PDF WORKFLOW--Still a Juggling Act
One point of differentiation that has gotten some play is whether a workflow system is "100 percent" PDF or uses some other interim file format. The issue boils down to, if a system accepts and outputs PDF files, while faithfully rendering the data, then does it matter what happens in the middle? It's up to individual buyers to decide.
So how do the systems differ?
Prinergy is a family of page-based workflow tools that use PDF as the internal file format and have an Oracle database at their core. Currently the product line is being developed by CreoScitex, but the system also is marketed by Heidelberg USA.
Prinergy Direct is the entry-level product that provides file processing capabilities to Mac and PC users. It can be upgraded to the greater functionality of Connect, which supports volume production and receives files from the Direct system. Powerpack is a configuration that has been optimized for offset and flexographic packaging printers and trade shops. InSite enables users to create a secure Internet portal through which they can interact with remote print buyers. (www.creoscitex.com or www.heidelbergusa.com)
CreoScitex also is committed to the ongoing development—including expanded PDF support—of its Brisque front-end solution, says Mark Sullivan, the company's business development manager. Brisque provides an entirely raster-based workflow, as opposed to the mixed raster and vector environment of Prinergy, Sullivan explains. It is based on the Power PC platform.
Agfa ApogeeSeries2 system components include Pilot (production manager), PDF RIP and PrintDrive (output manager). The system maintains files in the PDF format, with the latest upgrade adding support of a page-based workflow. Apogee reportedly is designed to be an open system so it can work with non-Agfa RIPs, output devices and workflows. (www.agfahome.com)