Print more using less media
December 06, 2023
Why you should consider a nesting software for your prepress workflow
How do you achieve the most cost-effective print layout? Certainly not by spending hours manually arranging your images on a design software. In this article, we will present you with a smarter alternative to achieve optimized print layouts while saving time, cutting down on media waste and reducing production costs. What’s not to like?
Don’t underestimate the importance of prepress
It’s an understatement to say that the world of communications is facing many challenges today. How can we factor in sustainability and durability in a sector where the ephemeral is king? In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about eco-design, circular economy and recycling. In the meantime, print businesses are looking to optimize their processes, and we believe that prepress can play a significant role in that regard— to reduce waste and help companies implement more efficient, sustainable production workflows.
In digital printing, prepress refers to the processes and tasks taking place before the actual printing of the design. Prepress involves preparing print files before production, by checking the format, resolution, transparency, fonts, bleed, cut marks, and more. It plays a critical role in ensuring the quality and consistency of the final output.
But there’s another step not to overlook if you want to achieve significant time and media savings— image nesting.
What is nesting, and how does it work?
Nesting refers to the process of optimizing the placement of multiple items of different sizes and shapes onto a larger sheet or roll of print media. Nesting together different images that you need to print (and cut) on the same sheet helps to maximize media usage, cut down waste and improve the efficiency of your production.
While nesting sounds great on paper, it’s an entirely different story when you have to do it manually via your design software. When you’re printing a series of irregular-shaped items, it’s not always intuitive to arrange the layout by eye.
Manual nesting is a tedious and time-consuming process, and no matter how you align or rotate your images, too often you’re left with useless white space that represents media waste. Over long and multiple print runs, you’ll be left with a substantial amount of frustration, wasted media, and money lost with impacts for your business in terms of sustainability.
Manual nesting in Illustrator vs. Automatic nesting in PrimeCenter
However, when it is done via dedicated software (such as Caldera PrimeCenter), the nesting phase can be automated to optimize media usage while factoring in your production constraints. Further instructions can be included at the same time to anticipate cutting and finishing stages (adding cut contours, cut marks or print bleed). And most importantly, multiple print jobs can be nested together on the basis of specific metadata, such as the media type or customer name. And this is how prepress can boost the efficiency of your entire production!
The advantages of using a nesting software
Here are some of the benefits of using a dedicated software to automatically group your files in optimized layouts:
- Automatic nesting reduces media waste by positioning and rotating the images, so they fit the precise width of the media with the minimum amount of wasted space. This is particularly useful for printing multiple items of varying size and dimensions.
- Using advanced nesting features (such as grouping files per customer, or per media type) will help you save significant time during the printing, cutting, finishing and delivery stages.
- Fitting more images on your media optimizes throughput, while minimizing production costs.
- Factor in cutting marks, cut contours, print bleed and annotations directly in your automatic nesting processes to streamline your workflow— from prepress to final delivery.
Nest your files automatically with Caldera PrimeCenter
PrimeCenter is a powerful prepress software used to optimize the preparation of print and cut files. It is ideal for print shops who wish to optimize their media usage and the efficiency of their fleet of printers.
Designed to help prepress operators in their daily tasks, PrimeCenter allows the user to create customized recipes to handle file preflight, double-sided printing, the addition of cut marks, print bleed, cut contours, annotations— and most importantly, advanced image nesting for rectangular and complex shapes.
How does PrimeCenter work?
PrimeCenter integrates in any existing workflow to streamline the preparation of your print and cut files.
Integrate PrimeCenter with your web shop, your ERP/MIS software, your RIP software and cutting device. PrimeCenter helps to create a smooth workflow from the initial order through to finishing and dispatch.
When different image files come in, PrimeCenter preflights and nests them into ready-to-produce layouts. PrimeCenter does not replace your RIP software, but it’s far more effective to prepare files and prevent issues at the production stage.
Once your layouts are done, send them directly to your RIP software, and towards the printing and cutting stages.
Taking a closer look at PrimeCenter nesting
Nest rectangular and complex shapes automatically
Whether you need to nest several copies of the same file, different files of similar format, or a bunch of different images with varying sizes and dimensions, PrimeCenter’s true-shape nesting algorithm is up to the task.
Nesting rectangular shapes
Nesting complex shapes
Nesting rectangular & complex shapes
Nest and group files according to specific metadata (ganging)
Depending on your processes and production constraints, you might need to group files depending on the customer or the media type.
In that case, PrimeCenter’s ganging feature will adapt to your needs, and separate files in different nests. Finishing and delivery will be made easier, as you won’t need to sort all your printed products manually.
Prioritize specific jobs in your nests
When nesting or ganging files, you can define an order of priority inside your nests in order to prioritize the production of specific jobs.
View and compare the media coverage of your layouts
All nested layouts automatically display a media coverage percentage to help you monitor media usage. You can use different nesting strategies and parameters, easily compare the layouts and define which one is best suited for production.
Caldera’s prepress software is the perfect companion to create ready-to-print and ready-to-cut files for a range of applications. With advanced prepress and nesting capabilities, you will be guaranteed significant time and media savings.
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