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CIP3--Enabling the Digital Journey

August 1998

The seventh installment of Printing Impressions' ongoing focus on CIP3 visits ScriptWorks RIP manufacturer Harlequin, an early member of the CIP3 consortium. Currently in the final stages of beta testing a plug-in for CIP3's Print Production Format (PPF), Harlequin is working with its team of leading prepress OEMs to navigate the cutting edge of CIP3 developments.

FACT: NO longer are components of a prepress environment expected to work as an independent module of a commercial printing operation. Instead, the electronic prepress department is called upon, more and more, to function as the first leg of an advanced digital journey that ends just beyond the bindery at the operation's loading dock door.

This is the journey of CIP3.

It's young, no one will argue that, but so far CIP3 technology has caught the attention of dozens of industry innovators.

What is Harlequin's role in CIP3?

"Harlequin is building some enabling pieces of CIP3. We don't provide end-user solutions, but we do provide the underlying technologies and enabling components to deliver CIP3 to the end-user solution," reports Andrew Masia, director of product marketing, Digital Printing and Publishing, at Harlequin.

"It's well known that we are in the business of creating components for our OEMs, many of which are involved in CIP3."

Harlequin has tested and continues to evolve an output option for its ScriptWorks RIP Management System that generates CIP3 PPF files from any input format supported by the ScriptWorks RIP—PostScript, PDF, TIFF, TIFF/IT-P1, EPS and more. The resulting PPF files can be used in a CIP3-based workflow to preset ink keys on press, thereby closing the loop between prepress and print production.

The CIP3 PPF files are created by exactly the same RIP used to make film or plates, and enable ink keys to be set on-press quickly and easily. CIP3 file generation is as easy and automatic as generating the plates and films themselves. Using those files on-press can bring presses up to color faster by reducing makeready times and wastage, and removing the need for slow and expensive plate scanners.

Harlequin's CIP3 plug-in for ScriptWorks can take any PostScript, EPS, PDF or TIFF/IT-P1 file and repurpose it to a CIP3 file. The result is a file that can be used to finely tune ink key settings at the press, Masia explains.

Output files generated by Harlequin's CIP3 option have been tested with interfaces from Heidelberg and MAN Roland. Other press vendors and third-party add-on manufacturers are working with the CIP3 consortium to enable the same data to increase the efficiency of a large and growing number of presses worldwide.

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