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CIP3 Comes Home

April 2000
Lieber Vater! In many ways, CIP3 can give thanks to the DRUPA exhibition in Germany. DRUPA 1995 was the event that really brought attention to the CIP3 initiative. DRUPA 2000 will see several conceptual aspects of the initiative realized.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


In late 1993, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen initiated discussions in Germany with the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics. The two organizations, later joined by bindery innovator Polar-Mohr, formed the foundation for the CIP3 cooperative—a study group known as CIP3, the International Cooperation for Integration of Prepress, Press and Postpress.

By DRUPA 1995, the CIP3 movement took official form. Its objective: Facilitate data exchange from prepress to finishing. In short, bring about the digital linkage of all production processes over the complete printing process. The essential requirement for this digitization was the creation of the Print Production Format (PPF), a standard machine language—introduced at DRUPA 1995—that defines certain data, from the design to the dispatch of a printed product.

As DRUPA 2000 commences— May 18th to 31st in Dusseldorf, Germany—the global printing industry finds that this still-young study group is now more than 40 members strong and the specification of the PPF format can be downloaded free from the www.cip3.org Website.

With DRUPA 2000 as its backdrop, the study group—including, among others, Adobe, Agfa, Akiyama, Barco, Creo, Fujifilm, Gallus, Hagen, Hamada, Harlequin, Kolbus, Komori, MAN Roland, Mitsubishi, Ryobi, Sakurai, Scitex, Screen, Wohlenberg and Xerox—are working with Heidelberg in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute to make real the digitization of print production, first discussed with fervor in 1993.

What will DRUPA 2000 hold for CIP3? Over the past five years, the CIP3 initiative, at any given time, has been called the tool for linking printing processes; a giant step in establishing an all-digital workflow; a vital piece of the digitization puzzle for print production.

Still, has the CIP3 movement truly permeated the prepress-to-postpress activities of commercial printing? Yes and No. While there are dozens of commercial printers in the United States testing and operating all-digital workflows that adhere to the PPF, these printers, for today, are in the minority. Hesitation exists.

Despite the fact that there are proven products in the market that permit the full-tilt digitization of the print production process, there remains a sense of "wait and see" in the printing industry. Not to worry, though, once it catches on, adoption could become rapid.
 

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