What is RIP?

Raster Image Processor RIP A computer device or program that translates digital information in the page description language to the pattern of dots to be delivered by the output unit of the system. This article will further discuss Flexography software solutions.

Rasterizing Vector Graphics to Bitmaps

Files coming contain vector graphics or “line work” Vector graphics are highly scalable without any loss of quality (as they are not based on pixels but on mathematical formulas), but they are not printable.

To be able to print those graphics, you need to rasterize them with a RIP (Raster Image Processor). This means converting them to bitmap images, or “contones” (continuous tone images), which are based on pixels.

The set up of a good prepress workflow for flexo plate making needs a specialized approach.

Screen ruling

The optimal screen ruling is depending on several components of the workflow: the RIP, platemaking, press configuration, substrate…

Most important factor for the limitation of the screen ruling is the anilox rollers which are used on the printing press.

This overview gives a global idea.

Screening Technology

Different technologies can be tested.

  • AM
  • FM
  • Hybrid Screens

The minimum dot size depends on the press configuration.
This is tested with the specific hybrid screen test file.
This test file has different images with a range diameters of the end dots. Evaluate the print results to find the best setting.
A larger the diameter will be more stable, but will have a more grainy visual effect.

Flexo Angles

Because the anilox roller is screened, the flexo screen angles are shifted by 7.5 degrees comparing to the standard offset angles. This way interference with the anilox screen is prevented. Note that those screens can have the complementary value in mirrored view.

Flexography Rip Software Solutions

Esko Imaging Engine

Esko’s Raster Image Processor (RIP), which is based on the industry standard Adobe PDF Print Engine, is an Adobe PDF Print Engine Based RIP Imaging Engine.

The Imaging Engine adds Esko’s famous colour management, screening, dot gain correction, and output formats on top of Adobe PDF Print Engine.

Imaging Engine can be used to both proofread and rip your files.

Automation Engine has a perfect integration with Imaging Engine. This implies that using Imaging Engine only requires using the Automation Engine Pilot; no other programme needs to be launched or used separately.

The Imaging Engine tasks can be used with any PDF or Normalized PDF.

RIP for a Strong Multi-Files Processing utilises the advantages of Adobe PDF Print Engine (64-bit, multi-threaded, multiprocess architecture).

The Imaging Engine is strong and incredibly scalable. Your server hardware can be upgraded with extra RAM and CPUs to process more files simultaneously and more quickly. The final crucial step before sending your files to your output device is the RIP. Depending on the device you want to utilise, Imaging Engine can produce screened or unscreened files. Typically, in order to send output to a platesetter or filmsetter, it must be reviewed (for offset or flexo for example).

Xitron Navigator RIP

The Navigator HXM screen in its standard form is a hybrid screen with tiny isolated dots designed specifically for offset applications. They can be utilised in flexo in conjunction with Flat top dot technologies or plates that have a minimal dot decreasing effect during the UVA primary exposure. ThermoFlexX Hybrid screens on Navigator, which are designed for flexo, are advised by Xeikon.

As an FM screening, Navigator HDS screen is not recommended for use in fl exo applications due to the small dot sizes and increased global dot gain impact.
HXM testing These hybrid screenings combine an FM screening in the highlights with an AM screening in the shadows and midtones. A software programme is used to install the physical screen tiles.


For high speed and high quality devices like imagesetters or platesetters, as well as for inkjet and laser printers or any other raster printing devices, StudioRIP is a PostScript 3, PDF 1.7, TIFF, JPEG, and BMP compatible software RIP. Since StudioRIP’s functions are all built into the main programme, unlike other RIPs, there are no potential conflicts that can arise from using various plug-in workflow solutions. Although StudioRIP employs its own high speed rendering modules, it is based on Artifex Software Inc.’s GhostScript PostScript/PDF engine.

Read next about Flexography Rip and Software Solutions – Part 2