Axel Zoeller–Taking Giant Steps

What are his thoughts on the prepress industry at present—and Heidelberg’s future direction? Let’s ask him . . .

PI: Much of the focus of the prepress industry this past year has been on Adobe’s Portable Document Format (PDF). How will PDF evolve, and how will Heidelberg support it?

Zoeller: “Yes, PDF has dominated workflow discussions for the last year and a half, but the reality up to now has been that PostScript and raster- or RIP-once-output-many (ROOM) workflow solutions like Delta have been, by far, the leading systems installed in the industry. There are a variety of reasons for this, but mostly because they’re highly efficient production systems that meet the needs of even high-end applications. Reproducing this type of functionality in a PDF-based workflow is taking a lot more time and resources than people had anticipated.

“The development of today’s successful workflow solutions started in the early 1990s, and expanding this functionality into PDF has been a major challenge for Adobe and partners like Heidelberg. Today, every indication is that PDF will be ready for high-end commercial work in 1999.

“Heidelberg, through Linotype-Hell, has had the longest relationship with Adobe of anyone in the industry, and we continue to maintain a close strategic partnership. Heidelberg is very much aware of ongoing developments with PDF, and we will be ready when PDF is ready. Heidelberg will protect its customers’ investments by extending the Delta Technology into a workflow based on PDF formats.”

PI: What is Heidelberg doing to streamline prepress workflows in terms of digital asset management?

Zoeller: “We’ve heard a lot of discussion lately about digital asset management. Today, companies face the challenge of first having to organize their workflow processes and make them more efficient, and then tie them into an asset archive or database.

“Once companies have an organized structure and archive for internal use, then expanding access to customers via the Internet is a logical step. Heidelberg is uniquely positioned in this case with its DeltaBase server solution, which offers the tightest integration available between high-end workflow management and a sophisticated database for archiving and retrieving information. Some solutions present a server without a database, and therefore no archiving and retrieval capabilities on the page element level, while others do not integrate the database with the manufacturing workflow.

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