Imp is an intelligent software designed to simplify and automate the process of creating cost effective, print ready layouts for commercial and packaging printers. With some key innovations and sophisticated algorithms, it offers one-click solution to create imposed layouts for book work, ganging & packaging jobs on sheet fed as well as web fed presses.
Drive both printing and die cutting from the same application.
Imp 8.0, a fully automatic layout planning and imposition software, is now available for download. It is a major release.
Ground-up support for large format presses is the callout feature in version 8. From this version on, there would be no hesitation is claiming that Imp software is a rapid print layout creation software for large format presses (also!).
With the new version of Imp, you can create efficient layouts for large format presses. Both roll-to-roll and flat-bed format presses are supported. The costing function for these presses try to capture the realities of large format printing with better accuracy.
When planning on a large format press, the ganging algorithm of Imp works differently. With less emphasis on reducing number of layouts and more on saving substrate and ink, the software will find the most cost effective ganged layouts. The software is also capable of considering and placing the same job on multiple layouts.
Again with the goal of making cost effective layouts for large format scenarios, Imp introduces a new machine category: Digital Cutting Machine. The cost function of this machine can calculate the cost of digitally cutting a layout (with knife or laser).
In version 8, there is considerable focus on handling of CAD data. This section highlights those enhancements.
Until now, geometry of an unbound component could be set only by importing CAD files (DXF, CF2 or PDF). No changes could be done to the CAD data within Imp. This has changed; you can now make changes from within Imp by choosing the "Edit Geometry" option. Currently this CAD editor has only some basic functionality. But, going forward you can expect considerable development adding more and more features to this CAD Editor. Currently, this editor can come in handy in the following situations.
The same CAD Editor mentioned above comes in handy when you want to add some new lines or layers to the die data, just before exporting it. The editor also has a smart tool called "Auto Repeat Selection", which can automatically repeat any geometry you add over one or more stations. This tool is very handy when you want to add stripping rules to the die.
NOTE: You cannot delete existing geometry of the layout.
The Die Export window now shows dynamic preview of the die to the right as shown in the window below. Preview is shown as per the layers settings you have configured on the left.
For other geometry layers, you can now control two more things other than its color:
The software will remember these settings and automatically apply them in the future for layers with matching names.
You can now control how different line styles are rendered inside Imp's user interface. These settings also affect the line styles exported to DXF or PDF die.
You can also add new line types.
Below you can see the popup that allows you to define and control the different line styles. You must enter a series of values in millimeters. These values alternately define the stroke and space length.
While you can delete custom line types, predefined line types cannot be deleted.
Before version 8, Imp would only draw the cut-outline of the jobs in reports. By choosing the new option "Show all die lines", you can now make Imp draw a to-the-scale die drawing in the same place.
When this option is checked, Imp will also draw a line legend in the report for the reader to identify which lines belong to which layer.
Couple of new attributes have been added to a material (substrate) entry in the configuration data.
Requires UV drying: Identifies if the substrate’s surface is adsorbent or not. Nonadsorbing surfaces will be planned only on UV printing machines.
Different finish on back: Identifies if the two surfaces (front & back) have the same finish. If they have different finish, Imp will not use work & turn/tumble workstyles for such sheets. It will also raise a warning if the user creates such a layout manually.
For simplifying cutting process, a common request was to have only one job per column when ganging multiple jobs together. This feature is now available. This option is applicable only when "Stack jobs only vertically" option is also selected.
It is now possible create geometry marks which are never printed but only exported to the die CAD file. Moreover, user can control the name of the layer to which the mark is written into. Previously, this layer was always called “Registration” layer.
The stroke of the rectangle mark can be selectively turned on/off on any of the sides. It is now possible to create corner angle marks. Another new option for rectangle mark is the "corner radius".
It is now possible to manually enter the sheet sizes and roll widths that the software must consider while planning. This gives more control to planners who would like to try out different options.
Offcut values for covers can be parametric.
There is a new option in Binding Method which can prevent the software from using folding templates with cross folds when N-Up printing is done. In such cases, signatures with only parallel folds are used.
In the 'Export PDF' Action, when the user selects 'Separate PDF for each layout', ImpFlow gets set to output separate PDF file for each layout. The name of the file (or even folder) is determined by the expression entered by the user. However, ImpFlow is aware of the possibility that the text mark expression might give same name for multiple layouts in the plan. Previously, ImpFlow checks for such situations and fails with an error message 'SameNameForDifferentLayouts'. But as it turns out, there might be situations where it is desirable. If PDF output path for multiple layouts evaluate to be same, users expect that the layouts are appended one after another as separate pages in the same PDF file. The check mentioned just above is now removed effectively allowing more than one layout to be written to the same PDF file.
Many customers have been requesting for ganging algorithm that does not complicate nesting too much and generates only vertically stacked jobs. This might result in less efficient layouts, yet it is preferred for the sake of simplicity and ease of finishing on guillotine cutting machines. Below you can find the results of the new algorithm compared with the older "rectangular nesting" algorithm.
In earlier builds, ganging of multiple jobs is possible only through CSV or XML file. Multiple PDFs can’t be used to create gang layouts. In build 21.16, for the existing 'Create product from PDF' action, user can drag and drop an entire folder too. Behaviour is similar to copying individual PDF files. But one important condition is that the name of the folder must start with '+' (plus character).
In ImpFlow for die cut jobs from PDF files, option to define the spot color names for cut, crease and perforation lines was not available till last Imp build. Now this feature is available in Imp Flow > Product from PDF action. User can define the spot color names for these geometries (die lines).
In earlier builds, the PDF artwork is placed centered on the trim box of the component. To place the PDFs anchored with an edge or corner, required manual snapping the PDF page in each component/page. Now there is a setting in preferences dialog to set the default content anchor as shown below.
In earlier builds, the "Quiet Zone" (white margin) around bar code marks was hard coded. There was no option to remove it or control the margin. Now user can define the "Quiet Zone" in horizontal and vertical direction around the bar code mark as shown below.
In earlier builds, there was no quick way to view the component which is planned on a layout or vice versa. Now user can click on a component on layout and it will blink in the plan queue and vice versa.
In earlier builds, the component name labels on the layout are always displayed. When PDFs are assigned, these labels use to hide some part of PDF preview. Now user can turn on/off these labels in layout editor as shown below.
User can now define a guillotine cutting machine in the Configuration window. When a guillotine cutting machine is selected at the time of planning, Imp will take the cutting cost also into account. Imp software can now calculate number of cuts required for a ganged sheet and from it estimate the cutting cost. This cost is then added to the total cost of a ganged layout and it thus effects its ranking.
It is now possible to apply a marks template to unbound components, signatures & component pages. Previously, marks template could be applied only to layouts. When a marks template is applied to anything other than a layout, only those marks which are placed (directly/indirectly) relative to the bleed boundary or trim boundary are applied. Other marks are ignored.
In the unbound component editor, it is now possible to choose the mode in which editing needs to be done. By choosing “All”, user will be adding, deleting & modifying marks on all unbound components of the product. By choosing “Same orientation”, the user will be doing the same on all portrait or landscape unbound components respectively.
Through the Auto Mark Settings dialog, accessed from Tools > Auto Mark Settings, user can setup the software to automatically add marks to all unbound components created henceforth. Separate mark sets can be chosen for portrait and landscape jobs.
Imp does not load all the unbound component lines. Instead, it loads them in pages thus making the interface responsive even when there are hundreds of jobs.
There is now a new button in the plan tab, next to the plan button. It is called Push & pop planning. This commands can be used when planning all jobs can result in more than one layout. It will first do a 'plan non-stop' in the background and present the total cost. Using that as a base comparison, it will try to optimize further and find better solutions. As better solutions are found, the cost reduction against the first computed solution (the 'plan non-stop solution') is constantly shown to the user.
The computation can take a lot of time. Usually, the user will wait for a minute or two and then apply the best solution until then. Improvements can be consistently found when planning for offset presses. Also, solutions will be bettered at higher frequency in the beginning but very soon stabilize. As the time progresses, it will take longer and longer to find new solutions which are better than the current one.
From the "Actions..." menu in ImpFlow user can export and import Flows to and from XML. Moreover, it is possible to embed such flow inside in PPXML file. When importing a PPXML file, either in Imp or ImpFlow, the software will look for any Flow XML node (expected as the last child node of the XML root node) inside the PPXML file. If it finds one, it will try to execute that flow on the product just created from PPXML.
With this capability, it is possible for integrating developers to generate PPXML with embedded flow. One need not depend on pre-created flows.
User can now define the parameters of digital presses with greater detail and in a more accurate manner. This in-turn goes a long way in allowing the software to automatically generate accurate and efficient layout plans. Digital or Offset, Imp will now generate the best layout plans always!
In the configuration window, Presses are be categorized into Offset & Digital presses. They are then further categorized as sheet-fed and web-fed.
The following list identifies other considerable changes to the press settings. With these changes, Imp is also able to support digital large format presses well.
For web-fed presses (digital or offset) it is now possible to define the range of valid cut-off lengths. In the case of offset presses (variable sleeve offset press), user can further define the possible list of cut-off lengths.
A new margin property called no-print margin can now be defined for any press. This margin is apart from the minimum & ideal marks margin that user could define before. This margin identifies the printable region on the sheet. Margin for marks will be provided from the edge of this printable region. Presses where gripper margin is required, the non-printable region at the bottom of the sheet will be sum of the gripper margin and the no-print margin’s bottom value.
In the Marks template editor window, a new box indicating the printable region on the sheet is shown. User can now place marks relative to this box.
For a cut-stack binding method, the process required for stacking piles of pages one over the other is an important consideration. The software now takes into account this stacking process cost while planning, thus producing the right layout without any manual intervention. The snapshot on the side clearly indicates how stacking cost is computed.
NOTE: Stacking cost is considered only during Auto planning of bound jobs.
Ganging is now lightning fast. Hundreds of jobs can be ganged together in seconds. Benchmarking the ganging speed of Imp 7 with Imp 6.1, we have found that on an average, version 7 ganging is about 10 times faster than previous version.
With the improved computation speed, Imp now computes more alternatives and is often able to generate results which are more efficient than the previous version.
Standard layouts which are very likely to be reused, can be saved as Layout template files (*.lyt) file. Such saved layouts can be imported into another Plan where it could be used along with the Plan with layout template… command to create identical layouts. All the marks are saved and loaded from a Layout template.
A new hot-folder application called ImpLinker (Linker.exe) is now part of the standard install of Imp. This application can automatically link the content PDF of planned jobs as and when they are available. Once all the required PDF for a print job are ready, it will automatically move those jobs to a separate folder for further processing.
The software can now optimize job placements on layouts with the goal of minimizing job travel across columns/rows. It can flow jobs in such an order that number of jobs split across multiple columns/rows is minimum. This optimization is applicable only when all jobs on the layout are of same size.
A new field as shown in the snapshot in the side gives fine grain control on the exact margin required between ups. This is handy as sometimes it is desirable to have more margin than usual (Head + Head trim) to allow for multiple trimming operation on the joined sides.
A new wizard like interface is now available to create business cards project from a single PDF with multiple pages. Varied options are available using which user can decide how pages in the PDF should be assigned to individual business card jobs, thus making a complex and time consuming task really simple.
A new command option called Product from PDF – Wizard... is now available on the Start-up screen of the software.
Information regarding ink (colour) separation can be included in the imposition JDF file exported from Imp. With the separation information included, it can be expected that the ink settings for the layouts inside Imp will be honoured by the RIP or the prepress workflow.
It is now possible to automatically export all layouts in a plan/layout group as separate imposed PDF files based on a standard naming convention. The Export PDF dialog now has a new variant of Save… command which will make this possible.
Using the new Layout template files, it is now possible to automatically select applicable layout templates from a folder and perform Plan with Layout Template through ImpFlow – The hot folder based automation application.
Other new actions items to be added are…
Material list can become really long over a period of time. To make it easy to select and edit a material in the configuration window, Imp now provides a search box where the user can start typing in the material name (starting with its grade name) and then press enter to select that material.
A new column called Content can now be shown in the Unbound component table in the Product sheet interface. User can simply drag and drop PDF files on the Content column cell to assign it to that component. The background colour of this cell will indicated the content assigned status of the job. For jobs that need printing on both sides, the cell will not turn to complete green until both the sides have been assigned content.
When automatically repeating/trimming a colour bar to sheet width, the software can now avoid printing partial patches at the edges. User will have to check the option shown on the side and enter the accurate patch width.
The meaning of the Page count field in the bound component properties dialog (and the product sheet) has changed. The value shown here is reader page count and not [number of leaves on the book] * 2. In the backend, the software will automatically determine the number of leaves based on the "Reader page count' & yes/no back side printing.
Until now, when multiple jobs are planed together, Imp software would create optimized layouts with multiple jobs planned on the same sheet. But because of some post press process or delivery reasons, it might be necessary that jobs are planned on independent layouts. To this end, new variants of the plan command are now available which will allow the user to plan multiple components, without ganging, in one shot.
It is now possible to set the mark priority directly from the respective Mark properties dialog. This can be done for all marks. In the snapshot shown on the side, you can see the Line mark settings dialog where it is now possible to choose a value for the priority field. Previously, this field could be set only after adding the mark to the layout/marks template.
As default margins required on a sheet for printing on a press are defined in the configuration, it is possible for the software to automatically compute the cut-size of the layout (by trimming excess paper area) without prompting the user to enter the margins. Hence, in this version, Imp will not prompt the user to enter margins. User can access the old method of defining the margins manually, through another option (which is marked clearly as “manual margins”).
Imp software is now capable of generating accurate JDF instructions for guillotine cutting, folding, collecting & gathering, spine milling, cover application & 3 knife trimming.
In the software, it is possible to configure which process items to include/exclude from the JDF output. So, for a simple folding machine, only folding process can be output. For folding machine with inline binding and trimming, all required process can be included.
The software can now parse the list of allowed folding templates for a bound job from the PDF file name. A new variable ‘FoldingTemplates’ can be used in the PDF file name parsing expression in the ini file. When present and the template names are correct (case sensitive) Imp will copy them to Auto plan settings. So, when the user hits the Auto button, Imp will automatically load these template names in the [ ] Consider only following templates option.
N-Up value can also be parsed from the PDF file name.
A new nesting (rectangular packing) algorithm has been introduced in this version. It allows users to determine the exact grid (columns x rows) of a job they want on the layout. This algorithm is handy when there are cutting machines down the line which are optimized for cutting specific grids.
It is now possible to selectively add only bound component or unbound components to a plan. New menu options (All unbound components & All bound components) as shown in the snapshot on the side have been added in this version.
"Metamation's Imp software has become an invaluable planning tool for our organization in past two years. Now estimating has becoming an exact science. With Imp software young estimators can deliver accurate plans as many years of experienced estimator would. Because for our variety of functionalities, Metamation solution was a perfect fit, and we are aiming to integrate it with our ERP system so it could be the heart of our planning, estimating and imposition." - Angel Viveros
"Metamation has streamlined the planning function and enabled automization of some prepress processes. Efficiency and accuracy can now be achieved when calculating ganged jobs by using the Metamation Ganging Module. Whereas it may have taken an hour to manually calculate ganged jobs, this can now be done in as little as 10 minutes using the Metamation Ganging Module. It has also become simpler to process nested jobs and create dielines for diemaking. This has decreased the overall processing time for packaging work and has realized significant savings especially in stock (paper) usage.
The team at Metamation have been very helpful to COT during the trial of the product and in after service. The product is also very economical when compared to similar products COT has investigated. Also the features are more advanced than the other competitive products especially in relation to nesting." - Dana Moore
"We had deployed Imp five years ago in our commercial print operations. A wide range of products - books, folders, calendars, stationery, among others - are planned efficiently by Imp. We have also set up a system in which information about products goes from our SAP ERP system to IMP, which eliminates re-entry and mistakes. The plan made on IMP is then transferred as a JDF to our Esko workflow system - again eliminating any manual entry of imposition details. We have also implemented IMP in our packaging unit’s workflow over the last 18 months. Imp has a strong feature set for non-rectangular jobs and the nesting created by it is great. The feature of reel to sheet allows us to plan job seamlessly across available substrate - whether in sheets or reel form. This has allowed much more efficient use of our paper stocks and allowed us to reduce our inventories by about 30%. With Imp the complex job of creating nested layouts has become efficient and quick. Our CAD department now has more time to focus on creating better folding cartons designs." - Harsha Paruchuri
"IMP has been an effective tool in helping our company create efficient, accurate layouts for multiple presses that all have very different demands. We were spending as much as six hours per day creating layouts manually and with IMP we hardly spend an hour per day with the same amount of work. Our Pre-Press department now has the time to be proactive with layouts and other important tasks like color and more efficient scheduling instead of just creating layouts in a hurry to keep jobs moving. We have been impressed by the IMP team in every way, they were helpful in training us and have been responsive to our inquiries. I would recommend IMP to anyone looking to automate their shop. Aside from all of these benefits, they are also affordable, the initial cost to get all the automation that IMP offered was less than other comparable solutions." - Andrew Pinch
"IMP has automated our entire job planning, completely eliminated the imposition in pre-press, increasing efficiency, productivity and accuracy. The feature of defining grain direction in planning stage and the comprehensive production reports have fully streamlined our entire production process right from Job estimation to finishing." - Falit Pandya
"IMP has drastically reduced our Job Planning time and has streamlined our pre-press production. The learning curve was very small and entire team is happy & comfortable with this unique solution." - R. Narendra
"After 6 months of use IMP has become the back bone of our prepress set up. I checked with my pre-press team on their experience using IMP, they said that they are a lot more relaxed after IMP. To me, IMP’s greatest value lies in its acting as a mistake filter; that is where I see the pay back for the product. I see a great potential for the product." - NR Kumar
InSoft Imp is an innovative solution that imposes all types of jobs (bound, unbound, rectangular or irregular) on any type of device.
This webinar focuses on the imposition (both manually and fully automated) of bound and unbound rectangular jobs. Highlights will be those features that set Imp apart from its competition, such as imposing a mix of bound and unbound products on a single sheet, fully unattended imposition through hot folders, the integration of Imp into MIS or ERP systems and the use of Imp in both the planning/calculation and prepress stage.
InSoft Imp is an innovative solution that imposes all types of jobs (bound, unbound, rectangular or irregular) on any type of device.
This webinar focuses on the imposition (both manually and fully automated) of label and packaging jobs. Highlights are how die-line based jobs can be imposed manually, with full control over bleed and no-bleed areas, how a die database can be used to save on production costs and how those types of jobs can also be handled fully automatically with Imp Flow.
A video tutorial about synching of the Marks Folder across the system in Imp.
When sending problems to support or asking questions about a specific functionality, it is always helpful if you supply as much information as possible:
When such files are over 2MB it is more reliable and quicker to send them to us through FTP. This article describes how to do so.
This FTP server is configured in such a way that you will be able to upload files to it, but you will not be able to delete files from it. We will remove files from the folder as soon as we see they are there.
To use any Insoft product on a computer, you need to activate it first. This is true if you have bought a license key but also if you want to run the trial software. This article explains how the normal activation procedure for Imp works and which steps you have to go through.
Run the Imp installer and install Imp at the recommended default location: "C Drive\InSoft Automation\Imp7".
NOTE: We strongly recommend that you install Imp at the default location suggested by the installer.
NOTE: Security permissions can be prevent to install the software. In that case, after downloading the Imp installer, click right and go to "Properties > General > Unblock > Apply > OK".
NOTE: After installation, please ensure that the user has full permissions to the Imp install folder "C Drive\InSoft Automation\Imp7".
As an user you are able to activate the software online or offline. Follow the required procedure.
InSoft Imp is activated online with the unique 20 digit license key provided to the user. This is common for Trial Users & Permanent Users. To activate the license key, internet connection is mandatory.
After the procedure, the application will shutdown. Your Insoft Imp license will be activated.
NOTE: For trial users internet connectivity is mandatory while the software is in use.
NOTE: In the "Imp license" dialog you will get details about the license validity and features enabled (Help > About).
NOTE: When using a firewall, please ensure the following settings before online activation. The firewall restrictions may not allow the application to talk to our license server.
InSoft Imp is activated online with the unique 20 digit license key provided to the user. This is common for Trial Users & Permanent Users.
After the procedure, your Insoft Imp license will be activated.
NOTE: For trial users internet connectivity is mandatory while the software is in use.
NOTE: In the "Activation Imp" dialog you will get details about the license validity and features enabled (Help > About).
Before you uninstall or stop using Imp on a machine, it is important to deactivate the license locked by the current machine against your key. This will enable you to run Imp on another machine.
After the procedure, the application will shutdown. Your Insoft Imp license will be deactivated.
CPU: Intel Core i3-3240 Processor (3M Cache, 3.4 GHz)
HDD (free space): 10GB
Graphics card: With an inbuilt memory of 1GB. The car must support OpenGL.