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A RIP and workflow for wide- and grand-format printers.

What does the product do?
Onyx Software is a RIP and print workflow solution developed specifically for wide-format and grand-format digital inkjet printing. It’s scalable and is available in three levels as standard, although custom packages are also offered.
The US-based company claims to have developed the first ever wide-format RIP, in 1989. It is a subsidiary of Canon, but it can drive most makes of large format printer – around 2,000 models from more than 100 suppliers, the company says.

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?
The current Onyx 12.2 was introduced in July 2017. It’s modular and scalable and aimed at “across the full spectrum” of wide- and grand-format applications.

Specifications
Standard packages RipCenter One aqueous/solvent printer supported, Job Editor, Job Queue, cutting control PosterShop Two aqueous/solvent printers supported, additional colour and finishing controls Thrive Scalable multi-printer support up to largest formats and cutting tables, additional management analysis tools
RIP type APPE 3
System requirements Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, multi-core processor, 8GB Ram, 500GB HD, 1,280x1,024 pixel monitor

How does it work?
The software is a RIP/workflow system with a single user interface for all levels. There are three standard levels: RipCenter, PosterShop and Thrive. OnyxSite Solutions enables customers to specify and expand their own configurations.
RipCenter is basically just a RIP for aqueous and smaller solvent printers, driving one machine. It has a queue, Job Editor and cutter controls.
PosterShop can drive two larger aqueous/solvent printers (although it only rips one at a time). It’s for all aqueous and solvent roll-fed printers, plus smaller flatbeds. Additional features to RipCenter include layout support, colour management including profile and colour swatch book generation, white ink support, grommet mark generation and bleed control.
Thrive drives solvent and UV printers up to ‘grand’ formats and large flatbeds. It’s scalable and available in several base configurations, with different numbers of Job Editor workstations supported (one or two), the number of printers supported (up to six) and the number of RIPs it runs (up to eight). Additional features include support for cutting tables, plus Onyx Production manager for remote job submission and control. It can also connect to existing business tools via Onyx Connect.
Images can be opened directly into the Job Editor, where all decisions and production settings can be made. This determines optimal colour management, applying media and print profiles, as well as image rendering and setting up finishing instructions. There are drivers and controls for more than 2,000 printers and cutters.
The company claims that its own Onyx Hub is the first business intelligence tool for wide-format and grand-format printers. It provides real time and historic data across the whole production environment.

How does it differ from previous versions?
The latest version 12.2 has several incremental improvements, but the key ones are a simplified user interface and more automation for higher productivity (and “less human error,” says Onyx).
The list also includes optimised colour calculations for increased RIP and data transfer processing speeds; multi-roll functions with an intuitive user interface, switching rolls automatically to print jobs in the queue; job scaling and rotation from the file-open dialogue; improved cutting workflow with multiple cutting path prefixes and device settings.

What is the USP?
Primarily the expandability and modularity, with everything controlled through a single view window. Onyx develops all its own software and colour management and also points to its ability to drive pretty well any printer on the market.

What support is on offer?
Onyx offers global training and support through its Advantage programme. Contracts include all software and driver upgrades, telephone and online support and a library of online videos.

Alternatives
Agfa Asanti 3.0
A wide-format modular and scalable RIP workflow system. It has a dashboard status display based on HTML5 and drives Agfa printers plus a range of third party printers including those from HP and Mimaki.

Caldera version 11.1
This suite of products and add-ons are equivalent to the Onyx Suite and can drive a long list of printers and cutters from most manufacturers.

SAI Flexi 12
FlexiPrint SE, FlexiPrint and Flexi Sign & Print offer RIP and workflow functions, with the second two also supporting multiple printers and print and cut working. A full Flexi 12 package is also available.