Six RIP companies address trends in workflow, scalability, the Cloud, integration with other tools, and much more.
Caldera: RIP software is only one defined stage in the print production workflow. Because the RIP software is directly connected to the production devices, it becomes the key point of the workflow – the only one able to submit jobs to devices and to provide feedback to the workflow.
GMG: In a workflow system, everything – preflighting, prepress tasks, RIPing processes, devices, and workstations – is connected within the system. In a RIP-centered system, though, you have to buy separate software pieces for all these different stages of a job and connect the pieces yourself. A RIP-centered system of working will also not allow you to submit jobs from different workstations, so you have to be on the RIP that actually drives the printer when you want to print. While some RIPs do have a wide variety of prepress tasks built within the system, it’s not a workflow.
Wasatch: RIP and workflow software usually go hand-and-hand. Utilizing a RIP software's settings and controls means efficient printing and an increase in productivity. Good workflow software removes unnecessary steps and makes the printing process more functional. While a RIP is necessary to achieve a desired and consistent color for every print, an intuitive workflow makes it easy – even in the most complex production environment.
Q: What are some of the biggest trends in RIPs that print providers need to be aware of?
SAi: The biggest trend we see is an increasing demand by print providers for subscription-based RIP software. Many print providers now recognize the business benefits of not paying the high cost of version upgrades. With subscription RIP software, a print provider gets a full-featured application that’s always up to date, all for a small monthly operating expense.
Onyx: Making production simpler and easier. As RIPs have matured, a large number of tools and features have been added over the years, making them more capable – but also more complicated. Simplification through better production tools and automation of everyday tasks will make printing more predictable.
GMG: There are two separate trends. One is toward remote job submission and tracking, which also includes more integration of Web-to-print systems; this will require tools like JDF integration. The other trend is ensuring job quality – one of the primary requirements here is offering consistent color management and G7 or other certification.