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CIP3--Automating the Connection

March 1998
The third installment of Printing Impressions' year-long examination of CIP3 puts the spotlight on Screen (USA) and the relationship between Taiga SPACE and CIP3's PPF, and examines the CIP3 perspective of one very satisfied Screen technology user.

Ask George Fiel what is so significant about CIP3, and, after arching his eyebrows slightly and looking you squarely in the eye—as if to pose the question: "What planet have you been living on?"—he will give you an answer that is insightful, if not virtually celebratory in nature.

So, George, what do you think of CIP3? Go ahead, let us have it.

"CIP3 will be universally adopted—it is, without question, the most significant initiative to both enable and empower a complete digital workflow," Fiel says from his Menomonee Falls, WI, office at Image Systems. "You need to have the total, digital integration that CIP3 can deliver. I strongly support CIP3, and I think most smart commercial printers feel the same."

It seems more and more do.

At Image Systems, Screen is the prepress technology in place for CIP3. Screen allows for a CIP3 option for the Taiga-SPACE workflow, which, in turn, allows Fiel's facility to preview image data for ink settings.

A direct-to-plate operation prepared to make the move into direct-to-press and, eventually, direct-to-cylinder, Image Systems has fully integrated CIP3 into its workflow through technologies provided by Screen, Heidelberg and an array of cutting and folding vendors.

Fiel wants the company to run seamlessly—a digital domain from prepress to the bindery.

"CIP3 integration will be a part of the direct digital flow of information throughout a production environment," Fiel reveals. "It's a natural evolution of the print production process. It simply makes good sense."

CIP3 Today
To date, Image Systems reports it is satisfied with integration of Screen and Heidelberg CIP3 technologies, namely TaigaSPACE workstations now functioning as components in the Heidelberg workflow.

From the vantage point of Screen (USA)—Dainippon Screen was an early member of the international consortium, formed with Heidelberg acting as its father—the CIP3 Print Production Format (PPF) is maturing nicely in an industry anxiously awaiting its refinement.

"Now, we are in a position in technology where prepress has been completely automated, reacting very much like CIM," reports David Mitchell, vice president of sales and marketing at Screen (USA).

"If a printer wants to have a complete digital system to remove errors from the workflow, from design to the bindery, the only way is through advanced automation," the digitally minded Mitchell continues. "You have to take the human element out, and through digital innovation that is what CIP3 is doing."

To accommodate CIP3, Screen's TaigaSPACE can now output PPF standard preview image data, critical elements in PPF files. This lets users extend their digital prepress to press workflow and improve productivity by reducing the labor involved in printing press set-up.

Heidelberg's CPC32 prepress interface unit interprets Taiga-SPACE's preview data and provides area coverage values to Heidelberg's CPC1 directly or via the CPC51, which converts the data to ink settings.

Where's the benefit?

This system not only eliminates the need to scan plates before printing, but also provides automatic digital ink management for perfect, effortless ink keying.

Recently, Screen has been emphasizing more efficient, productive workflows with TaigaSPACE 4.1, an open-architecture system that allows for improved Scitex data incorporation, Windows 95 desktop support and intelligent communications software programs to access and distribute information.

Focusing on CIP3, TaigaSPACE can also be used with Komori presses, in addition to Heidelberg presses, thanks to a conversion algorithm developed by Screen.

"The technology itself will allow for many different features, depending on what's happening at the press," Screen's Mitchell explains.

"Eventually, the prepress will plug directly into the press—that is what is happening now with CIP3."

—Marie Ranoia Alonso

Next Month
In April, learn more about the CIP3 activities of Heidelberg, the catalyst for the launch of the International Cooperation for the Integration of Prepress, Press and Postpress in 1995. The profile will take a special look at the Delta technologies and related prepress CIP3 activities of Heidelberg Prepress.

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