Digital and Offset Printing: Seeking Workflow Oneness

Agfa Graphics recently introduced the Apogee DigitalPrint Link to the Canon imagePRESS product family, which extends the capabilities of Apogee Prepress to drive digital printing. It already offered JDF-based links to HP Indigo presses for some time, with both interfaces enabling the setting of job parameters within Apogee to eliminate additional input by the digital press operator.

Canon also offers connectivity to the Screen (USA) Trueflow SE and Heidelberg Prinect workflows through its imagePRESS Workflow Solutions Program.

Even as it makes aggressive moves in the print-on-demand (POD) sector, Screen (USA) says it still maintains a strong commitment to computer-to-plate technology. Its new Equiosnet solution blends the two by adding POD support to the Trueflow SE workflow designed to drive CTP production. The combination is based on Adobe PDF Print Engine 2.0 (APPE) technology, offers JDF automation and supports variable data capabilities.

At PRINT 09, the company demonstrated the Equios-Pre4m hybrid workflow concept. It is PDF- and JDF-based to provide “end-to-end automation” of print production, from job quoting and file submission through finishing and delivery.

Fujifilm Graphic Systems U.S.A. has also been working to roll out a new hybrid production system, the Fujifilm Workflow XMF. It is said to be designed to cross-connect offset, digital and wide-format production via a “JDF engine” that uses APPE technology to preserve PDF content in its original form and store instructions for workflow processes in a JDF Job Bag. Fuji-
film’s imposition engine enables
users to create and edit impositions “live” in the system using dynamic templates to change parameters for different output devices.

Further Integration

During Drupa 2008, Xerox announced the integration of its FreeFlow digital workflow with Fujifilm Workflow XMF and Heidelberg’s Prinect workflow to enable support of its digital printing systems in a CTP workflow. On its end, Heidelberg has also been developing the Prinect Digital Print Manager in cooperation with Canon, HP Indigo and Kodak to provide bi-directional integration of their digital printing systems into the management and production workflow.

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