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Workflow and CTP Solutions — Getting Better Bit by Bit

October 2007 By Mark Smith
Technology Editor
PREPRESS USED to be a tightly defined process. Its evolution into “workflow” made the boundaries less clear cut, and they have been further blurred by the introduction of digital printing, variable data, Web-to-print and JDF into the production mix. Developments on all fronts could be seen around the show floor at Graph Expo 2007, along with a new potential wrinkle—Microsoft’s XPS (XML Paper Specification).

Delivering on announcements made at last year’s show, a couple of vendors released upgrades to their workflow solutions that implement the Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE) technology. It implements native PDF rendering, faster file processing and further JDF integration.

Agfa’s ApogeeX 4.0 adds Adobe’s new processing engine alongside the existing CPSI PostScript interpreter. Other components of the upgrade include plate versioning, Digital QuickStrip for rendering separate pages and an optional InkSaving module for automated GCR. The company also introduced Delano 3.0, which enhances the project management system by simplifying the user interface and enabling content to be uploaded without page assignments.

In addition to “APPE-enabled” capabilities, the new Trueflow SE workflow system from Screen (USA) features late-stage content corrections and drag-and-drop file processing in a device-independent environment that supports computer-to-plate (CTP) and digital printing systems. It is a replacement for the current Trueflow 3 product range.

Kodak demonstrated its implementation of the technology in the Prinergy 4 workflow, which was introduced this past spring.

There weren’t any broad trends in the rest of the developments announced in the workflow product category. The news consisted of incremental enhancements and a couple of business deals.

Heidelberg unveiled the Prinect Archive System, which features a new architecture and ability to work with sections of an archived job. Prinect’s Web-to-print capabilities have been upgraded with an improved user interface and detailed job status tracking, among other new features. Prinect Signa Station now enables layout dimensions to be varified on-screen and provides a three-dimensional view for checking collating marks.

Getting into the Flow

Fujifilm Graphic Systems is now offering a trio of workflow solutions in the United States, including Rampage Systems’ Rampage v10.5, Screen’s Trueflow and LithoTechnics’ Metrix.

The latest release of Rampage enhances the native processing of files by its PDF Trap Engine, adding the ability to handle RGB-to-CMYK conversions, varnish or bump plates, die lines and object-based screening.

Metrix automates job planning by integrating with an MIS on the input side and outputting JDF or PPF data to drive downstream processes. Verion 3.0 adds Mac OS X support, optimizes production across multiple press sheets and presses, and provides a drag-and-drop interface. Xitron has also signed on as a distributor.
 

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