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The Programmable Power of MECCA 2000

Many personalized documents and forms are designed as templates, with static text and graphics placed on every page at the same location or in the same sequence. As an example, in order for a bank check to be compatible with a popular accounting program, it must conform to a standard layout. A manufacturer of printed checks creates this standard layout then personalizes the image with the customer's name, address, and bank MICR numbers. Although the personalization step could be performed manually, it is much more efficient to automate the process by reading database records and image placement parameters.


Produce Thousands of Variable Imaged Pages per Minute

The MECCA 2000 System is a powerful, programmable, page make-up and composing workstation. In addition to the interactive WYSIWYG capabilities, MECCA 2000 includes job scripting and programming features to easily automate many time-consuming standard composition tasks. By using these capabilities, customers can configure repetitive prepress jobs to operate on “automatic pilot” thereby saving time while reducing labor costs and production errors.

Because MECCA 2000 runs on a standard PC with the FreeBSD Unix Operating System, many open-source royalty-free software suites are included and available at no charge to build custom production workflows. For example, a complete Apache HTTP Server is included for web site hosting, as well as the the MySQL Database Management System.

Amgraf offers an advanced training course for programmers who wish to learn how to automate the composition of forms or documents using database applications. Students in this class get an in-depth understanding of how merge forms work and how to link databases for variable imaging.

Following are three examples of real applications:

Pharmaceutical Sales Manuals

Requirement: A drug and cosmetics company was having trouble meeting a recurring 30 day deadline in producing a sales kit that contained product prices, packaging information, and order forms. All data was maintained on their mainframe computer, and printouts were used to transfer current and special pricing to the 50+ forms and flyers required for each monthly product sales drive. All artwork was created manually and errors could not be controlled.

Solution: Using MECCA’s Merge Form capability, a solution was developed. The products and pricing databases from the mainframe are copied to the MECCA System. Then a custom program extracts information from the database and generates all the forms and flyers needed based on the MECCA operator inputting values such as product type, dates, discount %, etc. Since the required pricing data is automatically retrieved from the database, errors which normally occur with keyboarding from printouts are reduced. For each cycle, the latest database is copied from the mainframe to the MECCA System.

Success: Turnaround time was shortened from 15 days to less than 3 days and errors were virtually eliminated.


Stationery Manufacturer

Requirement: A stationery manufacturer wanted to offer a new product line of personalized stationery. Orders would be so numerous and varied that tracking and producing the product manually would never be cost-effective.

Solution: Orders are taken via the Internet with all customer information and options transferred to a mainframe database. Each day hundreds of orders are captured with customer information, options of quantity, ink color, paper color, sheet size, etc. Selected orders from the database are copied into the MECCA System. A Unix shell script on MECCA sorts the data into common plating information (based on ink and paper colors) and then generates from 16-up to 32-up plates. A single order for a larger quantity of sheets is automatically stepped multiple times on a plate. In addition, the shipping addresses are formatted in the same layout as the plate, and printed on a large size laser printer. After each plate is run, the address page is placed on top of the stack to be cut in-place before shrink wrapping and shipping.

Success: There is no pre-press operator involvement, other than selecting which colors to run and imaging the plates.

Personnel Services Firm

Requirement: A personnel services firm wanted to produce employee benefits booklets using a high speed laser printer. Each booklet needed to be individually tailored to the recipient.

Solution: Custom database programs were written to extract all employee data from the company mainframe and copy it to the MECCA System. This variable information included data such as health package, accrued pension plans, vacation time, and more than 50 variable pieces of information. Using the MECCA Batch Composition tools and the digital printer interface software, the entire composition process was automated.

Success: Personalized 12-page duplexed booklets stapled and folded, ready for mailing, are now produced in less than 1 minute each.

Please contact Amgraf today for a demonstration of the Programmable Power of MECCA 2000!




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