Screening for the next-generation high-definition devices

In days gone by, almost every job was more or less 600 dpi in both directions. Now there is a drive to higher definition, with higher resolutions and smaller drop sizes.

So we’ve introduced a new feature in ScreenPro™ that allows the resolution of a job to be “upscaled” meaning that a RIP can still render at 600 dpi through an existing workflow and then ScreenPro can upscale the job to the printer resolution. The benefit is that you don’t need to change your existing workflow, can cut down on RIP time by RIPping at 600 dpi, but print on a 1200 dpi machine for increased definition.

There are various ways of achieving higher resolutions: use the new generation of print heads running at 1200 dpi, use multiple print bars, or use scanning head printers for multiple passes. Sometimes it really is increased resolution that is required and other times it is higher addressability and, for example with textile printing, sometimes you just need to be able to put down more ink in any given location.

Once manufacturers have achieved 1200 x 1200 dpi there are other problems to solve. There is four times as much data generated that needs to be passed through the workflow pipeline to the press compared to a 600 dpi data path. There are some applications where the higher addressability isn’t needed, and 600 dpi is ok, in this case you could run the press twice as fast and get twice the production if you ran it at 1200 x 600 dpi, or three times as fast at 1200 x 400 dpi.

To solve the problem of too much data slowing down processing times we have implemented resolution upscaling in the latest release of ScreenPro. The typical example is that we have an existing press and workflow to go with it at 600dpi. The RIP delivers data at this resolution. We then have a choice – to send it to the 600 dpi printer, in which case we screen as normal, or we send to the 1200 dpi machine.

In this simple case we use ScreenPro to double the number of dots it produces in both directions. For non-square resolutions we multiply in one direction only. Also for non-square resolutions we have to change the shape of the screens, a circular screen will be distorted by the non-square printer resolution so we have to correct for that up front.

What this means is that you can continue to RIP at 600 dpi and keep the same workflow right up to the last process of screening. You keep the same PC processor requirements, same network data transfer speeds. Only at the last stage use ScreenPro to upscale to your desired resolution.

This will be a really useful feature for many customers developing the next generation of high definition digital printers.

Hunkeler Innovationdays 2019
Join us on stand C34 at Hunkeler Innovationdays 2019 to learn more about the new features in ScreenPro.

ScreenPro™ with PrintFlat™ removes banding on large format posters

Watch our latest video showcasing our award-winning technology, ScreenPro with PrintFlat.

Global Graphics Software’s Technical Services team worked with Ellerhold AG, the leading poster printing house in Germany, to enhance the printing quality of its large-format posters. The result was 100% customer satisfaction and an increased market share of outdoor advertising products in digital printing.

Adrian Monk

Adrian Monk, Software Developer at Global Graphics Software

Meet Adrian, software developer at Global Graphics Software:

What is your background?

My career in software and computing started when my brother first bought me a computer to help with my homework. Since then, everything I’ve done has been geared towards helping me achieve my dream of writing software and working in a technical environment.

I have a BSc in computer science and over nine years of experience developing software in the engineering sector.


What were you doing before Global Graphics Software?

Before I started at Global Graphics, most of my working life was spent at a software company in Cambridge called AVEVA in their platform group, working on the fundamental frameworks that underpinned all of their products.


What’s the best thing about working at Global Graphics Software?

There are many great things about working at Global Graphics I’m not sure where to start, but to list just a few:

  • People – The people I work with on a day to day basis are all incredibly talented with a wide range of experiences. The company is small enough that we really do foster a family feel to the environment.
  • Interesting problems – We are on the bleeding edge of printing technology, trying to solve problems that can improve the output of our customers’ hardware by using software and science.
  • Environment – We have a modern, open plan office that really encourages collaboration. We get a great selection during our free breakfast and hot/cold drinks when we want them.
  • Freedom and trust – It’s clear that Global Graphics wants to empower its developers. We have say over all aspects of our work, from the technologies that we use to the processes we follow.

What has been your career path since joining Global Graphics Software?

Since I joined the team in March 2018, I have been the hands-on team lead and Scrum Master for the ScreenPro™ team. I am responsible for facilitating the Agile processes we follow and I work closely with stakeholders to ensure that the team always has what it needs to develop a great product. I even still write code, albeit less than I used to.

What is the environment like?

The environment is open, inviting, friendly and full of talented people. Global Graphics offers flexible working and work from home opportunities. We have a fully stocked kitchen and a full-size table tennis table.


What is the most exciting thing about your work?

We are solving big issues for our customers, improving the quality of their output to the point where we can physically see the difference.


What projects have you been involved with?

Since joining the team we have released several updates to the ScreenPro application and now we are looking at future projects, such as how we develop the PrintFlat™ technology.


Have you taken part in any of the social events?

I have been a member of The Shed project since its creation this year. This is a fantastic opportunity for staff to play around with technologies that we don’t normally use in our day to day roles. My project, for example, is an automated plant management system which uses a Raspberry Pi and various sensors to manage tasks like watering.


Have you taken advantage of any of the company benefits?

Since I’ve only been here a short time, the main benefit I’ve taken advantage of is the company’s Perkbox membership, which offers discounts on lots of things including cinema tickets which is extremely handy!


What keeps you here?

There are a number of things that keep me here, but mainly it’s the continuous flow of interesting problems to solve and the great team atmosphere we have built.

 

If you’re interested in joining Global Graphics Software visit our web page to find the latest vacancies: www.globalgraphics.com/careers

 

Leathon Lagerwall

Leathon Lagerwall

Meet Leathon, one of our software test engineers.

What is your background?

I spent my early childhood in South Africa and moved to the UK when I was ten. I’ve always had an interest in computing and graduated from the University of Bedfordshire with a 2:1 Computer Science degree. Soon after graduating I worked with companies such as Xerox and much later moved on to work for WorkSmart, where I worked as a graduate software test analyst.  After moving to Cambridge I found the perfect opportunity to work with Global Graphics Software, where I have been for the last two years.

What is the best thing about working at Global Graphics Software?

The people –  everyone is friendly, helpful and willing to share their knowledge.

What is the environment like?

It’s a well catered for environment. As a software test engineer I’m always well looked after when I need software or hardware.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

Whatever the developers build, I get to break!

What projects have you been involved with?

I’ve work on both PDF Editor and ScreenPro™ where I’m the lead GUI tester and automator. I mainly test the front end of the application and ensure that it’s ready for the customer in appearance and functionality.

Have you taken advantage of any of the company benefits?

I use Perkbox a lot – especially for the free cinema tickets every month.

What keeps you here?

The people – and all the benefits the company offers.

 

If you’re interested in joining Global Graphics Software visit our web page to find the latest vacancies: www.globalgraphics.com/careers

Ben Gilbert

Ben Gilbert, Principal Software Engineer

We chatted to Ben Gilbert, principal engineer, about his work at Global Graphics Software:

How did you come to work at Global Graphics Software?

I joined Global Graphics Software following a 10-year career in the Royal Air Force. I had always been interested in computers and programming so I decided to make this my career upon leaving the service.

What has been your career path since joining Global Graphics Software?

I joined as a technical support engineer, providing first line support to our gDoc Application Platform (GAP) SDK customers. I also started developing sample code and automated test harnesses for the GAP team to use.

I then moved into a software development engineer in test role, where I became responsible for all test automation within the applications team across all products.

I became a full-time software developer on the applications team and worked on our GAP SDK as well as a short time working on our gDoc Core (now Mako) SDK.

I then moved to the Technical Services team, as a senior software engineer, where I was involved in many customer-driven projects – working directly with our customers’ engineering teams.

My current role as a principal engineer is to architect solutions for our customers and be responsible for design, implementation and delivery against tight deadlines.

Most recently, I have been working on our ScreenPro™ Direct solution. This began as a single customer project, with the goal of driving print data to hardware in real-time. It has now matured into a product being used by multiple customers.

How long have you worked here?

Five years.

What is the environment like?

Relaxed and informal. We are trusted to perform our work to the best of our ability, so there is little micro-management.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

Helping our customers solve real-world problems and helping them ship their products faster. It’s a good feeling knowing that our customers are running code from Global Graphics Software, that is allowing them to achieve their vision and business goals.

What keeps you here?

The people I work with day to day, plus the freedom to make decisions (and learn from mistakes). Career progression is very good. If you make it known where you want to go, Global Graphics Software will try it’s best to get you there.

 

If you’re interested in joining Global Graphics Software visit our web page to find the latest vacancies: www.globalgraphics.com/careers

Matt Gosnell

Matt Gosnell, IT Director at Global Graphics Software

Here, Matt Gosnell, IT Director, tells us about life at Global Graphics Software:

What is your background?

I started my career in IT because my mother said I needed to get a job! I studied photographic and digital media at Anglia Ruskin University but had always had an interest in computers. As a child, my best friend’s dad was a computer engineer and playing games in the early 90’s was my childhood. By my late teens, I was building my own computers and was more interested in gaming and the digital side of my degree than being in the darkroom.

My first job in IT was at Bassingbourn Village College – I was the onsite technician who helped diagnose a variety of IT problems. It was a great start and I learnt a lot ‘on the job’. After a couple of years I moved on to an IT support company, where I would visit all kinds of companies for onsite assistance. Every day brought a new problem to solve. It was hard work but again I learnt a lot. In 2009 the excitement of a new environment each day wore off and I decided to make a jump to an internal IT department where I could make a difference long term, that’s when I joined Global Graphics Software.

What’s been your career path since joining Global Graphics Software?

I started working at a junior level in a team of four. After two years, I was promoted to manage the team. We were a much bigger company then and it was back in an era where you had to go to IT to get stuff done – it was a very busy department. I’ve since grown with the company, taking on more responsibility over the years and have been IT director for almost three years now.

Today, the company is very different; instead of having a single company to look after we also have our sister companies – so it’s a challenging environment. My goal is to try and achieve more consistency in IT among all the businesses.

What’s the best thing about working at Global Graphics Software?

For me the best thing about working here is that I’ve been given the opportunity to grow. I’ve always worked hard and strived to better myself and Global Graphics has encouraged me to do that. I’ve been on a fair few IT training courses over the years. Nowadays I try to go on a course once a year to keep my skills sharp.

What is the environment like?

It’s very friendly and has a flat management structure, i.e. we all sit amongst each other, whether management or not.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

For me the most exciting thing is being at the forefront of IT technology. I have to keep abreast of technological change and how this can benefit the businesses that I represent.

Are there any big projects you’ve been involved with?

I’ve been involved in many big projects mainly because IT tends to be at the heart of the business. For example, we’ve moved offices, both in the UK and abroad, developed cloud and disaster recovery solutions, as well as integrated purchased business into the Global Graphics Group.

Do you take part in any social activities?

I’ve been part of the Global Graphics cycling group. We did quite a few London to Cambridge cycle rides. I also enjoy taking part in The Shed, a creative environment where we are free to work on projects to learn new skills. I am an active lead in my own project and am currently building a temperature-controlled fan array using an Ardunio Uno. As a result I’m learning all about electronics!

What keeps you here?

My job has changed so much over the last ten years and this has meant I’ve never had time to get bored. I’ve been given more responsibility and the opportunity to progress, and of course IT has changed so much, it has kept me on my toes. I’m given plenty of support, but I’m also trusted to make decisions on my own.

I have the freedom to develop as I’ve still got a lot to learn about directing a business in its goals. As the company grows my role grows – I have more to manage. My aim is to continue to grow. I’m in control of where we’re going and that’s a positive for me.

 

If you’re interested in joining Global Graphics Software visit our web page to find the latest vacancies: www.globalgraphics.com/careers

Lesley Whitfield

Lesley Whitfield, software developer at Global Graphics Software

We chatted to Lesley Whitfield, software developer in our Wilmslow office, about her work at Global Graphics Software:

What is your background?

I was always interested in maths and science then discovered engineering at university, eventually ending up with an Open University degree in maths and electronics.

How did you come to work at Global Graphics Software?

I was looking for a new challenge after working on a smaller product.  Although I was also offered the opportunity at the time to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, I chose the more technically interesting job at Global Graphics Software.

What were you doing before?

A whole range of jobs from stress analysis in the aerospace sector, instrument safety, embedded software for smart meters, to software for direct mail.  Before joining Global Graphics Software 18 years ago I tended to move on to something new every couple of years.

What’s the best thing about working at Global Graphics Software?

Working in a highly motivated and skilled team that is serious about doing the best possible job.

What has been your career path since joining Global Graphics Software?

I joined as a software developer helping out with our color management technology including some of the more mathematical aspects. Later I wrote the color interpretation code for XPS (one of the Page Description Languages we support), then was lucky enough to join the PCL team from the start. This allowed me to play a significant part in interpreting the specification and designing the way the PDL code interacts with our underlying core technology, which in turn was very useful when I was part of the team trying to speed it up. I have swapped back and forth between a couple of teams, tending to specialize in one or two main areas but helping out where required including, unusually, a stint as developer in support. The last six months I have been excited to work on our Harlequin VariData solution where it is possible to make a very big difference to performance and hence the customer experience.

What is the environment like? 

Hardworking, friendly and helpful. Ideas are discussed on their merits so everyone has a chance to contribute. Developers have a good relationship with QA who take an active part in our scrums, and also with support. Working hours are fairly flexible and evenings and weekends are respected. The office can be a little quiet sometimes, but everyone is willing to discuss technical issues and most people are up for a chat in the kitchen. We are small enough to get to know people across the company. There are various social events throughout the year.

What is the most exciting thing about your work?

Probably knowing that the software I’m writing today will soon be allowing huge presses all over the world to operate accurately and at high speed.

What projects have you been involved with?

The most exciting project I was involved with was when we had six months to make our embedded RIP go three times faster across a wide range of jobs.  This was incredibly challenging but as a team we were determined to do it, and thanks to our ingenuity and diverse skill set we succeeded!

Have you taken advantage of any of the company benefits?

Yes, I am a keen sailor and volunteer as sea staff with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland. I normally do at least a week each year and put my paid charity day towards that (http://oytscotland.org.uk/).

In addition, I always take up the opportunity of a week’s unpaid leave in addition to my paid holiday.

Global Graphics Software has also supported me over the years in achieving my personal goals. I have been studying Japanese as a hobby with Manchester University since 2015, and last year I was able to spend two months working in our Tokyo office which greatly benefited my Japanese. I just got my final exam results and am very pleased to say I passed!

What keeps you here?

Working here gives me an opportunity to work on the type of problems that I enjoy solving, with friendly colleagues who are highly motivated to do a great job. I feel my work is appreciated and relied on. Recently Global Graphics Software has been getting into a variety of new areas such as multi-level screening and inkjet technologies, and that can only mean more opportunities in the future.

 

If you’re interested in joining Global Graphics Software visit our web page to find the latest vacancies: www.globalgraphics.com/careers

 

 

What’s new in Harlequin Version 12?

Yesterday saw the launch of the latest version of the Harlequin RIP®. It’s the first major PDF RIP for production printing to offer compatibility with the PDF 2.0 standard and is packed with features for high-speed digital printing, including Advanced Inkjet Screens™ that improve output quality, further additions for labels and packaging applications, and new features for wide format and envelope printing.

Check out the video, where Global Graphics CTO Martin Bailey introduces Version 12 and highlights compatibility with PDF 2.0, dynamic overlays and In-RIP bar code generation:

You’ll also find more information on our website: https://www.globalgraphics.com/globalgraphics-software/products/harlequin-host-renderer-sdk

 

What do you really need in a RIP to drive a digital press in labels & packaging?

In this latest post, Global Graphics CTO Martin Bailey goes back to basics and explores what you need in a RIP to drive a digital press for labels & packaging.

Martin highlights rendering your jobs correctly, color management with CMYK inks and spot colors, PDF layering and technical separations, and provides a high-level view of the features of the Harlequin RIP® for digital labels and packaging.

Watch Martin’s presentation here:

Follow us on Twitter: @Global_Graphics

Harlequin RIP helps to drive the new HP Production Pro for Indigo Labels & Packaging

Our corporate communications director, Jill Taylor, talks to Roy Faigenbloom of HP Indigo at Labelexpo Europe last month about the new digital front end driving the HP Production Pro for Indigo labels & packaging.

HP Indigo chose the Harlequin RIP as the RIP engine in this new DFE, which has been designed to drive all HP Indigo digital labels and packaging presses and has been rated as 5x faster than the previous DFE.