Xerox digital presses have tight front-to-back registration, but I’d be a liar if I said image shifting never had to happen on jobs. When you are printing business cards, postcards, and other applications that require cutting, both sides need to match up perfectly… so I’m going to highlight a feature on our digital presses that allow you to make minor registration adjustments easily.
Our production digital presses have what is called Alignment Adjustment Profiles. At the printer’s User Interface, these profiles allow you to make adjustments to not only control image movement from left to right or top to bottom, but for side-to-side skew, paper stretch, and perpendicularity:
- Adjusting for skew is nice if your images are coming out slightly rotated on the page. (Is your image coming out crooked? No problem!)
Paper Stretch: Paper stretch (magnification) adjustments can be necessary if you need to make an image on one side slightly larger or smaller. When the paper goes through the fuser, the pressure can actually stretch the paper —and therefore the image— a slight amount usually unnoticeable to the human eye. When this same paper goes through the digital press for the printing of the second side, the image is now being transferred to a stock slightly larger than it was when the first side was imaged. That’s where a paper stretch adjustment may come in handy.
Perpendicularity: If your image looks like a parallelogram, this can help bring it back to an upright position. (And to be honest, I’ve never had to adjust for perpendicularity, but the option is there if you need it!)
Once you make an adjustment, you can do a test print right from the printer’s user interface to verify adjustments you just made. You don’t need to go back to the RIP, run the job, and see if you need to make another adjustment. And when making a profile, the user interface visually shows you which way the image will move. From the image below, you can see that I can adjust side 1 and side 2 up to 2mm each. That means I could fix a mis-registration of up to 4mm. Fixing registration issues has never been easier!
Why would I do an image shift at the User Interface?
When you make a shift using an Alignment Adjustment Profile, it gets applied to a paper tray. Then, no matter what job you send through that tray, it will apply the image shift automatically. With this registration technology, you are able to customize up to 20 different alignment profiles to enhance registration control on a substrate-by-substrate basis. Then every time you run that particular job or substrate, you simply retrieve your adjustments.
At trade shows, we may print posters, business cards, and postcards all on the same 110 lb. Cover (300gsm). If I see the front-to-back registration is off by 1mm or more, I’ll make an alignment adjustment profile, assign it to the tray we are running the cover stock out of, and then submit and run all of those jobs without thinking about it again. It’s easy, convenient, and efficient! With these alignment adjustment profiles, complete control is given to the operator, ensuring more uptime. You don’t have to wait for service to come in and do these adjustments manually, which was the case on some of our older digital presses.
Another option for image shift is at the RIP as a global shift or exception page. Image shift can be applied per job or at a Queue level so it will apply to all files printed using that Queue. For example, if you print a lot of business cards, all the operator has to do is create the queue with an image shift and send all the business card applications to that queue– You don’t have to remember what the image shift needs to be. But whether you are doing image shifts at the RIP or the printer’s user interface, you should always choose one way of doing it and avoid making one correction at the RIP and another at the UI for a job.
If you have ever experienced problems with registration, then you’re truly going to appreciate the Alignment Adjustment Profiles. It’s always nice to maintain operational efficiencies and achieve optimal performance and quality.