Are your customers' jobs submitted as print-ready streamlined PDFs? Harlequin Direct gives you everything you need to take print-ready PDFs and then RIP, screen and stream them at maximum physical print speed directly to the head driver electronics. Harlequin Direct includes our award-winning PrintFlat™ technology to help take your device's quality to the next level.
Features and benefits
- Multi-core and multiple PC, ultra-high-speed, massively scalable RIP solution
- Instant first page out, RIP PDFs directly to your head driver electronics (no need for RIP ahead)
- Includes Harlequin ColorPro™, an accurate, consistent and predictable Color Management Module (CMM)
- Includes Harlequin VariData™ to reduce the hardware costs for markets that mix static and variable data (Zoned Variable Data)
- Includes PrintFlat and custom screen design service, raising inkjet quality to the next level
- Supercharged with ScreenPro™ Core
- Easy to add support for extended gamut and duplex, with the choice of different configurations per printhead
- No dependency on a third-party core RIP; we have our own
- Fast product updates with bulletproof reliability
- Cross-platform, supporting Windows and Linux (Ubuntu and CentOS)
- Optimized for Intel i9, Xeon and AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs
- Specialized plugins for specific printer features (e.g. bar-splitting, inspection system.
Multi-core and multiple PC
Harlequin Direct can be configured in many ways: you can run all colors on a single PC, or one color per PC or group colors across any arrangement of PCs.
The Harlequin Direct pipeline is also very configurable, allowing you to tune how many threads each plugin in the pipeline is allowed. In jobs where the RIP is doing all the work, you may want to give it more threads and less to the screener.
Harlequin Direct is also cross-platform with Windows 10 IOT and Linux (Ubuntu and CentOS currently supported). Configuring the number of threads allocated to Harlequin Direct can also allow other programs to be run on the PC simultaneously (e.g. drivers for electronics).
Begin printing instantly
Start printing as soon as you have PDFs. Other solutions require RIPping to huge images stores ahead of printing to keep up with higher speed and resolution devices. However, it means that you have a delay between receiving the PDF job and beginning to print.
Harlequin Direct can begin printing as soon as the first page has been RIPped. The first page out is instant, whereas those solutions built on raster stores can wait hours (when the job has millions of pages) before starting to print.
Get to market rapidly
Developing a solution like Harlequin Direct with Global Graphics Software core components is possible and a number of our customers are in the market with those solutions now. However, it's a large investment and requires the help of a very experienced software development team. If your business is building and selling printers you may not want to get into software development or have the experience to set up the kind of team required. Even if you have the team, it would take many months, if not years, to replicate the capabilities of Harlequin Direct. In a few short months with Harlequin Direct and our BreakThrough services you could be in the market with a solution that can tackle any market you want to enter.
No dependency on a third- party core RIP; we have our own
We uniquely own all the source code in Harlequin Direct and this includes the fastest core RIP in the world (Harlequin). When you need to get the maximum performance out of any system, you must integrate all the components together tightly. You also need to have full access to knowledge about how each component works and how to get the best performance. You don't want a black box at your core; you want a transparent box that you can instantly open and tune. No third-party components also mean you only have one roadmap to influence; we won't ever say to you that we are waiting on a supplier of third-party components.
Harlequin ColorPro offers in-RIP color management for accurate, consistent and predictable color reproduction for a wide range of workflows. It provides full support for industry standard ICC profiles, including v4 and DeviceLink profiles, so you can chain multiple transforms together for optimal management of all color on your press. And it doesn't only work for process colors; brand colors can be accurately reproduced, supported by extensible databases of 'named colors', allowing you to control their exact appearance on your device. The intended color appearance is retained even when brand colors are involved in live PDF transparency and emulated in process colorants.
Harlequin VariData greatly accelerates the printing of zoned variable data jobs that were saved either as PDF/VT or as regular PDF. The variable data zones can contain text, barcodes and images. The content outside of the variable data zones is static and can be RIPped once whilst the data in the variable data zones is RIPped for every page. This greatly reduces the PC hardware required to RIP the zoned variable data PDF and keep up with the printer.
Supercharged with ScreenPro
Global Graphics Software's award-winning screening engine converts contone image data into ready-to-print halftone screened data in real-time with no compromise on quality. ScreenPro Core is designed to enable OEMs to maximize the performance of their digital printers and get to market quicker. ScreenPro Core is the world's fastest RIP- independent screening engine.
PrintFlat™ and custom screen design service
PrintFlat is our award-winning technology that corrects digital inkjet quality issues like head-to-head density variations and inkjet head smile. These attributes result in banding on the printed output which is very difficult to correct with hardware (e.g. by tuning voltages). We also have a PrintFlat screen design service, which can be used to create custom screens to deal with other quality issues like mottling, chaining, noise in highlights etc. The PrintFlat technology is applied at runtime and can enhance the quality of the output without slowing down your device.
Before PrintFlat is applied.
After PrintFlat is applied.
Systems scales to support extended gamut and duplex
If you are using one Harlequin Direct PC per printhead, adding support for extended gamut, spot colors or duplex is straightforward. Each printhead can be configured differently, such as higher bit depth for black or lower resolution for white or varnish.
Adding another Harlequin Direct PC to the setup allows for direct connection to a vision system for quality inspection (DirectQI). This Harlequin Direct is configured to match your inspection system's resolution and streams RGB composite rasters rather than pre-separated rasters like the other Harlequin Directs. Harlequin Direct will raster and stream these images for your inspection system on the fly, allowing identical control over the production process for both print and inspection. This is vital to allow smart queueing of jobs, including reprints and jobs order determined by the overall automated production system. It is understood that the inspection system may be looking for more than just print issues and may later in the production line. The inspection system may have to distort the raster in real time to inspect the the resulting product when printing direct to shape.
What PC specification do I need to drive my printer at full rated speed? Is the specification of the PC within our existing system good enough? These are questions that we hear all the time, and Direct Benchmark was designed to answer them in two stages. The Benchmark application connects to Harlequin Direct (Windows and Linux) and then runs a series of standard and customer jobs stepping through a tuning cycle to obtain a series of line speeds that can be achieved on a target PC. We build a database of data rates for each benchmarked PC running Harlequin Direct. This database of benchmarks is then compared with a wider database (PassMark) so we can predict a PC that can achieve line speeds for the target printer.
Working with you
Here at Global Graphics Software we understand how difficult it can be to get started on your digital print journey, and so our Technical Services team is ready to offer free expert advice and help.
Dedicated experts in RIP and screening technology, principal software engineers and color scientists, all with decades of real-world experience, are ready to guide you through the process of selecting the right software components and then successfully implementing them into your press.
We pride ourselves on offering a personal, friendly service and work with you to ensure the fastest time to market.