In this month’s blog, we aren’t going to discuss the famous Radiohead song, but we are going to look at creeping pages in Signa Station. Creep is used to compensate for page graphics being pushed out away from the spine – either due to the number of forms being bound and/or the thickness of the paper being used. Creep can be set-up within Heidelberg Prinect’s Signa Station. (If you haven’t used Signa Station before, it’s a truly great piece of software!).
Let’s look at the basics of setting it up:
There are two areas in Signa Station that are important for setting up Creep: the Binding step and the Plates Step.
In Binding, the first thing we can configure is whether we want Manual or Automatic Creep. Manual means someone needs to manually calculate the creep for the center spread, and Signa Station will reduce the creep to the outer pages. This can create errors, and if any factors used to calculate the creep change, then it must be recalculated. Automatic is the recommended option. In the Plates step, you define the thickness of the paper, and creep is automatically generated for you.
By selecting Automatic, if the number of forms changes due to a page number increase or decrease, creep will automatically be recalculated based on that change. Additionally, Signa Station has a very unique function Paper Thickness Factor, which compensates for any large variances in the thickness of the stock. You can measure the thickness of a few pieces in the pile to figure out a percentage for creep. In this example, the creep would be increased 20% from the base paper thickness calculation.
You can also choose to scale the pages instead of just moving them towards the spine, which helps with pages where the artwork crosses over in a spread.
Many printers do not want to change their customers’ artwork. In this case, select “Offset.” You can still fix crossovers on a spread by double clicking on the pages you want to adjust. This brings up “Page Inspector,” which allows you to turn creep off on those particular pages.
One truly unique feature of Signa Station is the “What you see is what you get” (WYSWYG) preview of the imposition. This visually shows you how the creep is applied on a page. The example below shows an extreme amount of creep for illustration purposes.
The solid yellow line represents the right page creeping into the left by 0.2”. You can see where and how creep is occurring and even know how much on a given page. This can also be changed just on that one page.
As you can see, creep in Signa Station goes far beyond just generating the creep itself. It also takes into account changes that may occur before production and adjusts automatically. Crossovers can be compensated for by removing the creep just on those pages without effecting the overall creep required. Additionally, the WYSWYG feature removes the guesswork as the creep that is applied can be previewed visually.
In a future blog, I will cover some of the more advanced features of Creep. Signa Station and the other Prinect modules mentioned in this blog series are all part of Prinect Production Manager – a complete, all-encompassing solution, which includes a comprehensive production workflow that can be expanded to include a Management Information System (MIS), as well as Business Intelligence – all provided under a simple subscription model.