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PDF--Extreme Printing

September 1999
A few years ago, Adobe set out on a quest to promote an integrated, flexible printing architecture developed to streamline prepress and production workflows. Today, Adobe Extreme is in place at commercial printers the likes of Johnson Printing. Is the Colorado-based printer's experience with the new printing architecture truly extreme? Printing Impressions sought the answer.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


Faster prepress. This was a primary goal for Johnson Printing, a Boulder, CO-based commercial printing operation with its sights set on adopting Adobe PDF.

Circa late 1998, prepress employees at Johnson worked on different computers with expensive, proprietary software that required customer materials to be sent to separate stations for trapping, imposition and color corrections. The process made an integrated CTP workflow impossible, and forced the company to spend substantial time and money on specialized training.

The result: High production costs and delays getting materials to presses, especially if critical elements such as fonts and graphics were missing from client files.

"The demands on commercial printers have never been greater," says Steve Iwanicki, director of marketing for Johnson Printing. "Print jobs are more complex than ever, and customers expect faster turnaround. Plus there is competition from other media such as the Web and CD-ROM. The challenge for us is to keep prices low, quality high and add value to printing so it complements other ways of distributing information."

What to do?

Johnson Printing took to the extreme—with some technical finesse from Adobe and Agfa.

At present, Johnson Printing is meeting increasing market demands with an automated print workflow built around the Agfa Apogee system, Adobe Extreme and Adobe Acrobat. "The introduction of the Apogee system has changed the pace and enhanced print quality—we found the right product for expanding our competitive advantage," says Iwanicki.

The Apogee system uses Adobe Extreme to create PDF files and automate production tasks, allowing Johnson Printing to complete more jobs and keep its presses running at full capacity. Work flows smoothly from submission through production, to print, without costly, last-minute errors. And the system is so flexible that customers can work as they are accustomed, submitting files in native application format, PostScript or PDF if they desire.

The efficiency of the Apogee system is gained by the use of job tickets to control the workflow, and the reliability and production capabilities of the PDF format. After submission to the system, all files are translated to PDF using the Adobe Extreme PDF generator and a job ticket is created to track progress and define production characteristics.
 

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