GRAPH EXPO WRAP-UP -- Digital Integration Takes the Stage
JDF and the issues surrounding its implementation will be explored in greater depth in upcoming issues of Printing Impressions.
A sometimes related trend was the expansion of efforts to more directly integrate the creative workflow into print production systems. Creo has been a leading proponent of this workflow approach with its Network Graphic Production concept and Synapse family of products. After previewing it at On Demand 2002 in New York City, Heidelberg formally launched its offering, now called Prinect Internet Portal. These online systems provide tools to the content creator, including solutions for preflighting, proofing and job submission.
Third-party component provider Markzware showed a new preflighting technology, called Hawkeye, that brings the capability to creative professionals through the use of plug-ins for popular desktop publishing applications.
Enfocus Software, meanwhile, is broadening the reach of its tools through the introduction of a free Certified PDF Reader as a plug-in for Adobe Acrobat and licensing of the Enfocus PitStop Library to OEMs for integration into workflow solutions.
Speaking of digital workflow solutions, Heidelberg unveiled its Prinect Printready modular workflow architecture and the first system components in the system. It is expected to be the successor to Prinergy when the manufacturer's business agreement with Creo expires. Creo answered by launching Version 2.1 of Prinergy, while Agfa had the first U.S. showing of ApogeeX. All of the systems feature JDF support.
Screen (USA) added features to its Trueflow workflow, and Esko-Graphics released upgrades to its Fastlane and FlowDrive front ends. Fujifilm showed its CV5 RIP that can be enhanced with workflow capabilities.
In addition, Shira Computers and Group Infotech introduced products they classify as preprint management (or manufacturing) systems—Xpressi and Printline Automation (PLA), respectively.
The violet versus thermal computer-to-plate (CTP) debate was surprisingly muted at this year's Graph Expo. The "new" things in CTP product displays tended to be the first U.S. showing or commercial delivery of products previously announced, with the IPEX show in the U.K. earlier this year having stolen the thunder.