Abee relies on PrintFactory for almost 20 years.
Some things, like red wine and aged cheese, get better over the years. This saying certainly applies to PrintFactory. This innovative and easy to use print production solution for banner, sign and super wide format printing has been around for many years, but is still getting better. Abee Reclameproducties, based in Moordrecht/the Netherlands, was one of the early adopters of this multifunctional all-in-one software solution. To further optimize their production environment, the company recently invested in PrintFactory v4.
The roots of Abee go back to 1965, when the father of current managing director Vincent Abee started the family business in a small shop in the center of Gouda. He specialized in display materials, billboards, retail signs and plastic letters. Especially the plastic letters were a good business at the time and he sold many of them to exhibitors at trade shows whilst they were building up their stands. One thing led to another, and before long Abee was building exhibition stands as well. Investing in a vinyl cutting plotter and some large format printing equipment was the next logical step that formed the foundation of what the company stands for today: a multi-disciplinary team of stand builders and sign making specialists in its broadest sense, literally and figuratively.
When Abee started looking for a good vinyl cutting solution back in the early ‘90s, they came across an interesting software solution, called Signalize! As it happens to be, Signalize! is the predecessor of what PrintFactory is today. Vincent Abee explains: “I was triggered by several things. While most of the cutting machine and large format printer manufacturers were using hardware RIPs, this solution was using a software RIP running on a standard Mac. Something else that struck me was the multitasking capability of the solution. Ripping, cutting and printing were carried out simultaneously. On top of that, the software came with a powerful WYSIWYG editor for drawing and designing objects, dimensioning, scanning and vectorizing, text editing, etc... All this may seem very normal today, but back then it was quite revolutionary.”
A complete production solution
20 years down the road, Abee still uses the same tried solution. Although the name has changed to PrintFactory, and a lot more great functionalities have been added through software upgrades over the years, the philosophy is still the same. Vincent: “The main advantage of PrintFactory is that it is more than just a RIP. It’s a complete production solution that gives us all the professional job preparation and file correction tools we need to produce more and faster with minimum waste and guaranteed superb results. Besides that, the software is extremely user friendly. Someone who is a bit familiar with the use of Photoshop or Illustrator will find the software very easy to use. Placing eyelets or creating tiles for a large format printing job is done in just a few clicks. Our experience is that basically everyone in the company can operate PrintFactory, it’s that simple to use.”
One RIP driving all printers and cutting devices
Another important reason why Abee opted for PrintFactory is the fact that one and the same RIP can drive multiple large-format printing and cutting devices. “This unique capability to control several printers with one single RIP is truly exemplary”, says Vincent. “We have two printers and a large format cutting plotter, and predictability across the different machines has never been an issue with PrintFactory. Once the file is ripped, all that remains to do for the operator is to select the appropriate file on the print controller and print it. Everything else is fully automated; it really could not be easier.” Another strong point of PrintFactory is the built-in color management solution. “We come from building exhibition stands,” adds Vincent, “and color management was new and rather abstract to us. But once again, the simplicity of the wizard-based user interface has been instrumental in guiding us through the process of aligning different printers and different media.”
Vincent concludes: “PrintFactory gave us a significant competitive advantage over other sign makers in the market, and with the recent upgrade we’re making another important leap forward. The good support of the people behind PrintFactory has been crucial in building our business from exhibition stand builders to the sign making specialists we are today. We’re thinking of adding another large format printer to our line-up, and there’s absolutely no doubt in our minds that PrintFactory will drive this one as well.”