Star product: Alwan Print Standardizer X Start & Live
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Latest versions of Alwan's colour management suite target both big and small print operations
What do they do?
Print Standardizer X Start and Print Standardizer X Live are two new versions of Alwan’s Print Standardizer 4.6 suite, which has been built on since the package’s first incarnation in 2000 and rebranded as Print Standardizer X Go at the start of this year. Start is an entry-level version of Print Standardizer X Go, while Live is for more sophisticated, industrial-scale set-ups. Like their Go antecedents, both the Start and Live iterations are designed to enable colour-consistent printing to ISO 12647 standards and to the US G7 specification.
How do the products work?
In common with Print Standardizer X Go, Start and Live consist of a centralised quality assurance database that interprets spectral information read from a colour bar on the sheet using a handheld spectrophotometer, an industrial strength scanning spectrophotometer or a closed-loop on-press camera system, depending on the package selected. Print Standardizer X then automatically creates and makes available corrected dot-gain curves for the different paper types in use, which can then in turn be uploaded into the RIP, or by linking back to Alwan CMYK Optimizer, to a file optimisation queue in pre-press. "If the dot gain is applied to the PDF via a queue, the solution is 100% automated and free from the possibility of human error," says Mark Anderton, managing director of UK distributor Colour Engine.
When were they launched and who is each aimed at?
Both the Start and Live iterations were launched at the beginning of this year. "A Start user could be a one-man band – they’d have one press, and be scanning colour data using a handheld instrument and then entering this information into their system manually," says Anderton. "Live will suit web offset printers with a closed-loop on-press spectral camera system from Quadtech, GMI or Rutherford."
Anderton adds that the already-established Go version sits in the middle, and so is suited to someone with three to five presses, using a scanning spectrophotometer such as X-rite’s IntelliTrax.
What are the products’ USPs?
Alwan reports that, while other companies offer similar packages to the Print Standardizer X Start software, there are no other packages designed to work with closed-loop, on-press systems in the way that Print Standardizer X Live is. "Alwan is coming at it from a different perspective from the other guys," says Anderton. "The other guys start from the bottom and work their way up, in my opinion, whereas we have started with a premium product that can be cut down to make it available – in its Start and Go incarnations – at an entry-level cost."
How easy are they to use?
"This is very very easy to use," says Anderton. "It’s well designed and it’s got a nice feel to the software." He adds that the fact that Print Standardizer X reports not only through PDF form but also through a press-side screen, makes the system particularly user-friendly. "Having that information on screen gives you live conformance data," he says. "That’s a killer feature."
What sort of service support and training are available?
"This is a premium product and you get premium levels of service," says Anderton, who reports that this involves both first line support from the UK and from Alwan’s HQ in Lyon, an optional upgrade for onsite support, and full training. This training will take just two to four hours for Print Standardizer X Start and a day for the Go iteration. The amount of training needed for the Live package will be assessed on a case by case basis, says Anderton, but will typically take at least a couple of days.
How much does each package cost?
Print Standardizer X Start costs £2,000 and Live starts from £12,000. Print Standardizer X Go costs £4,000.
Operating system Mac or PC
Price Start: £2,000; Live: from £12,000; Go: £4,000
Contact Colour Engine ?0113 815 1799?www.colour-engine.com
ALTERNATIVESBodoni Systems’ pressSign
PressSign standard is a direct competitor to Alwan X Start. It is designed to enable printers to hit any international or custom standard by providing density and tonal curve adjustments for process and for up to two spot colours. It works with X-Rite’s i1, 530, SpectroEye, eXact and Barbieri’s LFP, Swing and SpectroPad, spectrophotometer devices.
Operating system Mac or PC
Contact Bodoni Systems 01923 220530 ? www.bodoni.co.uk
The aim behind Mellow Colour’s software, reports the company, is to offer a highly modular line-up. For entry-level requirements there is the PrintSpecOK which can be added to with an ImpressionProof PDF viewer. Also available is FlatLine input from on-press measuring instruments, conventional and digital press calibration, control of special colours, colour-managed remote soft proofing and online print submissions.
Operating system Mac or PC
Price PrintSpec for remote press-run approval and? press calibration is £1,950 plus training, but with? other add-ons can cost up to £5,000Contact Mellow Colour 01386 421534? www.mellowcolour.com
"The ability to measure inline is necessary in order to identify colour variations on press. We now have the capability to control our printing process in a way that is vastly superior to the most advanced alternatives available on the market"
Diodato Mercurio Joint owner, Grafiche Mercurio