Just prior to the show, Pageflex, a division of Bitstream Inc., released the Storefront 5.5 upgrade that adds tools to customize the look and functionality of customer-facing Websites. In Chicago, the company demonstrated the ability of the product to integrate with third-party solutions, including the OASymbio print automation platform from Objective Advantage. Associates Graphic Services, in Wilmington, DE, is the first printer to deploy the combination to create a nearly “lights out” automated production environment.
OrderSense—a new company and ASP/SAS Web-to-print solution—was launched by Bay Digital, a graphic arts system integrator and dealer, in partnership with Press-sense. Targeted to small- and mid-size printers, the service offers Press-sense iWay software as a hosted solution that printers can implement for a monthly fee based on the number of orders.
Due to be released in the fourth quarter, iWay 4.0 includes asset management capabilities, tax and shipping improvements, a new budget/cost center module and the ability to fully customize sites.
A Web-to-print solution of a different sort is available from HubCast Inc. It is offering an Open Commercial Print Utility that connects print providers (who pay to sign on) to a global network of digital and offset printers, enabling “distribute and print” workflows. The service includes technology and business services components. It requires participating shops to implement color management, press optimization and industry standards to ensure uniformity in printed results. HubCast facilitates the business end by requiring payment up front into an escrow account and by handling any disputes.
In contrast to past shows, CTP technology wasn’t a headliner this year. The former thermal vs. violet war of true believers has settled into acceptance of each imaging technology as a viable option. It was status quo on the chemistry-free/processesless plate front.
Agfa added the Avalon LF XT+ model to its platesetter lineup, providing a violet imaging solution for high-volume environments. It delivers 41 (B1-size) plates per hour and is offered in manual and automatic loading versions.