To compare data-handling performance of different print systems
Think121's solution? They developed a single benchmark test that could be run in each machine's native variable data language to verify the performance of the RIP and caching system. The benchmark job is a four-page marketing brochure with versioned and personalized variable content on each page, including photos, text, illustrations and charts.
The test suite can scale from 100 records with modest variability to runs of up to 20,000 pages and up to 1.6 million image combination. Within this range of requirements can be found a production "sweet spot" for different types of devices.
"The benchmark test gave us apples-to-apples comparison," says George Stubbs, VP of manufacturing for Standard Register. "We can now make straightforward business decisions on which machine will fit our needs."
The benchmark test utilized Think121's pdfExpress-Pro software, which allowed the variable job to be printed to all of the devices on the market. Output formats for pdfExpress-Pro include: ppml/VDX to drive the Nexpress 2100 and Xeikon Intellistream; VPS to drive the Creo Spire for Xerox 2060, 6060 and Ingen3, J-LYT to drive the HP Indigo, BTF to drive the IBM InfoColor and Xeikon eXpert, PPML to drive any compatible PPML device; and PDF to drive any other printer.
"Using pdfExpress, we can test any manufacturer's digital device in a completely objective manner," says Glenn Wagner, Executive VP at Digital Marketing, a variable printing shop in Minneapolis, MN. "It is this kind of critical information that has proven difficult to obtain in the digital printing field and this study is the first one I have seen that has directly addressed the issue of front-end performance."
The benchmark can also be used to quickly verify the performance of an installed system, illustrating precisely how effective an upgrade has been, or allowing technicians to confirm a problem. (Think121: www.think121.com)