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A conversation with Michael Dreher: An insider’s view on the benefits of PrimeCenter

April 27, 2021

We caught up with Michael Dreher, Caldera’s Director of Strategic & Technical Partnerships, to learn how PrimeCenter can revolutionize your prepress workflow.

PrimeCenter is a prepress automation solution to optimize job preparation & nesting.

It carries a number of benefits beyond simply automating repetitive prepress tasks, and we caught up with Michael Dreher to find out how the software helps print service providers to operate their prepress functions more efficiently. 

 “The prepress service carries out the imposition and manages the digital flow, which allows the transmission of the data necessary for printing and cutting,” explains Michael. “PrimeCenter will definitely help our customers to automate as much as possible in their production, while content tracking will help them to avoid mistakes and save consumables.” Without PrimeCenter preparing files at the prepress stage is far more labor-intensive. It takes time to generate nested files with registration marks directly on documents and requires the attention of a dedicated prepress operator. 

“Without using an automation program such as PrimeCenter, most prepress tasks are done manually,” says Michael. “In today’s demanding print market, operators can little afford to waste this time on repetitive prepress actions. Using Adobe products for this is difficult because the file sizes are too big, so with PrimeCenter, we’re providing our customers with a faster and more efficient option.” 

Automation is clearly the way forward in digital printing, and not just in prepress functions. Its main objective is to save time on daily repetitive tasks, whether that’s in order processing, production or preparing files for printing. PSPs can reap multiple benefits by using PrimeCenter for prepress automation. “PrimeCenter is compatible with any RIP and cutter controllers that support PDF file formats,” explains Michael. “It’s fully integrated with our own RIP products, and with Zünd Cut Center solutions. It supports multiple file types and integrates the Callas preflight technology software, as well as being a multi-platform supported solution. This all adds up to increased operator productivity, while optimized layouts save time and reduce media usage.” 

For print operators who believe they don’t need a prepress solution to augment their RIP software, Michael points out the differences between the programs. “PrimeCenter sits upstream from the RIP and has been created to fit easily into a Print&Cut workflow. When different input image files come in, PrimeCenter will automatically prepare and optimize them. These files are then pre-flighted, and nested together into ready-for-production layouts. PrimeCenter doesn’t replace the RIP, as it doesn’t directly drive the printers or cutters, but it’s a far more effective way of optimizing and automating daily repetitive tasks, preventing issues at the production stage.” 

The benefit of using a program like this alongside the RIP is that each product is dedicated to specific tasks. PrimeCenter is all about job optimization and preparation for printing and cutting, while the RIP takes care of color management and file processing solutions for large and grand format peripherals. “When you prepare everything in PrimeCenter, it really simplifies automation in the RIP. The RIP receives files that are already print ready, speeding up the production process.” 

One of PrimeCenter’s strengths is how well it optimizes the cutting workflow. “PrimeCenter is getting more flexible,” says Michael. “We can now generate output PDF cut files, meaning operators can use it across a wider range of cutting devices.” The ready-to-cut files generated by the program are layered PDFs, the most used format in the market. Each element of the design has its own layer, which can be linked to different tools or cutting methods set in the cutter controller. This means that any cutter or router controller that can handle layered PDF files is compatible with PrimeCenter software. 

So who should be investing in PrimeCenter? “Any operator who wants a product that integrates seamlessly with his RIP and saves valuable time in file preparation,” says Michael. “Or users who want to focus on added-value tasks, freeing up time to focus on printing rather than preparation. It’s all about automating daily repetitive tasks.” One of PrimeCenter’s great benefits is that PSPs who don’t have the manpower for manual prepress tasks can now automate easily. “If you use PrimeCenter to move your prepress tasks upstream, your printer operators can focus on printing and printer maintenance – on keeping the presses running.” 

For PSPs who feel uncertain about using PrimeCenter software, Michael has this advice for a successful implementation: “Tell us how you work, and we’ll show you how to optimize your workflow and save money. You need to have clear goals of what you want to achieve, and an understanding of your input and output file variables. With PrimeCenter, you won’t need to automate all of the files – you can scale as you learn and become comfortable with the software.”