1st Special Focus Symposium on CISKS: Communication and Information Sciences in the Knowledge Society.


Virtual Models of Basic Graphic Processes


Zoran Njezic1, PhD; Vilko Ziljak1, PhD; Vladimir Simovic2, PhD

1University of Zagreb, Faculty of Graphic Engineering, Getaldiceva 2, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia; FS@zg.tel.hr;

2"Baltazar Adam Krcelic" College of Business and Management
Vladimira Novaka 23, Zapresic HR-10290, Croatia; vladimir.simovic@zg.t-com.hr



Defining and classifying of all variables for preparation processes, basic processes and afterward processes during printing production. Few models projects for each graphic production part. Related to previous published research results, here we establish a new design for database and normative database used for building a virtual printing production and its producing parts. The levels of probability and contingency for each production element, and for each production phase are defining. Informatics defining procedure for production components is introducing. Complete production is connecting at the level of digital graphic product defining. The relational database structure is establishing for better definition of informatics organisation for information flows and structure in digital graphic system.


Keywords: graphic systems models, database of printing processes normative


Virtualni modeli bazičnih grafičkih procesa


Keywords: modeli grafičkih sustava, baza normativa tiskarskih procesa



Definiraju se i klasificiraju varijable pripremnog, osnovnog i doradnog proizvodnog dijela. Projektira se nekoliko modela za svaki pojedini grafički proizvodni dio. U odnosu na prije objavljene rezultate istraživanja iz ovoga područja, daje se temelj novog dizajna baza podataka i baze normiranja za izgradnju digitalne virtualne tiskarske produkcije i njenih proizvodnih dijelova. Definira se stupanj vjerojatnosti i slučajnosti za pojedini proizvodni element i proizvodnu fazu. Uvađa se procedura informatičkog definiranja proizvodnih komponenti. Povezuje se kompletna produkcija na razinu definiranja digitalnog grafičkog proizvoda. Postavlja se struktura relacija podataka za bolje definiranje informatičke organizacije tokova i struktura informacija u digitalnom grafičkom sustavu.



1. Graphic Process Modelin


A new organizational structure of the graphic production plant is implemented by designing virtual models for simulating pre-press, press and post-press production. Our research has been directed to a goal of creating virtual production units with all the necessary parameters, and there is additional informatics description of activities covering certain production segments. Real-life characteristics have been built into virtual machines and the concrete time periods of certain graphic production process machines have been measured. By archiving into databases realistic parameters describing a machine a complete graphic production units and process situations description has been determined with the goal being to elaborate standards in the printing business production.

A new improved way for graphic process extension, control and planning in the sphere of a graphic production cycle has been set with the graphic production flow modeling and simulation method. By building a model and defining the graphic variables a virtual printing plant has been designed with all the production elements and the goal being to discover a stable production plan. This enabled calculation and re-calculation in sending offers for the production of unit graphic products.

The algorithm for generating random numbers has enabled the creation of a large number of cases on basis of which many production case histories have been studied. By initiating the introduction of different procedures in carrying out the same task gives a view of the manifold possible production procedures. By introducing a digital graphic production model with the use of a stochastic generator with strictly controlled parameter choice and possibilities of the printing works machinery it is proven that there are better solutions in task execution. This encourages and frees the planner from historically determined procedures. The functions for generating random variables are defined on basis of data taken from real-life production. This means that parameters are taken for certain production phases (machine, color, materials, human factor).




picture1. Production flow from model to final product


The goal is to have automatic graphic production flow design for a new product with the stress on determining the most favorable production flow in respect to cost-efficiency. In order to study production bottlenecks and to set standardization in production using stochastic methods it is necessary to collect correct data on production elements in normal production conditions. This allows determining of extreme risk situations and a system's best production possibilities. The goal is to locate precisely the bottleneck in a production chain and to create the best and most coordinated setting of graphic production parameters based on measurements and analysis.


2. Defining Standards for Graphic Production Units


The contemporary system of printing plant planning is based on experience with special stress on the experience of individuals that have through time taken the position of production planners, accountants and job order organizers. On basis of survey on the manner accounting is comprehended we have determined that there are as many models of planning as there are printing plants. This is why we had great difficulty in programming universal routines simulating various ways of thought. Considerable exercising was necessary in order to come to a common system in work flow description and the one for direct production job orders. The first step was to set tables containing standards for individual work processes. This part of the basic task did not even exist in practice. This was also the reason why prices were given for the same graphic product in the range of even one to four. Post-press printing processes are now described with hundreds of different functional and table procedures. Setting of standards for graphic production containing digital application as well is the beginning of a successful reconciliation of printing houses.

Improvements of graphic production processes are possible with the help of the digital standard setting, modeling and simulation method. Improvements, flexibility, and adaptability to new solutions in the printing business are expected, as well as in defining production bottlenecks and new tools are implemented for training personnel to work in the production process. With the help of simulation methods it is possible to enter the very core of the printing system and to describe it in detail, as well as to introduce significant improvements and to develop the existing knowledge in the field. Several different technologies are combined in designing a new graphic product today and this requires a new type of access to product making. When the printing works has a flexible attitude in respect to the environment, better quality and more competitive solutions will be found. This new manner of comprehending the market requires introduction of new modeling and simulation methods in order to find new solutions. As there are an unlimited number of solutions and unpredictable situations, the best solutions are obtained with the simulation method by taking into account the predictable problems in a real-life system. Thus market requirements are predicted on one hand, and a dynamic system is created on the other hand that will produce a new graphic product in a very short space of time



picture2. Scheme of graphic production


In researching pre-press production a division has been designed as to graphic design with the following elements: production factor and style sheet criteria elements, page break with the same elements as graphic layout, scanning with defined coloring and size of the original. The category of specific jobs and exterior services has been added as a supplement. The division into printing machine elements (speed, number of colors, format...), paper and similar has been proposed for the production printing part. In the description of a graphic product making there are many variables present including the following: printing machines of the printing works in question, human resources, materials, production time period for certain phases. All of these are in differently determined value range. All the suggested divisions are open for altering and further development that will lead to a more thorough and complete description of printing processes. The post-press part is the most extensive one and the largest for setting standards due to the large number of machines designed for specific post-press operations. However, the proposed informatics basis will cover all the post-press situations. An associated XML structure has been set for each of the determined graphic production cycle categories and a relation and data visualization has been determined on the following level: database-web application-user. Solutions are given for organizing and using relative and native databases with the goal being a final and integral simulation of the production cycle.


3. Goals of Printing Flows with Informatics Description


Simulation processes are based on real-life standards linked with concrete printing plants. It is of vital significance for a printing organization's administration to elaborate concrete estimates. Computers and new programs for estimating cost-efficient production enable simulation of a great number of combinations and automated search for situations that are continuously improved. The area of possible production process experiment simulation initiators may be through standards tables or mathematical relative algorithms. Simulation is a way of searching for new paths in a certain product's production and also a way to step aside in respect to standard behavior in bringing decisions linked with production paths.


Thus we enter the area where new work posts are opened in graphic production planning and organization, and in increasing and bringing knowledge to an overall higher level. The goal of simulation is manifested in several larger segments: firstly in determining the best job flows directly before printing begins, secondly in determining production bottlenecks, thirdly in investment planning, and fourthly in the possibility of simulators making physical control of printing and post-press processes seem real without causing material expenses. In this way we were close to finding the best solutions for production situations and there was remote control of production flows.



picture2. Levels scheme from product process to informatics procedure


It is of essential necessity to carry out detail research work in respect to the graphic system’s behavior backed up by virtual models and only after positive results follow as to the system’s stability. Full implementation of the internet environment into the printing business may follow only after complete informatization and automation on all levels. It is unavoidable to introduce full production automation in order to increase productivity, to have flexibility and to view printing plant problems more clearly. In this way production processes are fully based on informatics procedures, and production flow control becomes an efficient system. The new informatics era will enable uniting and linking of all processes in the printing production chain, from the pre-press ones to the post-press ones.

Process flows have become open and complex, and a degree of probability and coincidence is linked with each segment. Modeling of the graphic system is introduced as a successful method for production flow improving and optimization. The result of simulation is a new type of approach to graphic production flow observation and evaluation; from pre-press ones to the post-press ones (diagram 1). Production increase, creating a more stabile production line and better use of the existing digital equipment is expected following experimental results, and most important: opening of new work posts and jobs in the graphic production cycle. Modeling and simulation methods fill in the gaps where the whole graphic production line has not been brought into coordination, with the goal to design a system that will help improve and develop a higher automation and informatics level.


  1. Virtual Elements from the Pre-press to the Post-press


A system describing individual products is proposed for pre-press standardization. The described parameters define graphic layout, page break, scanning and secondary specific jobs. Graphic layout is divided into production factor and style sheet criteria. The graphic layout factor is divided into new (if the graphic layout is made from scrap), re-made (if the graphic layout has been re-made), altered (if the graphic layout has been altered) and repeated (if the graphic layout has been repeated). In order to have better control over the graphic layout it is necessary to connect the graphic layout production with the graphic layout style sheet criteria. The following division has been proposed for the graphic layout style sheet criteria: common (for a regular style sheet production), mean (for a mean style sheet production), heavy (for a heavy style sheet production) and special (for an especially heavy style sheet production). Depending on what individual graphic production houses specialize in it is possible to make a further division into several more sub-categories for style sheet heaviness. Graphic layout production is also divided into the production factor and style sheet criteria. The page break production factor is described with the enclosed elements: the dummy (in production the beginning point is the dummy), pre-dummy (when the beginning point is the pre-dummy), first revision and additional revision (begins from the additional revision).


The virtual press model is designed in such a way to include the definition of parameters describing certain printing machines. A system has been proposed that stores into the database values such as the number of colors, the time periods for preparing the machine and washing the machine, machine prices, speeds and format. A model has also been proposed covering the linking of the printing machine with materials necessary for printing. This will enable the beginning of designing the digital graphic product with a very detailed informatics description.


It has been determined that the defining of graphic post-press requires the most thorough and complex informatics descriptions of machines because each machine is specific for the certain function it performs. Description of the individual post-press machines requires the setting of functional dependency of those parameters that are specific for the machine in question. There are several hundreds different post-press machines for graphic post-press. The system is founded on measured time periods defined under the influence of different materials, printing runs; make ready time and the machine performance time, and the human factor.


  1. Conclusion


Work results lead to the conclusion that by designing graphic flow virtual models we get quantity results that are very usable in printing production improvements. The proposal for optimal use was researched. A new area for further elaboration has been opened falling into the graphic engineering domain, firstly in the concept of virtual production components in the printing business. In simulation experimenting quantity results are obtained that define recourse consumption; suggest the usefulness of opening new or closing work posts, investments into new hardware or software. It was determined that there is a great lack of component coordination in graphic production flows, and that virtual models give very useful results in solving such problems. This is a contribution to opening new development areas for further elaboration in the graphic engineering domain, first of all to the concept of virtual production components in the printing business.


The paper has given a proposal for bringing informatization and automation to a higher technological level, and the research results have implemented themselves into the production line. Only then will it be possible to start overall control of production flows and the increase of production resource utilization capacity.


Research results point towards new technical possibilities and predicting market behavior. By implementing virtual models in to graphic systems:

  1. The flexibility and adapting capacity to new solutions and products in the printing business are improved ,
  2. Critical points in production are determined (those causing bottlenecks), and most important
  3. New methods are implemented in production personnel training


It is inevitable to carry out further research work in respect to the behavior of the graphic system supported by a virtual model, and only following positive results on the system stability and complete informatization and automation on all levels can there be full implementation of the internet environment in the printing business. It is inevitable to implement full production automation in order to increase productivity, gain flexibility and view more clearly the printing business problems. The new informatics era will make possible for all printing business processes to be united and connected, from the pre-press ones to the post-press ones.



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