In this report. The following printers have begun to automate their production processes. (Post Falls. there are upgrades and bridges being developed to support your current production architecture. The first report. Practical implementation. Sure.com). we explained the competitive value of building a supply chain via JDF (to access either report. it reportedly ships more than two million copies of publications for distribution to customers in more than 35 states. however. the process toward CIM began at the press. Many pundits opined it was impractical to extend such capability across vendor lines. 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. we have started to see significant development on solutions using Job Definition Format (JDF) (see “JDF update” on p. 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. But you can actually begin to access many of the advantages of JDF today. Some existing software already boasts JDF support. has been slower to materialize. offers you the last of our threepart educational series on process automation. though. 42 | AMERICAN PRINTER | MAY 2004 . Welcome to our final process automation report AMERICAN PRINTER. In addition to the many new products incorporating JDF support.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. covered the basics of JDF. visit americanprinter. In the past year. together with NAPL and the CIP4 Organization. the number of available options promises to increase exponentially. ID) prints more than 300 different magazine titles a year— each month. with Drupa looming on the horizon. which appeared in March. Starting at the press Century Publishing. using what’s available now and planning around what will be available in the future. For this company. For printers interested in using JDF to streamline their production process. it purchased an RGS registration system from QuadTech (Sussex. Inc. In 1997. but automation beyond that level remained largely in the domain of proprietary system integration. Last month. WI). newer presses and prepress equipment implemented Print Production Format (PPF) ink-key presetting. 45). a key cornerstone to process automation.

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

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. The of the job. to 160 impressions. just from the auClient files.printers share a common value of continuous activated coaters. and our rather than generating the data tapes. expansion is a bonus.” K & D Graphics (Orange. approximately one percent. 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. the commercial and packag. Contact him ability to connect all of its prepress. though. specializing in the application of electronic when combined. “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. Rather. CA) through the data tape. little as 24 hours. GA) 40-inch Speedmas.” 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. all settings can be stored [possibility for] future automation on the PC for reorders.2 million. K & D uses hand$50. 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. 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. Prinect Printready generates a tape containing the ink profiles for the job. “It’s something we will conSeveral years ago. A second CD 102 joined it two process improvement in their business but also years ago. Commands are production needs.000 in investments and training.ProcessAutomation into the saddlestitching system by the operator or MIS—is setting the stage for potential future directly downloaded from prepress or manageprocess automation. at rors. are converted for processprocess automation.” The entire project cost about Currently. See what steps tomatic setting of ink keys. often handed directly processes. we went into ment information system (MIS) via the CIP3 Prinect Printready just to handle our prepress Print Production Format (PPF). At the end work that goes on our presses. Perhaps most importantly. (Danbury. ity. To achieve While prepress currently isn’t linked to K & that. K & D brought in its benefits are in the graphic-arts industry’s fuHeidelberg’s (Kennesaw. primarily from setups and eron disk.” he explains. As these companies demonstrate. ManageProofs are output on either a ment has further been able to elimiKodak Approval or the Designjet. Prinect investment—whose various modules. press and postpress systems with each other and with their at david@zwang. “It’s just a matter of connecting the employee company. “We’re a relatively small company.Neidhart+Schön AG (Zurich.com. staff simply invision of integrating its busiies dropped from 24 minutes to 12 puts the original project’s job ness and production minutes. Finally. “At first. written job tickets and manually The increased automation has re. along with a went out and purchased all-new JDF-compliant Heidelberg Topsetter PF102 thermal platesetter equipment. sales-per-employee ratio is fairly high. Once Connecting the workflow a project is put on press. Chew says Heidelberg’s tion of all the production steps. went from 31⁄2 percent down to ing in a PDF workflow. and from 240 impressions number to pull up relevant data). workflow.com.” he says.” explains vice other Prinect pieces will make this sort of automapresident Gus Chew of the $8. process automation can start today.ture. reportedly offer printers the technology to the graphic-arts industry. Overall this printer has taken toward to one of K & D’s two salespeople waste. we focus on computerization and automaD’s finishing equipment. they worked with what they and HP Designjet 5500 large-format printer for had through upgrades and bridge solutions. operators load the inkOperating on the motto of “Automation with a key settings onto the CP2000 press console Personal Touch. the ink-key settings.sider at Drupa. americanprinter. CT). nate or reassign five staff positions. This investment cost about $500. These ter CD 102 press with double inline aqueous/UV. 45tion possible. last year. experienced significant ROI on its process-autoChew says jobs at K & D tend to be highquality and high-demand. each printer has proofing.000. with turnaround of as mation efforts. At the same time. the David Zwang is president of Zwang & Co. According to the exec. Once clients approve the proof. Process automation in Europe 44 | AMERICAN PRINTER | MAY 2004 . while JDF and Three and a half years ago.

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

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

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

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

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