FFCore has the ability to take a random number of business cards (or postcards) and automatically gang them up into the most optimal set of imposed layouts possible. There's a simplified example of this in the Easy Starts that relies on routing before imposition.
The EasySart is built that way because of how the imposition "overflow" behavior works in FreeFlow Core versions prior to v4 SP2. In those versions, the imposition always creates one layout before the "overflow" behavior is available. The imposition overflow behavior was adjusted in v4 SP2 so that documents "overflow" in all cases in which there are not enough documents to fill a layout using the job group imposition.
Additionally, the job group imposition was moved to the top level of the Page Order menu (vs being an option in cut & stack imposition).
Note: This option still requires use of the Collect Job Documents option in the workflow itself.
In any case, those changes finally enable dynamic ganging workflows to function as originally envisioned in all cases. Specifically, this allows the system to collect an indeterminate number of jobs before ganging (vs having to collect a specific number of jobs with the option to release the jobs after a certain amount of time).
The described workflow shows a practical application for business cards. This workflow accepts an arbitrary number of business cards (which may also be aggregated via a Collect node) and outputs the most optimal collection of layouts with 21, 7, 3 or 1 business card.
This can also be made to work with postcards of any size. However, that's a post for another day.
This is the workflow:
Rotate - makes all business cards landscale so they can be ganged up together.
Watermark - adds a unique number of each document in the document group (this is for demonstration purposes only)
21 BC Gangup Imposition - Imposes business cards 7 rows x 3 columns on a 12 x 18 press sheet using the Job Group Page Order and the Collect Job Documents option. If there are at least 21 jobs in the job group they are imposed so that each job is in one place in the layout. The number of sheets in the layout will match the longest document. Other documents are padded with blank pages. This allows the imposition to support both simplex and duplex business cards.
If there are less than 21 jobs in the job group they will "overflow" (aka pass through unimposed).
Route - Looks at the name of the last imposition used in the job. If the name contains the word "Gangup" the jobs are send to the printer.
Otherwise, the jobs are sent to the next imposition option.
7 BC Gangup Imposition - Performs 2 stage imposition using Collect Job Documents option.
In first imposition stage business cards are imposed 1 row x 3 columns on as press sheet that's 12" x Automatic. The quantity is automatically adjusted after this imposition. Since the imposition uses the PDF trimbox, a margin is added to the top and bottom to ensure bleed is retained for the second imposition stage.
Note: This margin can be of any size. SInce the imposed trimbox will be set to the perimeter of the placed trimboxes the size of the margin does not affect how jobs are laid out on subsequent impositions (whether part of the same template or additional imposition nodes in the workflow).
In the second imposition stage, the 3up business cards are imposed 7 rows x 1 column on a 12 x 18 press sheet using the Job Group Page Order. Each 3up job is in one place in the layout. The number of sheets in the layout will match the longest document.
Note: Not happy about this preview. Not happy about the level of effort to do something else either... that's a problem for another day.
If there are less than 7 jobs in the job group they will "overflow" (aka pass through unimposed).
Route - Does the same as the Route above
3 BC Gangup - Imposes the document in a manner that's analogous to the 7 BC Gangup preset. The main difference is that each business card is imposed 7 rows x 1 column before three business card are imposed 1 row x 3 columns using the Job Group imposition.
The margins on the first stage are on the sides of the imposed layout. The quantity, as always, is adjusted if we place the same document in multiple positions in the layout.
Route - Does the same as the Route above
1 BC Imposition - Imposes one business card 7 rows x 3 columns. As always, the quantity is adjusted as expected.
The net result of the workflow above is that the workflow always generates the most optimal collection of layouts given the number of jobs submitted as a job group or alternatively given the number of jobs collected in a given timeframe.
When processing 40 business cards, the workflow creates:
When processing 18 business cards, the workflow creates:
Full resolution screenshots of the resultant documents have been attached.