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CIP3?An Ultimate Beginning

January 1998
CIP3 is the International Cooperation for the Integration of Prepress, Press and Postpress, launched in 1995 by a team of prepress, press and postpress industry innovators, with German pressmaker Heidelberger Druckmaschinen serving as catalyst.

As the industry begins to pay closer attention to CIP3, the consortium—now more than 30 members strong—continues its initiative of establishing an open standard for exchanging digital information from prepress to postpress stages.

Each month throughout 1998, Printing Impressions will profile one specific member of the CIP3 consortium, from software developers to digital prepress innovators to press manufacturers to postpress players.

Ultimate Technographics, an imposition software pioneer, will launch our year-long look at the journey of CIP3.

At the forefront of imposition advancements in CIP3's Print Production Format (PPF) is a strong but, until recently, relatively small prepress technology vendor based out of Montreal.

When it comes to advancing the move to digitally link production from the prepress stage to the last fold of the bindery, Ultimate Technographics might be to David what CIP3 is to the role of Goliath.

This time, the two are allies, and the David—David Watson, founder and president of Ultimate—isn't throwing any stones at the giant that stands before him.

To the contrary, Watson is all too eager to assist in the advancement of the International Cooperation for Integration of Prepress, Press and Postpress. It is Ultimate's belief—and David Watson's conviction—that the printing process can deliver more with proper computer integration of the manufacturing process. Watson is convinced that CIP3 is a first step in this direction.

Ultimate's CIP3 Journey
The possibility for a CIP3-type of industry cooperation was created by the emergence of electronic imposition. A digital representation of the entire printing plate, instead of individual pages, was a necessary enabling technology to link prepress, press and postpress production.

In 1989 Ultimate Technographics introduced Impostrip, the first electronic imposition software to the commercial printing market. By 1990, Ultimate's Watson was ready to use DRUPA as an informal forum for discussing with industry press and postpress equipment manufacturers the possibility of linking the three areas of production together.

His argument: Imposition software controls the linking process, because it mirrors the planning processes of a production stream in a printing plant. Within a short time, early steps were made with transferring image data from a proprietary system to an ink control unit of a particular manufacturer.

But it was not until DRUPA 1995 that an industry-wide initiative was launched to define a data interchange standard—known as CIP3.
 

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