irvine, California) and November (Lexington, North Carolina).
The company also offers an Online Webinar Series. In 2012, the topics included: “Take the Mystery Out of Backlit Film” and others; webinars are free for Roland users and $49 for guest users. And the “Tips & Tricks” section on its website provides free articles on topics including apparel, banners, finishing, print/cut, restyling, and more.
Sawgrass Technologies (www.sawgrassink.com) offers more than 50 free Educational Webcasts on sublimation and digital apparel decoration. Major categories include: Production & Applications, Business Management, Software and Graphics, Social Media for Business, Sales and Marketing, and Troubleshooting. The company’s “Extreme Shirts!” 60-minute educational video provides information on how to produce oversized graphics and all-over T-shirts, and what sublimation-technology options are available for this apparel-decoration trend.
3M (www.3m.com) offers its Advanced Installation Training for vehicle wraps: three-day, in-depth hands-on training, discussion, and demonstrations. Held several times a year in St. Paul, Minnesota, these training opps are done by 3M Preferred Graphics Installers from 3M Technical Service. Other 3M training opportunities include two- to five-day vehicle-graphics training in conjunction with Lowen Corporation (Kansas); and a Graphics Training Seminar with 3M Preferred Graphics Installers (dates and locales to be announced). 3M also offers separate certification programs: 3M Certified Graphics Installation Company, 3M Preferred Graphics Installer, and 3M Endorsed Vehicle Graphics Installer.
Its 3M Graphics Video Library includes a number of instructional videos for graphics providers. The online videos cover topics such as: vehicle and fleet graphics; wall and architectural graphics; cut graphics; and general installation.
Xpedx (www.xpdex.com) offered its Wide Format Western Road Show in 2012, designed to help print operations understand how to capture sales in the wide-format printing segment. Featuring equipment, media, demonstration, and advice sessions, the free shows exposed attendees to an array of equipment and substrates/media, and advised attendees on how to build a strategic marketing plan to succeed in the wide-format space. The company reports it is currently putting together a schedule for a similar Road Show in 2013.
X-Rite (www.xrite.com) offers several training options focused on wide-format signage. Its hands-on training workshops are offered at training facilities in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Regensdorf, Switzerland, and in the company’s various local sales offices; titles include “Introduction to Color Management,” “Integrated Color Management,” and “Onyx Workflow Workshop.” The company’s eLearning curriculum offers self-paced interactive modules that explore aspects of color, use of instruments and software as well as workflow support; titles include “Color Control Freak,” “Color Theory,” and others. Also available: Personal Color Training, a one-on-one, live, online learning experience; On-Site Training (G7, Pantone-Certified, custom); and various national seminars.
The tradeshow alternative
If you’re heading to a tradeshow, why not add an educational component to your itinerary? You might want to seek out events that provide opportunities for training before or after show-floor hours (so as not to interfere with your time on the floor). Or simply ensure that you schedule enough days at the event to accommodate learning as well as buying.
Graph Expo (www.graphexpo.com) will take place October 7-10, 2012, in Chicago’s McCormick Place. The event features more than 50 educational seminars covering a range of graphic-art topics, plus 45 new and returning co-located conferences, user-group meetings, and special events. See our August issue, page 10, for a preview of this event.
Graphics of the Americas (www.graphicsoftheamericas.com), February 21-23, 2013, will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Last year’s event offered more than 80 educational sessions across tracks, including: Wide Format, Digital Printing, Production, Prepress, and others; additional sessions were offered in Spanish. The 2013 event will also include 10 free sessions on the show floor; a Wide Format Print Shop, a Vehicle Graphics Center, and a Direct-to-Garment Center. The event is managed by the Printing Association of Florida.
The ISA International Sign Expo (www.signexpo.org) is scheduled for April 3-6, 2013, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The show’s 2012 seminar series offered interactive forums; hands-on workshops; and seminars that cover digital imaging, legislative regulations, technical industry application, and management, sales, and marketing strategies. ISA is also producing its Midwest ISA Sign Show, October 12-13, 2012, in Detroit; three educational sessions are offered, including: “It’s All About Sales,” “Using the Michigan Sign Guidebook,” and “Principles of Pricing.”
And the ISA offers an International Sign Academy program via its website (signs.org). The Sign Academy offers webinars and onsite seminars on topics including installation and service, production and fabrication, design, sales and marketing, LEED certification, project management, and more. Plus, ISA members can take advantage of various webinars throughout the year (live and recorded).
Attendees at PDN’s PhotoPlus Expo (www.photoplusexpo.com) can choose from a variety of seminars and hands-on workshops covering the digital-imaging industry. PMA 2012 will be held October 25-27 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.
The 2013 DIMA Conference, January 6-7 at Bally’s, is part of PMA 2013 (www.pmai.org), and will offer various educational sessions within these categories: retail strategy, photo publishing, consumer video, camera phone imaging, social media, and professional imaging. PMA@CES will take place January 8-11 at both Bally’s and the Las Vegas Hilton, and is held concurrently with the massive Consumer Electronics Show; its two educational tracks will include one for trends/technology, and one for retail strategy.
At the 2012 SGIA Expo (www.sgia.org) in Las Vegas, October 18-20, attendees can take advantage of dozens of educational offerings. Educational seminar tracks include: Graphics & Sign; Garment Decoration; Industrial Imaging; Graphics Installers; and Business Management. More than 30 seminars will be offered, including: “Directions in Wide-Format Equipment Development,” “Understanding Today's Print Buyer,” “Identifying and Reaching the New Consumer for the Graphic Communications Marketplace,” “Make Your Wide-Format Digital Printer Last,” Capitalizing on Sustainability,” “UV LED Curing for Digital and Screen Printing,” and “New Revenue Opportunities for Wide-Format Digital.” (See page 26 for an in-depth preview.) In addition, SGIA hosts various workshops and seminars throughout the year on graphics/signage, garment decoration, installation, printed electronics, and industrial printing.
Conferences, associations, and more
The many industry-related associations offer myriad training and education events, generally focused upon their members’ particular market niche. Keep in mind that, for these types of events, you typically must be an associate member to attend (conferences without association ties are open events). And note that some of these associations also offer some online training courses and/or white papers, etc.
The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing, and Converting Technologies (NPES, www.npes.org) will feature its annual conference in Indian Wells, California, November 10-12, 2012; educational sessions to be announced. This past February, it joined forces with the NAPL and PIA to create the Vision 3 Summit; geared toward graphic-communications executives, Vision 3 “provides industry executives with strategic and actionable business advice based on the latest industry trend analysis.”
CIP4 (www.cip4.org), the International Cooperation for the Integration of the Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress (CIP4), offers white papers, case studies, educational slides, and more on topics such as JDF, JMF, and more. Each month, it produces the JDF Interoperability Matrix, which identifies JDF-enabled integrations co-developed by vendors of graphic-arts systems to support print automation.
Dscoop (www.dscoop.org), the Digital Solutions Cooperative, is a user-driven community of HP Graphic Arts press owners and their sales, marketing, and production teams. The organization’s yearly conference brings together Indigo and other HP users from around the world. The 2012 event featured sessions addressing business and sales, operations, label and packaging, and partner-solutions sessions, as well as large-format seminars. Next year’s Dscoop conference will take place February 21-23 in Nashville. Its first Euro-centric Print United event takes place November 7-9, 2012, in Barcelona, Spain.
IDEAlliance (www.idealliance.org) offers various webinars and conferences throughout the year. Its Spectrum annual conference, designed to integrate and engage all media-production professionals, takes place September 10-12 in Phoenix. The group also offers G7 Process Control Training and G7 Expert/Professional Training, (see website for dates and locales).
Its series of “IdeasOnline” webinars include topics such as Color Management, Integrated Production Workflow, Marketing Strategies, and more. IDEAlliance also offers downloads of various best-practices standards and papers on color management and other topics.
The Information Management Institute (www.imiconf.com) sponsors a number of conferences throughout the year, both in the US and Europe. Its 2013 Digital Printing Conferences will include its 22nd Annual Ink Jet Printing Conference; Ink Jet Academy: Theory of Ink Jet Technology; AWA Inkjet Label & Packaging Print Seminar; and others (dates and locations to be announced). Its 2012 Security Printing Conference takes place November 14-16 in Hollywood, Florida. The institute also makes available content from its previous years’ programs.
The 2012 Kodak GUA North American Conference (www.gua2011.com) for Kodak users took place this past January in New Orleans. The conference included three days of educational sessions, user panels, roundtable discussions, and hands-on demonstrations, as well as networking with industry peers, Kodak management, and Kodak Solution partners. In-depth GUA University classes also were offered. The 2013 GUA event will happen in the spring at a location to be announced.
The National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL, www.napl.org) holds it 2012 Owners Conference in Chicago, October 4-6, just prior to Graph Expo. Aimed at owners and general managers of small digital, commercial, and quick-print operations, the event will feature educational sessions including: “The Future of Printing and Publishing,” “Equipment Financing,” “Balancing the Business of Sales with the Business of the Business,” “Transitioning from Ownership,” and more. Many of its past webinars are available for download.
Premedia Training Solutions by IPA (www.prepresstraining.com) offers several course tracks geared toward the graphics industry, including: PDF Workflow, Imaging, Layout, Imposition, Color Management, and others. Courses are available via an annual, monthly, or single-course subscription.
Print Buyers International (www.printbuyersinternational.com) will hold its Color Management Workshop on October 8, 2012, just prior to the association’s Annual Print & Media Conference, at McCormick Place in Chicago. The three-hour workshop will focus on a step-by-step review and discussion of optimizing workflow by addressing critical areas where most print challenges develop. Topics will include: “Color Theory: The Impact of the RGB to CMYK Conversion on Print,” “Why WYSIWYG Isn’t Always True,” “Which Measuring Instruments You Can’t Be Without,” “The Impact of Paper on Color,” “The value of SWOP, GRACoL, and G7,” “Addressing the Challenges of Color Management,” and others.
Hosted by the Printing Industries of America (PIA, www.printing.org), the 2012 edition of the Color Management Conference features an array of seminars: “Why RGB or CMYK,” “Inkjet/Wide-Format Production,” “Color Managing Wide Color Devices,” “Repeatability and Consistency in Digital Profiling,” and others. A pre-conference session, “ROI Using Color Management,” is also available. The event takes place December 1-4 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Its training videos, available online to members, include: “10 Smart Strategies for Green Marketing,” “Color Separation Considerations – UCR and GCR,” “Common Database Issues in VDP,” “RGB PDF Files,” and many others.
Sign Biz, Inc. (www.signbiz.com) offers personalized sign-technologies training, comprising two weeks of home instructions, 48 hours of formalized training at the Sign Biz Technical Training Center in Dana Point, California, and 32 hours of on-the-job training at Sign Biz store locations. Aspects covered include marketing, design, EDS, sign technologies, products, sign codes, and more, all documented in more than 20 proprietary manuals. A Certificate of Sign Arts is awarded upon completion of Advanced Sign Studies. Following graduation, additional equipment set-up and training takes place on-site at the new shop. Each week, webinars, seminars, and video education are delivered under the Sign Biz ELATEd umbrella (e-Learning Alliance for Training and Education). Sign Biz also provides a Signhugger e-newsletter for end-users of the store, providing tips and education materials each month. Sign Biz hosts annual three-day international conventions each year featuring 22 to 30 educational components.
The Signage Foundation’s (www.thesignagefoundation.org) 2012 National Signage Research and Education Conference will take place October 10-11 in Cincinnati. This year’s theme is “The Technology of Signage,” and presentations will include: “The Economic Value of Signs,” “The Culture Value of Signage,” and others. Sponsored by the Signage Foundation in collaboration with the UC Colleges of Business and Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP), the conference offers two days of presentations, studio projects, and breakout sessions. Several segments of this year’s conference take place at the new American Sign Museum.
The Xplor Conference from Xplor International (www.xplor.org), aimed at electronic-document professionals, takes place April 16-18, 2013. The 2012 event featured 70 educational sessions, daily networking events, keynote/general sessions, vendor forums, and more. Xplor also offers instructional classes, webinars, online conferences, social-networking opportunities, podcasts, virtual vendor, and user technology forums, plus an industry certification program, all primarily geared toward document production.
Other educational resources
Colleges and universities across the country provide course and degree offerings for print and graphics, and some offer one-time seminars and even online opportunities. What follows is just a sampling.
The College of DuPage (www.cod.edu) in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, offers certificates and degrees in Print Production and Digital Prepress Production; all classes are held on site. The Print Production option allows students to gain an understanding of the production workflow for digital files from layout to the final printed piece. The Digital Prepress Production option includes page composition, electronic illustration, image enhancement, color correction, and website preparation. Note: The college is discontinuing its Graphic Arts Technology program effective May 2013.
Ferris State University (www.graphicarts.ferris.edu) in Big Rapids, Michigan, offers as associate’s degree in Graphic Communications and a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Media Management. In the latter, students learn the core operation processes of production planning, estimating, cost analysis, process and color management, and workflow automation.
The Graphic Communication Institute at California Polytechnic State University (www.grci.calpoly.edu) offers hands-on training for the printing, packaging, publishing, and imaging industries. Its 2012 workshops included “G7 IdeAlliance Expert/Professional Training” and “Flexo Bootcamp 101.” It also has worked with Graph Expo to develop that event’s seminars, and will provide custom training programs and workshops to address a company’s needs.
Pittsburg State University’s (www.pittstate.edu/git) Department of Graphics and Imaging Technologies in Pittsburg, Kansas, offers bachelor’s degrees in Applied Science – Technology (with a digital and print media emphasis) and Science in Technology (Graphic Communications Management and Commercial Graphics); it also offers a Master of Science – Technology degree with an emphasis on Print Management.
The School of Print Media at the Rochester Institute of Technology (www.cias.rit.edu) in Rochester, New York, offers undergraduate degrees in Media Arts and Technology and a minor and graduate degree in Print Media. The Printing Industry Center within RIT is dedicated to “the study of major business environment influences in the printing industry brought on by new technologies and societal changes;” some areas of research include: New Media Publishing, New Media Advertising, Sustainable Print, Color Workflow, and Industry Studies.
The Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics at Clemson University (www.sonocoinstitute.com) in Clemson, South Carolina, offers a range of seminars and workshops, including: “Digital Proofing and Packaging,” “Prepress Workflow Automation,” “Brand Color Management,” “Printed Electronics 101,” “Advanced Color Management,” and others. The Institute also offers two online courses, including: “Packaging Fundamentals” and “Packaging Design.”
Waukesha County Technical College (www.wctc.edu), based in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, offers certificates in Commercial Printing, Digital Production/DTP, Digital Photography, and other topics. It also offers non-credit courses in photo imaging, photography, welding, and more.
Post-Buy Printer Training
You finally purchased the new printer you’ve been after. Now what? All the innovative ideas and best intentions in the world won’t help you if you don’t know how to correctly and efficiently use the new machine. Fortunately, however, many printer manufacturers and their suppliers/distributors include on-site training and additional educational materials in the printer purchase price. We asked several of these companies to share details of the training programs they make available to customers:
Agfa: Standard operator training included with Agfa wide-format Jeti and Anapurna printers includes: platform configuration and RIP install; RIP configuration and setup; engine integration and verification; density tuning; RIP instruction; creating media profile (primary media); user observation and feedback; and question and answer/wrap-up. In addition, Agfa offers an array of optional training services, including: custom media profiling (providing customers with the services needed to profile various media types they wish to output to on the printer); color-profiling instruction (creating custom profiles); and advanced RIP instruction.
Durst Image Technology US: Durst provides the services of a workflow and color-management specialist for integrating the customer’s new Rho platform into their print operations, as well as technical and regular maintenance training to maximize uptime/run time of the equipment. All training is customized to best match the customer’s operations and fit their needs. Durst provides the following training to customers as part of equipment purchases: assistance in integrating the printer into the customer's workflow; optimized training for the customer's specific needs; printer operator and general maintenance training; Caldera Grand RIP training; and color-management training. In addition, each Durst Rho owner has access to membership in the online Durst Rho Community; customers are able to interact with Durst’s Rho experts and other Rho owners/users, and benefit from all the available shared information.
EFI: With an EFI Vutek printer purchase, customers receive two free training seats, valid for one year from the printer installation date. The training seats can be applied toward classroom training at the EFI Inkjet Solutions training facility in Meredith, New Hampshire, or hands-on training at the customer facility. Training courses provide detailed, hands-on exploration of topics including: Basic Operator Certification and RIP, Advanced Maintenance and Advanced RIP, and ICC Profile Creation. For North American customers (as well as those in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Germany), EFI Fiery XF Color and Workflow Support Services also are available; under this program, a Fiery expert travels to the customer site “to execute money- and time-saving installation and implementation services that help customers quickly produce quality prints, while reducing downtime and waste.”
HP:“Part of providing a best-in-class customer service is ensuring a smooth installation and ramp-up process. HP has designed a comprehensive training curriculum that provides our customers with the knowledge and skills necessary to utilize the full capabilities of the HP Designjet and Scitex printers and presses.” The raining programs emphasize hands-on practice to reinforce critical skills. Training is provided at the moment of installation and, for big presses like the HP Scitex FB7600 Industrial Press, there’s an extended timeframe where both onsite and remote support are available. Additionally, HP offers customers an extended operator training at the HP Graphic Arts Experience Center in Atlanta for some printers. These sessions, which last three to five days, cover topics such as: media handling and color optimization, getting the most use out of your printer with HP accessories, maintenance procedures for optimal performance, and how to engage with HP support.
Roland:To make sure customers are up and running with their machines, Roland partners with authorized dealers who are the front line for providing on-site machine setup and training. To develop their expertise, Roland authorized dealers are required to attend periodic training sessions on each digital printing platform they sell; they are also dedicated to specific regions so they can focus their attention on local customers. The first steps in the process are the delivery and assembly of the printer; during this session, the Roland dealer also teaches basic maintenance procedures and installs and instructs on VersaWorks RIP software. Training is provided on the key functions of the printer and control panel menu. Once the machine is installed, Roland customers have access to a variety of resources through Roland Academy, including hands-on workshops and free online webinars, training videos, support documents, and tips-and-tricks articles. Registered Roland owners receive unlimited access to all Roland Academy webinars, as well as on-demand access to a comprehensive archive of previously recorded sessions .
Seiko:Training for new ColorPainter owners is performed by local resellers. Each reseller has trained ColorPainter Technicians on hand when needed. New owners receive a one-day training session with a certified technician. The training session includes installation, calibration, and setup of the printer, using the customers most used substrates. The new owner also receives an overview of color management, media profiles, troubleshooting tips, and installation of RIP software. Each setup is customized for the needs of the new owner. And once the printer is installed, the owner can contact their local ColorPainter Dealer for support or Seiko Instruments USA directly.