PRINT 05 PREPRESS WORKFLOW & CTP -- Streamlining the Prepress Process
BY MARK SMITH
Industry vendors continue to weave a convoluted web of interconnecting technologies and business relationships. Imagine, for a moment, if all of such connections between exhibitors at PRINT 05 & CONVERTING 05 had been represented physically by running strings between their booths. The result likely would have rivaled the work of even the most industrious spider.
Quiet a few new strands would have been added just at the show, particularly in the areas of interfacing offset and digital workflows and marketing of new plate technologies.
Though not expressly sold as JDF (Job Definition Format) solutions, that technology generally underlies the new mechanisms for connecting offset and digital workflows. Vendors chose to focus on specific functionality, rather than any grand vision of CIM (computer-integrated manufacturing) enabled by JDF. In fact, the term CIM is noticeably absent from show materials.
Kodak's Graphic Communications Group has adopted an alternative name for the concept of integrating offset and digital production, calling it the "Unified Workflow" vision. Part of this vision, naturally, encompasses interfacing its (formerly Creo) workflow solutions to the Kodak Nexpress and DirectPress DI digital presses. The company says it is also open to working with other vendors, noting that connectivity to Heidelberg's Prinect workflow system already was possible.
Xerox also demonstrated an example of digital and offset printing integration by linking to the Prinect system, in this case via the Xerox FreeFlow software suite. The company continues to work with EFI, as well, including integrating the new Fiery System 7 software into its copier/printer line.
In cooperation with HP, Agfa has developed a new ApogeeX Integration Pack that optimizes its workflow system for driving HP Indigo color presses. Similar connectivity was demonstrated between the HP Indigo presses and Heidelberg's Prinect system.
Separately, HP and the Creo Print On-Demand Solutions group (a unit of Kodak Graphic Communications Group) announced that they are pursuing an OEM relationship "for the creation of a product intended to enable users of Prinergy, Brisque and Synapse front-end solutions to integrate with HP Indigo digital presses." This relationship goes a step further because HP says it expects to begin selling the resulting HP Indigo Production Stream Server workflow solution in the spring of 2006.