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CIP3--A Giant and the Consortium

April 1998
The fourth installment of Printing Impressions' year-long CIP3 focus profiles the prepress and press projections of Heidelberg—the founding father of the CIP3 consortium. Now, with Delta Technology's PressGate from Heidelberg Prepress serving as a CIP3 enabling tool for the German press maker, the megasupplier is moving closer to automating the print production process from prepress through postpress.

If one company needed to embody the objectives of the CIP3 movement—establish and implement a seamless digital workflow from prepress to postpress—it was Heidelberg. The founder of the CIP3 initiative, Heidelberg is the new name in prepress production, as well as an established goliath in the pressroom and a looming figure in postpress.

Heidelberg is CIP3.

Today, hundreds of Heidelberg personnel are working to deliver the Print Production Format (PPF) to their digitally minded, commercial printing customers. From Dr. Gerhard Fischer, head of system coordination at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, to Axel Zöller, marketing director in the United States for Heidelberg Prepress, the industry giant has focused its energies on empowering commercial printers with the integration of CIP3.

Zöller believes in its potential. "CIP3 will be the tool for linking prepress to postpress," he notes. "Heidelberg will continue to establish and implement components of the CIP3 initiative.

"It may take a few years before CIP3 sees its full potential throughout the industry, but we will get there. Heidelberg is committed, and we will empower CIP3."

Ray Cassino, CTP manager at Heidelberg Prepress, agrees. "CIP3—the integration and automation of the prepress through press and postpress workflow—will increase dramatically over the next two years. As the world's largest publishing technology vendor, Heidelberg offers cutting-edge solutions based on its unique and comprehensive understanding of publishing workflows," he reports.

"Today, more than ever, prepress, press and finishing can communicate and share information as never before," Cassino continues.

"As a result, each part of the process can work according to what is feasible for other tasks in the workflow, and create or format material so that it moves quickly and easily through each process—from design through scanning, RIPing, trapping, imposition, proofing, plate and image setting, printing and finishing."

Heidelberg believes in flexible RIP technologies—processors that support the much-touted RIP Once, Output Many (ROOM) concept, fostered strongly by the Heidelberg Prepress segment for some time.

At present, Delta Technology's recognition as a GATF InterTech Award winner—as the RIP that will have the greatest impact—is delivering on its ROOM promise, offering raster or PostScript workflows.

The Delta Force
Heidelberg Prepress (first joining the CIP3 consortium as Linotype-Hell) concentrates its CIP3 work around the Delta RIP, running CIP3's PPF. As part of the Delta post-interpreted workflow, Heidelberg Prepress creates a CIP3 file form with the same file that created the plate—which guarantees the exact same results as the plate by avoiding an additional PostScript interpretation. PressGate is a Delta module that runs on any Delta workstation, creating the CIP3 file from the DeltaList of the imposed signature.

On the press side, the Heidelberg CPC32 program reads the CIP3 file created by PressGate and creates the resulting ink zone settings. This data can then be transferred to a flash memory card and inserted in the CPTronic console or transferred directly to the color console by the Ethernet network.

PressGate and CPC32 are currently in beta test and, in some cases, full implementation at commercial printing sites in England, Germany and the United States.

For example, Scholin Brothers Printing, a $13 million, Webster Groves, MO-based operation, is teaming Scitex and Heidelberg CIP3 technologies. At Scholin, Todd Wellman serves as director of technology and research for electronic prepress. Wellman is, himself, a vital link in integrating a digital workflow via CIP3.

"CIP3 is not going to make a poor pressman a master pressman, but it will automate several steps of the print production process, enabling faster, more controlled productivity," he asserts, noting that Scholin's implementation of CIP3 wasn't without its wrinkles. "Implementation is certainly the toughest part, but when you factor in that ink estimation is so exact and that press performance is heightened, you determine it's well worth it."

Cassino's CIP3 prediction?

By the year 2000, printers will be implementing and benefiting from substantial increases in productivity resulting from CIP3. The standard will be in widespread use, with further automation enhancements available via flexible workflows. "CIP3 is just one more piece to the digital puzzle," Cassino projects.

"It's one giant step in establishing an all-digital workflow. CIP3 will eventually permeate the industry, from prepress to postpress."

—Marie Ranoia Alonso

In May, look for a profile of MAN Roland's PECOM Technical Preparation Workstation and the press maker's CIP3 efforts linked to Agfa's Apogee print drive and Galileo digital platesetter.

Danke Schön, Lieber Vater!
Heidelberg: CIP3's Founding Father

CIP3 stands for the International Cooperation for Integration of Prepress, Press and Postpress, launched in 1995 by German press maker Heidelberger Druckmaschinen.

The CIP3 project was born from the industry-wide wish to link printing and postpress processes closer to prepress production, with data generated in the prepress phase being used for administrative purposes, as well as assisting in further stages of print production.

In late 1993, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen initiated discussion with the German Fraunhofer Institute. The two organizations, later joined by bindery innovator Polar/Mohr, formed the foundation for the CIP3 cooperative.

By 1995, CIP3 took official form.

Today, this growing cooperative consortium—now some 30 members strong—is advancing its initiative to establish an open standard for exchanging information between various print production devices, such as a digital platesetter and a printing press.

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