RIPs come in all shapes and sizes. Wait, that’s not true. They are software and therefore shapeless, unless you’re talking about the design of the user interface; but I digress. What’s important is that all RIPs have a basic purpose of interpreting PostScript (not so much anymore) or PDF files for output on imaging devices. Beyond that, options and features can be added that make them more complex and expensive, but also more functional or automated.
The point is, it’s worth exploring the various add-ons that are available for a system, even when price is the deciding factor. If you don’t take the time to investigate you may miss out on a feature or function that could save significant time throughout a prepress shift. Of course, time is money, which means one seemingly insignificant attribute could be the difference between the system paying for itself in six months or less instead of a year or more.
I bring this up because a recent installation quantified it for a screen printing customer, who was then featured in a success story published here. (link) The customer had originally purchased the RIP to solve a quality issue but discovered that the addition of the inexpensive workflow module was saving them two-three minutes in the creation of each screen. Insignificant, right?
They image as many as 900 screens a day.
Take the time to explore the features and options available when upgrading or buying a new RIP package. You may be into commercial offset, flexo, screen printing or even high speed inkjet, but it doesn’t matter. You never know where your productivity (or your savings) will come from.