Global Graphics Software, which is best known for developing the Harlequin RIP, has licensed three patents from Rampage LLC.
The patents in question are US Patent Nos. 9,053,410, 9,734,440, and 9,278,566 which cover the Quantone processing methods of screening and compensation for multiple grey-level digital presses and automatic print head registration. They relate to inventions by Mitch Bogart, managing member of Rampage, who explains: “Quantone screening provides accurate, precise, and stable calibration and compensation for any digital press or printer having ‘variable dot size’ or ‘2 or more bits per pixel. It leverages any bi-level screening algorithm and provides higher image smoothness, lower screening noise, and higher speed. It easily adapts to any resolution and any pixel bit depth. The simplified registration method applies to any digital press having multiple print heads. It works by moving the data rather than moving the print heads.”
This fits extremely well into the direction that Global Graphics has taken in recent years, expanding its workflow software to solve problems that have traditionally been regarded as hardware issues. This approach should give press vendors a quicker and cheaper way to develop their hardware.
Gary Fry, CEO of Global Graphics, says that they will be particularly relevant when used with inkjet presses with multiple printheads, noting: “They will sit well alongside our own inventions in screening and calibration technology and are an important consideration for anyone looking at high-speed inkjet technology. We decided to license them so that our OEM customers will benefit exclusively. As a result, we really do have this sector covered in relation to using software to improve the quality of inkjet output.”
It’s not clear to me how Fry thinks that his customers will gain some exclusive benefits from this since Bogart confirmed to me that this was a “non-exclusive” licensing arrangement with Rampage. Nonetheless, this should apply to a number of products from Global Graphics, including the Harlequin RIP, ScreenPro, Harlequin Multi-level Screening Engine, Fundamentals, and Mako.
Bogart himself says that he has always believed in the idea of using advanced electronics for imaging, adding: “Where we are today is that a single PC filled with off-the-shelf GPU accelerator boards can have over 20,000 parallel GPU cores and 128 GB of memory with an internal transfer rate of over 3 terabytes per second! This is some serious overkill, as even a single-board super-ROOM (RIP Once, Output Many) system will keep up with the fastest digital presses available today. With all RIP’ed data for flats and pages in GPU memory, and all GPU cores running the Quantone process simultaneously, each copy can be individually screened, re-calibrated, and re-registered, all on-the-fly at the speed of the high-speed press.”
Bogart says that Rampage is still refining its Quantone system, and will soon be offering OEMs an updated version of the GPU-based Quantone implementation option.