ZenSmart integrations: Canon Prostream, Varioprint-IX Series and Prisma

ZenSmart integrations: Canon Prostream, Varioprint-IX Series and Prisma


Canon has been driving innovation hard with its Prostream and Varioprint IX series printing presses. Both are influential and significant digital print devices but for very different reasons.

Canon ProStream is a high-speed web fed inkjet production printer known for its exceptional print quality, at speeds of up to 450 per minute, with versatile media handling capabilities. It’s ideal for commercial printing, print service provider and direct mail applications. It is a full duplex device with resolution up to 1200dpi.

The VarioPRINT iX-series is also inkjet but it is a sheet fed device up to B2 in size offering outstanding print quality with really strong dot control. It’s a flexible press which means it’s well suited for a diverse range of commercial printing applications.

What these two presses have in common is that they are driven by Prisma. Prisma is Canon’s range of workflow applications, and printer monitoring and management tools. Available in multiple versions Prisma, as well as providing application interfaces for controlling the Prostream and Varioprint IX Presses, also has integrations with various upstream applications and presents a consistent interface and database rather than having to build separate integrations. It’s a key component in achieving high levels of print workflow automation in digital print facilities.

ZenSmart has built a custom integration between the ZenSmart workflow automation platform and Canon Prisma to enable the automation of on demand print manufacturing processes from order source to shipping.

Opportunities to extend Prisma functionality

Prisma is a rich toolset with a lot of functionality, but there are significant opportunities to expand its function and more deeply integrate it into a digital print order workflow in order to achieve:

  1. higher levels of print automation and reduced pre-press and press operations cost
  2. dynamic order based variables in the job payload at the batch, job sheet or individual page level
  3. sophisticated impositions including dynamic duplex or multi lane impositions to achieve better page utilization and higher media yields or create new product innovations such full duplex photo printing with dynamic variable data on both sides of the sheet

Additionally Prisma collects a lot of data from the press that when attached to the job and the order can provide a range of insights. More on that later.

Prisma – ZenSmart integration characteristics

ZenSmart possesses a full rich Canon Prisma integration. Key features of the integration are:

  1. Rich two way messaging with automated ingestion of a wide range of press messages such as job submit, job complete and error responses
  2. Database monitoring
  3. Press polling and automated retry on error states
  4. PDF workflow
  5. Automated dynamic impositions

When releasing jobs from ZenSmart, print jobs are processed and queued in a standardized manner and automatically form batches that are formed into PDF’s depending on the press selection plus finishing combination defined in workflow. This means that a just-in-time job release capability is available with queued work able to be routed to the optimal press-finishing combination at the last minute rather than a fixed press to finish type workflow observed (this means that a combined Prostream + IX Varioprint or other press type strategy can be followed with presses used as a fully integrated virtual fleet of presses).

From there, ZenSmart seamlessly integrates batches onto the press with your own richly featured, dynamic pre-configured imposition templates (based on the press-finishing selection) and directly submits to Prisma, appearing as a job in the Prisma press release screen. It is also possible for this to be wholly automated so that Prisma press release is completely bypassed.

The level of integration ensures accurate, uniform digital print production. There’s no need for operator intervention as assembled batches are directly queued for printing on the Canon Prostream or IX Varioprint press.

ZenSmart tracks the movement of each task through the various phases of print production. This gives staff the ability to oversee each stage as it happens instantly. The ZenSmart API reads a large list of job and RIP processing outcomes, the system enhances the potential for automated responses and corrective actions.

Opportunities to further extend Prisma functionality

Our experience is that few plant workflow implementations take note of other variables that can affect job performance. With the capacity of these press types we certainly recommend expanding beyond the traditional values that are ingested as part of workflow-press integrations. The sheer capacity of the Canon presses means that 6 figures savings are achievable if you can identify input side variables that affect your job output.

One of the strengths of Prisma is the other data that the solution provides. Prisma provides an extensive range of fields in the Prisma database that include device resolution, device input color profile, device output color profile, media usage, media grade, media perforation, media thickness, media coatings, media width, media weight, file resolution, colorant usage, print speed and production user.

We recommend that the ZenSmart-Prisma API be leveraged and that some or all of these fields be ingested and associated with Batch and Order data to provide opportunities for additional insight.

For example with the ongoing supply issues with 22″ wide media for the Prostream requiring a multi-mill sourcing approach there is a +/- 0.25″ (5mm) variance to media. Where very high utilization impositions are used these tolerances can result in critical variations that can impact multi-thousand foot output rolls.

Calling this field value and attaching it back against the job and order can provide critical insights that can make big impacts on job costs and dramatically reduce job fail rates in downstream workflow.


Beyond streamlining operations, ZenSmart’s true power lies in its potential to significantly reduce pre-press and press room labor costs by creating streamlined automation from order through queuing, batching, imposition and then direct routing onto the press.

The ZenSmart-Prisma Integration enables a very fine level of job integration with business rule based aggregation of customer orders into optimised batches directly imposed onto the sheet or web to least-cost with a level of automation that can extend to wholly automated operations.

This efficiency means facilities can reallocate human resources to more value-driven tasks or achieve significant savings by optimizing workforce requirements.

Want more information?

If you would like to know more about the ZenSmart – Prisma integration, then find us at zensmart.ai and send us an inquiry via the form located at the base of any page.

Sammy Brent

Sammy Brent is the CIO of ZenSmart, a leading workflow automation platform that streamlines manufacturing in On Demand plants across the world.



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