Workflow has never been more critical. As Hal Hinderliter put it
June 2003's “Real-world workflow”:
“Efficiency goes beyond merely determining how much to charge
per thousand copies or hour of press time. It requires connecting
and digitally controlling all processes, from estimating and order
entry to production, scheduling and billing. These connections must
flow between workers and workstations within the printer's
operation, as well as between its vendors and customers.”
Workflows have moved far beyond merely converting PostScript
into one-bit TIFF data. A selection of recent product introductions
follows, including some tools specifically designed for smaller
(Ridgeland Park, NJ) :ApogeeX proofing improvements
include enhanced reproduction of spot-color solids and tints, as
well as Pantone blends, duotones and tritones; accurate color
reproductions from proof to print in dot-for-dot screened proofs
from 1-bit digital data on :SherpaProofs; and additional remote
proofing functionality with the :Sherpa Remote Proofing
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(Vancouver, Canada) Prinergy Evo targets small
commercial printers transitioning to CTP. It offers advanced
preflight, normalizing, color management, trapping and screening,
an end-to-end native PDF workflow as well as JDF import/export for
information exchange and system integration.
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(Kehl, Germany) DALiM TWiST 5.0 offers
built-in system failover; advanced load balancing; native PDF 1.4
and 1.5 file support; a new graphical user interface; PDF/X-1a:
2003, PDF/X-3: 2003, Pass4Press (V4), and PDF/X Plus file output;
and preflight and color-separation mapping tools.
Users can work with a range of file formats, both open and
proprietary and in the same workflow. TwiST has 168 standard
A built-in, JDF-driven preflighting engine allows job ticket
information to pass transparently between Dalim Software servers
and third-party systems. The engine can generate a JDF-based
preflight report that also can be used as the base input data to
generate a low-resolution PDF file of the job. This unique PDF file
contains the JDF preflight report as text as well as hyperlinks
within the PDF. The hyperlink information helps highlight the exact
problem(s) for the user. See www.dalim.com.
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(Foster City, CA) OneFlow PDF-based prepress software
provides centralized management of multiple digital, offset and
inkjet printing devices. Users can automate prepress functions,
integrating tools to automatically convert files to PDF, preflight,
trap, impose, correct, RIP, soft proof and more. At Graph Expo, it
was shown connected to a Fiery server and integrated with EFI's
Hagen, Logic and PSI management systems. See www.efi.com
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(Centreville, VA) JDF Enabler provides JDF
support for the Harlequin RIP; TrapPro in-RIP trapping; ColorPro
in-RIP color management and the Harlequin Screening Library. See
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(Westmont, IL) printnet network solution lets
users integrate their production workflows with the MIS of their
choice, for an end-to-end JDF-driven workflow. Graph Expo's CIMcity
demonstrated how printnet can link JDF-compliant software from
Participants included EFI (its Hagen MIS integrated estimating
and invoicing); Creo (Prinergy workflow, Magnus VLF platesetter and
Synapse Link JDF connection); MBO (Perfection folder and Data
Manager JDF-driven connection); and Muller Martini (its BravoPlus
Amrys saddlestitcher converted the workflow's printed signatures
into finished products).
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(Quebec, Canada) PrePage-it lets users
upgrade an existing Harlequin RIP, transforming init to a
database-driven workflow. It can be used to upgrade any third-party
OEM version of Windows Harlequin RIPs or be bundled with Polkadots'
OEM version of Harlequin Eclipse: Rasterize-it. See www.polkadots.ca
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(Rolling Meadows, IL) Trueflow PDF workflow can
drive platesetters and digital printing presses as well as create
an automated, networked workflow. Existing users can easily move
from a PDF and PostScript workflow into a JDF-based environment.
Trueflow automates preflight, overprint, auto-trapping, imposition
and output in multiple formats. “Polished PDF IN”
provides dual functionality and incorporates the latest Enfocus
Library. Incoming files are checked and formatted into PDF or
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(Berkeley, CA) WebNative application plug-in for
Adobe InDesign CS as well as a Versioning plug-in for Adobe
PhotoShop can help users manage image-naming conventions. The
WebNative Versioning plug-in for PhotoShop (for Mac OS 9/X)
automatically creates new versions of files following a naming
convention specified by the administrator. Also new in Web Native:
triggers and actions for database-driven automated workflows and
“File Connections,” an easy way to display all layouts
linking to a file/image. See www.xinet.com
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(Ann Arbor, MI) offers JDF-enabled versions of its
Navigator Harlequin RIP, XiFlow (a prepress workflow for Navigator
and other Harlequin RIPs) and Xenith Extreme Adobe RIP. XiFlow runs
as a server and controls the flow of jobs for up to three Harlequin
RIPs simultaneously. Client software for both PCs and Macs allow
prepress operators to direct jobs through a workflow without
leaving their workstations. Xenith 4 PDF is an Adobe
Extreme-compliant workflow with tools including PDF creation,
Certified PDF, built-in preflighting, in-RIP trapping, NORM
proofing, and unlimited Macintosh and Windows clients. Xenith 4 PDF
users can easily upgrade to Xenith Extreme when they add devices
larger than 30 × 30 inches. See www.xitron.com
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Key features of Rampage Systems'
(Waltham, MA) Rampage JVX
- automatic imposition using templates in JDF format from
- integration with third-party MIS packages for job creation,
tracking, costing, and analysis via Job Messaging Format.
- remote job submission via FTP hot folders.
- automatic JDF-based step-and-repeat and other flexo
- a distiller plug-in for cleaning incoming PDF files.
- automatic versioning.
Rampage JVX also retains popular features from older versions,
such as automatic trapping, built-in picture replacement (OPI), a
client-server architecture supporting Mac OS9/X, and proofing from
Rampage Digital Masters. See www.rampageinc.com.
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RIPit Computer Corp.'s
(Citrus Heights, CA) OpenRIP can
natively control more than 100 imagesetters, platesetters, printers
and plotters, as well as a wide range of PostScript and TIFF-it
devices from a single interface. OpenRip Symphony is an Adobe
PostScript 3 RIP that integrates scanning, trapping, proofing and
imposition into a single package. Symphony provides those features
to any output device that can accept PostScript or TIFF
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(Rochester, NY) released four new products within its
FreeFlow Digital Workflow:
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- Process Manager lets print shop operators prebuild workflows
for automatic document preparation, proofing and printing.
- Web Services provides a digital storefront for customer job
ordering and management, enabling printers' customers to view,
modify and order documents for production.
- Makeready is a central hub for key prepress activities that
makes it easier to finalize documents for production.
- Print Manager offers an integrated printer manager/job
ticketing workflow that is a single point of access to both digital
and offset devices, allowing users to select the most economical
output device. See www.xerox.com.
Are you experienced?
(Kennesaw, GA) Prinect Experience brought
JDF to life for Graph Expo visitors. A series of eight integrated
workstations showcased Prinect, Heidelberg's approach to
JDF-enabled computer-integrated manufacturing. Using CIP3-PPF and
CIP4-JDF, Prinect tracks and optimizes jobs from order entry
With JDF job tickets in hand, participants followed the job of
their choice (postcard, poster, double gatefold or A4- or A5-sized
brochure). Tour stops included Prinance (MIS); Signa Station
(imposition); Printready (JDF-based workflow); Metadimension
(RIP/workflow); Prepress Interface (ink key setting and other
press/postpress presets); CP2000 Center (press control; Polar
Compucut (cutting program calculator); FCS 100 Compufold (folding
calculator); and FCS 100 Compustitch (stitching calculator).
“JDF represents an opportunity for the industry to work
more efficiently, productively and profitably,” said James
Mauro, product manager, Prinect press products, Heidelberg USA.
“Used properly, it promises to bring the efficiencies of CIM
to printing that has been available to other computerized and
mechanized manufacturing industries for years.”
PDF workflow now; CTP later
Fritz Wienecke, owner of the eponymous Fritz The
Printer (Brea, CA), is 47 years old. At his age, he says it's
not easy to learn something new. So two years ago, when he wanted
to move his five-employee, 4,000-sq.-ft. shop to the digital age,
ease of use was among his top workflow priorities.
Other requirements included:
- file integrity from proofing to final output.
- reliable in-RIP trapping.
- an Adobe core RIP.
- a PDF workflow.
- support for PostScript 3 and PDF 1.4 with transparency.
Fritz's press room features two two-color presses (Hamada and
Heidelberg) and a Ryobi four-color press. Until a year ago, the
prepress setup consisted of a Harlequin 5.3 RIP driving a Scitex
Dolev 400 imagesetter. Dynagram's DynaStrip is used for imposition
and an Epson inkjet device covers proofing requirements.
“We weren't sure of which plate technology would be the
best fit for us down the road,” explains Wiencker. “We
knew we wanted to go to an all-digital workflow soon, and someday
add-in CTP. We figured the right plate technology would emerge over
time, but did not want to wait for this to start the evolution to a
A GUI for the average guy
After narrowing their choices to four vendors' workflow products,
Fritz and his fellow employees selected Xitron's (Ann Arbor, MI)
Xenith Extreme. Based on Adobe's PostScript 3 interpreter, Xenith
offers functionality ranging from portable job tickets, remote
clients and in-RIP trapping.
“We chose Xenith Extreme because the GUI looked logical
and simple,” says Wienecke. “Also, the imposition
looked like it would integrate well and the preview was really
nice. We thought it looked better than the other systems, and the
slam dunk was the pricing.”
Although the company didn't yet have a platesetter, this wasn't
a problem. “Xenith isn't dependent on a certain
platesetter,” notes Wienecke.
Faster turnaround with better file integrity
Six months after installing the new workflow, Fritz the Printer
added a Presstek Dimension 400 platesetter. “We're definitely
more competitive with this workflow and platesetter,” says
Wiencke. “The speed of RIPping and trapping, the imposition
tools and the ability to email a RIPped PDF to the customer for
proofing all factor into the increased productivity. Xenith RIPs
the files for both the proofer and for final output, maintaining
Wiencke says it previously could take hours to get a two-color
business card to film because of transparency or other output
issues, or problems with MS Word files. “If we hadn't done
this, we probably couldn't have stayed in business,” says the
printer. “We save a lot of time.” See www.xitron.com.
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The following workflow vendors won “Worth-a-look”
honors at Graph Expo:
- Agfa Corp. (Delano)
- Creo Inc. (Brisque 5.0)
- Creo Inc. (Prinergy Evo)
- DALiM Software (TwiST)
- Enfocus Software (Instant PDF 3.0)
- Esko-Graphics (Scope)
- EFI (Fiery Q5000)
- Polkadots Software (PrePage-it)
- Xerox (FreeFlow)
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.