Why Should I Upgrade My RIP?

It should come as no surprise that this is the most often-asked question when it comes to prepress RIPs and workflows. Given a couple of minutes, prepress managers, printing company owners, and even prepress operators can come up with a list of reasons/clichés against upgrading. By far, the most popular is, “There’s nothing really wrong with my current RIP.”

Depending on the kind of work you do, that may actually be true. If you’re running relatively simple jobs that are light on complexity or color content, a RIP upgrade may not pass the price/performance ratio test. But, if you handle a lot of jobs submitted from outside sources, you never really know what you’re going to get and that could spell trouble with a large dollar sign.

I recently heard from a user whose RIP software was several years old. His dealer had tried to convince him that he was overdue for an upgrade but he resisted spending the money to bring it current. Shortly thereafter he found himself eating a $6,000 print job because elements were missing and nobody noticed until the job was delivered. The PDF submitted for printing contained multiple transparency layers and his old RIP was not able to interpret it properly.

In this particular example you could fault the shop’s quality control as much as the RIP. After all, there are many prepress tools to help operators catch mistakes before its too late, not the least of which is good proofing method. But the fact remains, if your RIP is current, you eliminate the lion’s share of issues caused by inaccurate interpretation.

In the next installment we’ll talk about PDF 2.0 and its impact on RIPs.

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Xitron is the leading developer of the Harlequin RIP, Harlequin RIP based workflow, and TIFF Catcher software designed for computer-to-plate (CTP), digital output, high-speed inkjet, and direct-to-press systems. The Navigator RIP has long been recognized around the world as a best in class implementation of software RIP technology with over 35,000 installations worldwide in commercial offset, web offset, flexo, packaging, screen printing, and transactional data applications. Offering "prepress independence®," Xitron systems are compatible with virtually every output system available today. Solutions include Screen PTR RIP kits, Agfa RIP kits, Scitex RIP Kits, ECRM RIP Kits, Creo RIP Kits, QMDI RIPs and many others.

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