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Tips for Evaluating RIP Software for Direct-to-Screen Systems

Philip Wanzong is the product manager for EXILE Technologies, a manufacturer of pre-press equipment, including thermal imagesetters and direct-to-screen devices. He has worked in the graphic arts industry for more than 25 years, beginning as a typesetter and film stripper in the offset printing industry, and continuing on to be in involved in flexography, newspaper, and screen print. 
For more information on EXILE and Wazong, visit: http://www.exiletech.com/

Most direct-to-screen (DTS) equipment requires RIP (Raster Image Processor) software to operate. Be sure to evaluate this piece carefully. It can be frustrating to find out after an installation that a RIP requires a special file format, or is extremely slow to load jobs. The software should have all the features required without being overly confusing or complex. Also, it shouldn’t have to be tethered to the DTS equipment. Ideally, the RIP will be installed in the art room and not the screen room. Some do this by ripping the job and sending one-bit tiff files that are already templated and halftoned to a queue at the printer. The screen room operator then only has to select the correct job and color to begin printing. The software on the printer itself is also important. Use these simple questions to evaluate the software before you buy it:

  • Does it allow the job to be repositioned if needed?
  • Can the job be previewed before printing?
  • Can templates be easily created for different screen sizes?
  • Will it automatically add jobs from a server or hot folder?

By narrowing down your choices with these questions, you’ll be able to find RIP software that best fits your needs.