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CIP3--Integrating Operations, Maximizing Productivity

May 1998
The fifth installment of Printing Impressions' ongoing focus on CIP3 activities targets the integration power of MAN Roland's PECOM networking system. PECOM, including the PPI2 prepress interface and Technical Press Preparation (TPP) workstation, links MAN Roland's open architecture CIP3-compliant fiber-optic based Roland 300, 700 and 900 sheetfed and ROTOMAN web presses with other devices. It uses the Print Production Format (PPF) file structure established by the CIP3 consortium.

In digital prepress, sophisticated front-end technology obsolescence occurs every 18 months or even far sooner. In the pressroom, however, change is far less accelerated. A printer will buy a printing press and, while digital upgrades and other automated enhancements might be on the agenda within a year or two of installation, the press is welcomed as a permanent fixture.

MAN Roland knows this fact of life. The maker of highly automated sheetfed and web offset presses also knows, however, that today's pressrooms need to push to greater levels of productivity.

A digital workflow offers the efficiencies necessary to achieve this productivity—with CIP3 serving as the enabling tool.

At present, MAN Roland customers are among some of the world's first printers to benefit from true CIP3 connectivity from prepress, press and postpress integration via MAN Roland's GATF InterTech award-winning PECOM press center.

"Assuring digital connectivity is part of the CIP3 development; the printing press is a major player in this digital integration," states MAN Roland CEO Helgi Schmidt-Liermann. "MAN Roland, one of the founding members of the consortium, recognized years ago that printing presses are the true important players in digital production."

For example, companies that use the industry standard CIP3 interface and MAN Roland's PECOM Technical Press Preparation (TPP) workstation can network an Agfa Apogee PrintDrive workstation, a Galileo (Agfa's digital platesetter) and MAN Roland presses into a seamless system for efficient operation. Combined with a MAN Roland Optimus interface, management systems can be added.

"This is the first true implementation of the CIP3 standard in a CTP production workflow," Schmidt-Liermann contends. "Working together with Agfa is an important first step to achieving a solid connection between prepress operations and the press."

At the same time, MAN Roland's CIP3 architecture is open to other CTP vendors currently complying with CIP3's Print Production Format (PPF). For MAN Roland, open collaboration is the beauty and strength of the CIP3 initiative, as Kevin Oakes, manager of digital press systems at MAN Roland, explains.

"Our presses are technology driven," says Oakes, a 20-year veteran of the graphic arts industry and former Agfa employee, who joined MAN Roland specifically to target CIP3. "We are an open architecture press manufacturer, always looking to enhance the quality and production performance of our presses. CIP3 is progressive—it's the openness of the technology that puts CIP3 on the tip of every digitally minded printer's lips today."

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