Why Preflight?

Preflighting is a must in today’s print workflow. FlightCheck is the patented preflight technology from Markzware. This pre press software can check documents in many file formats to ensure print quality before document output. FlightCheck flags possible print errors during preflighting, so they can be corrected before theyprint.

Desktop publishing and computer-to-plate printing provided the foundation of the prepress workflow for digital printing. Preflighting with FlightCheck is at the heart of prepress processes. More than a decade ago, the commercial printing industry began to envision that workflow. It was to be stealthy, automated and efficient, with client-supplied digital content jobs moving seamlessly through the print company’s processes.

The prepress workflow itself is far from perfect, most printers will attest. And perhaps the most significant kink in the chain remains in content creation at the start of the process. Bad documents continue to arrive at the prepress department as ill-prepared and incomplete. This loses time and money for both printer and client. The project is pulled from the process and fixed by the printer’s prepress representative or bounced back to the client for repair and resubmission, stopping the presses. Thank goodness for FlightCheck and how much money and trouble it saves by preflighting.

Stephen Shinnick is vice president of sales for All Systems Integration in Woburn, MA. This integration firm specializes in printing and publishing technologies, allowing frequent communication with commercial printers about their workflow concerns. He estimates up to 60 percent of printers “are still suffering the pains of poorly prepared documents. Including delays like last-minute arrivals, that number may be higher. The number is down from 90 percent to 60 percent in the last five years. So, things are changing slowly.” While that may seem a high figure, it still reflects some progress, after more than a decade of printing experience with the digital workflow.

Many printing organizations have had great success in pushing responsibility for the quality of digital files up the chain, back to the client. These organizations essentially require that the client submit documents consistent with printer specifications. The earlier that potential document flaws are detected and remedied during content creation, the more cost-effective it is for the printer and its client. FlightCheck makes preflighting easy and the responsibility for print quality assurance much less daunting.

Unfortunately, many print clients still lack either the expertise or the creative tools to consistently prepare flawless projects. While the advent of standardized file formats, like PDF, promised to eliminate flawed documents, that remains an elusive goal. “Everyone can make a PDF file on the computer simply by selecting the print-to-PDF option,” Shinnick explains. “It does not mean that it is a production-quality PDF. Application files are still a very significant portion of the production community,” he says. FlightCheck can preflight files created in a native application, as well as preflight PDF.

And so printers are left to maintain that initial line of defense, the prepress department, where incoming documents can be scrutinized and given the red or green light. There are several preflighting tools that help printers do just that. As projects arrive at the prepress department, they are checked by a desktop preflighting solution, such as FlightCheck. Preflighting can verify file integrity (whether it is a print-ready file) and provide a report on potential printing problems.

Preflighting puts responsibility for print quality control at content creation, where it makes the most sense. It also enables the printer to streamline the prepress workflow and ensure that tight press schedules are met. Automating preflight also benefits the print customer. Knowing that the jobs being released to the printer are accurate provides peace of mind. So can decreasing extraneous line items for unnecessary prepress charges on their print bill.

Why preflight? To check documents for print quality control, so you can correct errors, before you print. Preflight with FlightCheck, the ideal preflight solution for the prepress workflow. More printing solutions are available via the Markzware Products page.

Why Preflight?

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