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Inc. Many pundits opined it was impractical to extend such capability across vendor lines.ProcessAutomation By David Zwang process automation Real-world examples of an incremental approach to JDF A progress report on T he utopia of process automation and computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) in the graphic arts has been around since before the creation of CIP3 in 1995. which appeared in March. offers you the last of our threepart educational series on process automation. WI). The following printers have begun to automate their production processes. covered the basics of JDF. Practical implementation. with Drupa looming on the horizon. we explained the competitive value of building a supply chain via JDF (to access either report. together with NAPL and the CIP4 Organization. it purchased an RGS registration system from QuadTech (Sussex. In addition to the many new products incorporating JDF a key cornerstone to process automation. ID) prints more than 300 different magazine titles a year— each month. we have started to see significant development on solutions using Job Definition Format (JDF) (see “JDF update” on p. Some existing software already boasts JDF support. Starting at the press Century Publishing. (Post Falls. The first report. Sure. using what’s available now and planning around what will be available in the future. In the past year. For this company. has been slower to materialize. though. newer presses and prepress equipment implemented Print Production Format (PPF) ink-key presetting. there are upgrades and bridges being developed to support your current production architecture. For printers interested in using JDF to streamline their production process. Last month. Welcome to our final process automation report AMERICAN PRINTER. however. but automation beyond that level remained largely in the domain of proprietary system integration. visit americanprinter. the number of available options promises to increase exponentially. 42 | AMERICAN PRINTER | MAY 2004 . In 1997. the process toward CIM began at the press. 45). find out about process automation in the real world: These real-life examples from printers that have automated their production will hopefully give you a framework for automating your own facility. it reportedly ships more than two million copies of publications for distribution to customers in more than 35 states. Using JDF today Some naysayers’ skepticism is fueled by the belief that to take advantage of the benefits of JDF requires a significant capital expense in upgrading all of a printer’s hardware and software. But you can actually begin to access many of the advantages of JDF today. In this report.

The company also put in new controllable fountains on the press and then the GMI ColorQuick closed-loop color-control system. In March 2003. the company purchased a Prima AMRYS (Automatic MakeReadY System) saddlestitcher from Muller Martini (Hauppauge. Upgrades and bridges At the heart of plant operations for Action Printing (Fond du Lac. which allows the cutter parameters to be automatically set from job data generated at prepress. catalogs. After seeing a demonstration at Graph Expo 2002. but actual ROI was reached at 10 months. Action Printing then upgraded its existing Polar cutter with the JDF-compliant CompuCut option. CA). Finally. Action Printing execs later researched and purchased more JDF-compliant computer bridges and machine upgrades to drive the company’s legacy production equipment. Microcolor reportedly can store ink-key data on an unlimited number of jobs. Century Publishing assumed a breakeven on its investments in 131⁄2 months. all attendant information then goes to prepress. Century Publishing then retrofitted an existing press with a Microcolor II digital computer ink-key control system from Graphics Microsystems. a printer of directories. is a continuous-improvement philosophy. This reportedly allowed the free flow of data from prepress to press. Action Printing installed the Creo UpFront jobengineering and layout software in early 2003.] Customer service representatives were trained to use UpFront in job planning: From a stored database. NY). allowing repeat jobs to be recalled and presses to be brought up to color quickly.for automated press registration. MA) acquired UpFront and the Preps imposition software from ScenicSoft. AMRYS allows job parameters to be entered Circle 122 or visit freeproductinfo. the printer began feeding its Komori press with ink-key-setting data from its Rampage prepress workflow. publications and books. According to pressroom manager Rick Danskey. but GMI later integrated Century Publishing’s Brisque prepress workflow directly into its press color-control system in the spring of 2002. (GMI) (Sunnyvale. [Creo (Billerica. WI). they select the appropriate imposition template for each job. Data for the system initially came from a Tobias plate scanner. outfitting a new Heidelberg M110 web press with ink-key presetting and registration. manuals. MAY 2004 | AMERICAN PRINTER | 43 . The company has already planned the next step toward its process-automation goal.

keys in prepress details into the portedly already made a difference for Switzerland) has pursued a Printready system for possible reAction Printing: Average makereadorders (on reorders. See what steps tomatic setting of ink keys. primarily from setups and eron disk. approximately one percent. last year.” explains vice other Prinect pieces will make this sort of automapresident Gus Chew of the $8. As these companies demonstrate. Perhaps most importantly.000 in investments and training.” The entire project cost about Currently. Overall this printer has taken toward to one of K & D’s two salespeople waste. americanprinter. Rather. often handed directly processes. the David Zwang is president of Zwang & Co. Finally. The of the job. each printer has proofing. ManageProofs are output on either a ment has further been able to elimiKodak Approval or the Designjet. all settings can be stored [possibility for] future automation on the PC for reorders. ity. To achieve While prepress currently isn’t linked to K & that. workflow. K & D brought in its benefits are in the graphic-arts industry’s fuHeidelberg’s (Kennesaw. At the same time. A second CD 102 joined it two process improvement in their business but also years ago. we focus on computerization and automaD’s finishing equipment.ProcessAutomation into the saddlestitching system by the operator or MIS—is setting the stage for potential future directly downloaded from prepress or manageprocess automation.2 million. (Danbury. while JDF and Three and a half years ago. are converted for processprocess automation. though. sales-per-employee ratio is fairly high. and our rather than generating the data tapes.” K & D Graphics (Orange.” he explains. Commands are production needs. Prinect investment—whose various modules. “It’s just a matter of connecting the employee company. At the end work that goes on our presses. “At first. Once Connecting the workflow a project is put on press.” ing printer transitioned from a conventional film workflow to the Heidelberg Delta prepress system Working with what they have feeding another vendor’s platesetting device. reportedly offer printers the technology to the graphic-arts industry. K & D uses hand$50. specializing in the application of electronic when combined. along with a went out and purchased all-new JDF-compliant Heidelberg Topsetter PF102 thermal platesetter equipment. “It’s something we will conSeveral years ago.sider at Drupa.ture. Chew says Heidelberg’s tion of all the production steps. written job tickets and manually The increased automation has re. These ter CD 102 press with double inline aqueous/UV.” he says. “We needed a sent to a network of more than 50 servo motors highly automated prepress management system that precisely achieve the required that could handle the amount of settings for each project. GA) 40-inch Speedmas. the commercial and packag.000. nate or reassign five staff positions. “We’re a relatively small company. operators load the inkOperating on the motto of “Automation with a key settings onto the CP2000 press console Personal Touch. and from 240 impressions number to pull up relevant data). This investment cost about $500. just from the auClient files. the ink-key settings. press and postpress systems with each other and with their at david@zwang. Once clients approve the proof. at rors. they worked with what they and HP Designjet 5500 large-format printer for had through upgrades and bridge solutions. Process automation in Europe 44 | AMERICAN PRINTER | MAY 2004 .printers share a common value of continuous activated coaters. CA) through the data tape. According to the exec. Contact him ability to connect all of its prepress. staff simply invision of integrating its busiies dropped from 24 minutes to 12 puts the original project’s job ness and production minutes. the job is imNext on the agenda are a new JDF-compliant posed through the Prinect Signa Station imposifolder and increasing press automation beyond tion tool and a plate is output on the Topsetter. K & D has the option of stays abreast of the latest in technology to be able later upgrading its current workflow to an electo produce jobs efficiently and with higher qualtronic link for ink-key presetting on the press. little as 24 hours. expansion is a bonus. went from 31⁄2 percent down to ing in a PDF Prinect Printready generates a tape containing the ink profiles for the job. the company installed took the practical approach of incremental impleHeidelberg’s Prinect Printready Systems L102 mentation: None of the companies mentioned digital prepress workflow system. process automation can start today. to 160 impressions. CT). with turnaround of as mation efforts. we went into ment information system (MIS) via the CIP3 Prinect Printready just to handle our prepress Print Production Format (PPF). experienced significant ROI on its process-autoChew says jobs at K & D tend to be highquality and high-demand.Neidhart+Schön AG (Zurich. 45tion

in partnership with Deutsche Telecom and Cisco Systems. JDF to dominate Drupa JDF is real—it will have a significant impact on the printing industry.) The vendors. 2003 3—Dec. operated by CIP4 and partially funded by show organizer Messe Düsseldorf. as we will soon see at Drupa. Press and Postpress (CIP4). of products No. 1 JDF InterOp test results 93 Number 80 60 40 20 Pairs successful Pairs tested No.) PrintCity. of companies 42 23 29 16 80 66 76 42 31 24 16 18 9 5 17 0 1—May 2003 2—Sept. a joint initiative of vendors for the graphicarts industry founded in 1995. 2004 InterOp event number/date CIP4’s interoperability tests are paving the way for smooth communication between different vendors’ MAY 2004 | AMERICAN PRINTER | 45 . 2003 4—Feb. consultants and end users that comprise CIP4 are working together to help the printing industry achieve unprecedented process automation. (CIP4 is the successor of CIP3. The JDF Parc will feature 21 vendors in 18 “pods. not to mention the high level of intervendor cooperation.By Margaret Motamed A JDF update Drupa demonstrations will showcase interoperability progress I n 1999. Visitors to the show’s JDF Parc. extending throughout the entire fairgrounds. the four vendors responsible for initial JDF development transferred these activities to the Integration of Processes in Prepress. an international standards body located in Switzerland. will observe firsthand the momentum that has grown over the last year. a consortium of more than 40 graphic-arts vendors—many of whom are CIP4 members—has itself joined CIP4 and will be actively Fig. Circle 123 or visit freeproductinfo. (Messe Düsseldorf. has installed Europe’s largest wireless network.” Many other vendors will be participating in the live demonstrations from their own stands.

computer system to another. Currently.” the tests ful test pairings in the past few months. might generate JDF as an input to EFI’s OneFlow. JDF is “multilingual”—export stripping for multiple prepress vendor workflows. and creates an output. as input/output relationships. CIP4 is further dewhich in turn inputs to a Heidelberg press for developing and improving the JDF job ticket and the vice setup.” manually rekeying the output from one is delivered as an input to yet another product. consuming and managing prepress processes. Intent JDF compared to estimate. testing JDF Parc demonstrates increased interoperability Company Adobe Agfa Creo Dainippon Screen Dalim EFI No. Dubbed “InterOps. errors Adobe’s Digital Intent (workflow). we’ve seen a dramatic growth both in the In May 2003. Send JDF to prepress. CIP4 reviewed participating within their own product suites. creating new job for quotation and new prepress job. stripping. This example represents three formance specifications are complete. Create job in MIS. which gration. Cross-department integration—export cutting and folding for postpress. of pairings 8 4 3 2 1 12 Top JDF features JDF intent created by Adobe applications consumed by management and production systems Consuming JDF intents. including JMF status feedback Bidirectional data flow and integration JDF issued from job-submittal application. Using InterOps test results. Acceptance of JDF from imposition design tools. Consuming JDF intents. paper and ink be tested for JDF conformance. Although many vendors offer integration Prior to the tests.ProcessAutomation participating in both specification development and the JDF demonstrations. pairings: creative paired with workflow. Bi-directional information recorded into MIS Job ticket Information recorded in MIS Job creation in MIS sent to production planning and also conventional printing device. The Heidelberg press might then output specification itself. status updates. JMF status return to MIS and JDF delivery to device for setup/print Embedding a job ticket in a PDF Job creation. and so on.number of vendor participants as well as successteroperability tests. JDF promises to vendors’ applications and paired products tohave the greatest impact communicating informagether. CIP4 is also building a set of information in the standard’s job messaging format Interoperability Conformance Specifications (ICS) (JMF) to EFI’s Hagen OA MIS. to ensure autodefining the minimal levels to which products will matic data capture for runtime. CIP4 conducted the first of four in. Inevitably. print workflow. including receiving JDF intent from job submission. processing JDF instructions upon the job content. As the accompanying InterOps chart indicates Interoperability testing results (Fig. with live interhelp pave the way for seamless communication operability demonstrations. Visitors to are open to any CIP4 member and ultimately will the JDF Parc will see 43 pairings. Once these conusage. Product pairings were created based on tion in multivendor environments. JDF accepted into prepress workflow. Enfocus Esko-Graphics Global Graphics Software Heidelberg LithoTechnics MAN Roland Océ Optimus Tharstern Vio Worldwide 3 6 5 6 7 3 1 8 4 8 46 | AMERICAN PRINTER | MAY 2004 . 1). each product accepts an input from shop operators often resort to “swivel chair intesome other product. Receive JMF status feedback. JDF interface End-to-end JDF integration. In a graphic-arts jobs move through the production process. approval Acceptance of JDF from workflow management tools MIS to production system integration. (and attendant time delays) result. workflow paired with a press and a press paired with an MIS. between different vendors’ products. for example. End-to-end automated and remotely managed workflow solutions.

increase customer satisfaction and ensure that print remains a viable communications option. In the coming months. CA). the market will expect JDF enablement as a standard part of product offerings in the graphic-arts industry. we expect to see more printers making buying decisions that are fully or partially based on the availability of JDF support. We anticipate handing off the testing to GATF in the latter half of 2004. (These discussions are already underway. a provider of digital imaging and printmanagement systems. and also serves as chief marketing officer for the CIP4 Organization. It may help printers recapture work that has migrated to electronic delivery. As JDF development proceeds. Beyond Drupa After Drupa. Underlying the JDF initiative and the efforts of CIP4 and its members is the need for the industry to serve a broader set of customer MAY 2004 | AMERICAN PRINTER | 47 . We have had excellent cooperation and are pleased with the level of commitment that all CIP4 members are putting into making JDF interoperability a reality.) In November 2003. but it will ultimately transfer the certification process to independent agencies. many products will be released with JDF support.ProcessAutomation organizations can use the ICS in a formal. Circle 124 or visit freeproductinfo. Some print providers have already either engaged consultants or trained their staff to build JDF-enabled solutions for better information gathering within their shops. PA) is our first North American independent testing partner. Printers will clearly see the value of converting existing solutions to JDF and begin demanding end-to-end connected solutions in a multivendor environment. All NGP members are now actively participating in the process. JDF can boost productivity and reduce costs while enabling a print service provider to become a provider of multichannel communications services. independent process capable of testing a larger volume of products than the InterOp process can accommodate. Based upon what we learn from that process. CIP4 will continue with InterOp tests. and before we know it. GATF (Sewickley. NGP (Networked Graphic Production) agreed that all of its members would also become CIP4 members. We expect to see a critical mass develop that will turn the tide. Margaret Motamed is director of product planning and design for EFI (Foster City. we will then engage testing partners in other parts of the world. Drupa will inspire others to follow their lead. or plans for future support.

You achieve outstanding results while barely having to lift a finger. GA 30144-7028 888-472-9655 • www. Inc. • 1000 Gutenberg Drive NW • Kennesaw.drupa 2004 Dusseldorf. Prinect integrates every step of the production process – from prepress to press to postpress – and simultaneously feeds information back to management. Heidelberg USA. Prinect offers precise. carefully But only one – we promise. the very best results from your press – thanks to an integrated digital workflow.heidelberg. thought-out. Hall 1 + 2 To be .com • info@heidelberg. you have Prinect from Heidelberg is a software suite that operates virtually at the press of a button. This enables you to get to lift a finger now and again. modular software solutions that deliver maximum flexibility and can be scaled to suit your needs. Germany 6th – 19th May. The benefits? Greater speed. efficiency and reliability. The open architecture also ensures the greatest possible security for your investment.