Streamlining Make-ready with Canon Oce PRISMAprepare

Posted on by Greg Cholmondeley | No Comments »

A little while ago I had the opportunity to take a close look at Canon’s Oce PRISMAprepare make-ready software. While the name is a concatenated mouthful … the software is very well designed. In fact, this software has really been transformed into a smoothly integrated suite of capabilities that make the often time-consuming and mind-numbing task of document clean-up and make-ready effective and efficient.

This is what I saw:

First, this is one element of an extensive suite of workflow software largely developed by Oce and acquired by Canon. PRISMAprepare was originally designed for cut-sheet workflows but also incorporates features from their high-end continuous feed solutions like the really cool light table functionality from DocSetter.

Second, this is a much more tightly integrated and polished product than what I last saw several years ago. Canon has clearly incorporated significant learning from real-life customer use with contemporary user interface design practices in this package.

Make-ready is a function that purveyors of workflow automation packages don’t like to talk about. Their story sounds much better when jobs arrive “print-ready” requiring only automated preflighting, imposition, color correction and production. The inconvenient truth, however, is that many jobs arrive in forms that are not ready to be processed and printed. They might require cleanup, or need to be constructed from several files which might even need to be scaled. They might require covers, tabs, personalization or even spot color correction to ensure branding standards are met.

Clients send work to in-plants or commercial printers with the expectation that this make-ready will be performed. However, few consider this to be a value-added service for which they’d pay a premium. The challenge therefore is in how to simplify and streamline the make-ready process to efficiently compile, correct, personalize and program print applications. Canon Oce PRISMAprepare attacks this problem with a variety of capabilities all combined into a single, integrated package:

  • Compilation of PDF files into single documents: This can be particularly useful for applications such as course packs, training guides, board agendas, and budget documents which are built from materials from a variety of sources.
  • Document-level editing, scaling, media programming and structural organization: Adding covers, tabs, subset finishing, imposing postcards and other enhancements dramatically increase the value and usability of applications beyond just printing. PRISMAprepare provides a graphical programming interface to easily perform these tasks.
  • Preflighting: This critical function is built into PRISMAprepare so you never need to leave the application.
  • Page and image editing: PRISMAprepare provides a wide range of page-level editing tools that can be applied to individual pages, page ranges, or to the entire document. The scan cleanup tools include deskewing, despeckling, alignment and other bitmap cleanup. The PDF page editing tools include spot color mapping to ensure proper branding as well as embedded image correction.
  • Basic variable data print programming: PRISMAprepare provides some simple personalization capabilities suitable for personalizing and addressing postcards, business cards and other materials with text, barcodes and images.
  • Color splitting and merging: This is a clever method to cost-efficiently produce mixed monochrome and color documents by printing color pages on a color press, printing the remaining pages on a black and white printer, and inserting the ordered color pages. While this could save money, it is typically a very complex task. PRISMAprepare makes it easy.
  • Make-ready Automation: PRISMAprepare now supports macros and hot folders to automate make-ready tasks for repeatable make-ready steps. Imagine taking the myriad of agendas and supporting files for a school board meeting, compiling them together, and then automatically resizing them all, applying tabs and covers, and generally building the final document all in one automated make-ready step.

Is this a new, disruptive technology for creating innovative business applications? Not really. Is it a clean, effective way to increase your profitability for these types of jobs and to free up your resources to work on other tasks? Absolutely. PODi members can see how in the full product briefing that includes videos demonstrating how PRISMAprepare does:

  • Compilation and document editing
  • Page and image editing
  • Personalization
  • Make-ready Automation

Another great source of information on this topic will be the 2014 AppForum conference session Canon and EFI are leading on how to streamline make-ready operations, March 31-April 2 in Las Vegas. I hope to see you there.

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