Imp's smart print layout creation technology is a versatile, stand-alone, and affordable application that supports offset, digital, and wide-format inkjet presses. It impacts material efficiency and machine productivity by helping printing companies accelerate and optimize layout planning on rectangular-cut, die-cut, and combination jobs, both sheetfed and rollfed. It can be easily integrated into most workflows.
There are many traditional imposition software products that now offer ganging engines for flat rectangular jobs and fewer solutions that provide layout planning for non-rectangular jobs. While some solutions target offset printing only, others target wide-format only. Imp's versatility makes it a solution for many types of printers, such as commercial printers that produce both commercial and packaging jobs.
With such an automated print layout planning software, another major benefit is the quick and accurate estimation and quote generation. With all the intelligence built into the software an estimator can, without much knowledge of production, generate accurate layouts and use them in his estimates.
Imp software has been certified by CIP4 for JDF compatibility. The software integrates seamlessly with almost all popular prepress workflow solutions. JDF output for guillotine cutting and folding have also been proven in the field. Apart from the out-of-the-box standalone module, a software development kit (SDK) is also available for MIS / ERP solutions providers to integrate Imp software. A half dozen MIS/ERP software providers use Imp's planning engine to ensure accurate estimates and provide a seamless production workflow.
The software was designed based on the following philosophy:
Built-in Intelligence: Automatically create cost-based layouts that ensure that all operations, including finishing, can be carried out correctly.
Optimization: Optimize paper utilization after considering all process costs accrued while printing, guillotine cutting, die making, die cutting, and binding.
Workflow: Reduce complexity by having a single interface for book imposition, flat jobs, and nested layouts for die-cut jobs. Die Making is one process that makes the workflow for die-cut jobs very different.
Operators spend considerable time ensuring that any opportunity to reduce the die rule length is not missed. Imp automates this process by creating single cuts where possible. When the same layout is being prepared for print, a prepress operator spends considerable time resolving bleed overlaps. A complex geometric problem (finding medial axis) was solved for automating this task.
Imp's planning engine for bound jobs calculates the assembly plans and the layout plan in a single step. Understanding commercial book printing and capturing key parameters that play a part in decision making was the challenge.
When ganging multiples jobs with varied quantity and size, the software computes many permutations and combinations, generating thousands of layout options in the process. Some layouts might be very efficient in terms of wastage but costly to cut. The challenge is to quickly evaluate the number of cuts required for each of those layout options. As a result of built-in intelligence, Imp can quickly compute the minimum guillotine cuts required for any layout.
When it comes to signature layout, the software computes the maximum folding depth (layers of paper) for every folding template. It also assesses the assembly of folded signatures for good binding results. Imp takes paper caliper, press size, and binding and folding machine constraints into account.
Sourcing print sheets from roll stocks means that one of the dimensions can be optimized. Imp's ability to suggest roll sizes from the paper/board roll stocks in the inventory results in paper savings. While doing so, the software is also aware of the additional cost of cutting rolls from a roll stock before sending it to a sheet-fed press. The user is assured that the software will find the best sheet fit for the job.
When constrained by an available list of sheet sizes or roll stock widths, it is critical to consider multiple interlocking patterns for a single job. Imp can dynamically generate the repeat pattern that is best for that sheet size.
Another complexity in the case of die-cut jobs is finding an existing die to be reused. Typically, if a printer searches for an existing die at all, it requires an operator searching to write smart queries to a database system using metadata and dimensions of the carton. The judges were particularly impressed that Imp has developed an advanced die-searching algorithm that can search thousands of dies and find any die whose outline geometry is a match, within a given tolerance, with the job(s) on the layout. It is no longer necessary to use metadata like customer name, carton style, etc. to find a matching die, and it shows a graphical preview of how close the dies match.