There were more than 90 CIP4 members at Drupa demonstrating JDF-enabled print automation.
MIS developer DIMS had one of the most unique demonstration sites, with eight linked workstations, each for a different system. Systems included simulators of a Heidelberg Speedmaster, Manroland Rotoman, MBO folder, and a Muller Martini stitcher, as well as software such as Agfa Apogee, Kodak Prinergy, and Manroland Press Manager.
Gerard Marneth, executive vice-president of operations at DIMS, said: “We are able to run a complete job, end-to-end, starting with DIMS estimating and AutoImpose and running through the pre-press workflow into full production, with paper warehousing, internal logistics, production management and shipping.
Kodak was showing Prinergy 6 at the show. The vendor’s Jon Bracken said: “It extends the Prinergy workflow into planning and accepts JDF intent, matches it to the production database, and creates process JDF. We are automating more and more of the process. The future of print is hybrid production, where printers will have both conventional and digital printing and we are showing that live at the both with the Prosper 5000 and the Nexpress 3900.”
Enfocus, now part of Esko, generated a buzz of its own by introducing ‘Smart Preflighting’ with Pitstop Server 11, Pitstop Pro 11 and Switch 11.
Andrew Bailes-Collins, senior product manager at Enfocus, said: “You cannot talk to printers about what JDF does, you have to show it to them. If they have a JDF-enabled MIS and Pitstop Server, they can use JDF information to drive preflight checking automatically.
Drupa attendees could get a glimpse of the future at the Ricoh booth. The manufacturer’s innovations division was running future technology demonstrations, including demonstrating its ‘Clickable Paper’. Unlike QR codes, which contain a representation of a URL, the idea behind Clickable Paper is that the visual pattern created by type and images in an area of a printed piece of paper can be linked to a variety of URLs and digital media.
Simon Tapley, workflow solutions manager for Ricoh Europe, said: “The user just needs the Clickable Paper application on a smartphone or tablet, and when they scan a printed piece, they may find that there are numerous Clickable Paper codes on the paper. The producer highlights a section of the layout for the page, uses Ricoh software to create the links and associations to digital media, and then uploads the image and the links to a Ricoh server that answers scans from consumer apps.”
What does this have to do with JDF and print automation? Ricoh is still working on its business model, but it is apparent that the workflow will include printers and pre-press services.
Canadian developer Ultimate Technographics co-located with Xerox and HP at Drupa, while its products featured on booths by Muller Martini, where it integrated with the SigmaLine product, Horizon, Lasermax Roll Systems, where it was integrated with PageReady controller, Plockmatic and CP Bourg.
Julie Watson, vice-president of strategic marketing, said she was “pleasantly surprised” to hear that international think thank Infotrends had identified JDF-enabled post-press connectivity as a hot topic at Drupa.
JDF all the way into finishing has long been the Promised Land for print automation. Bobst was showing innovations in packaging automation, including a JDF-enabled MIS that takes in packaging design CAD files and JDF job information from Esko Automation Engine. Packway extracts job parameters both directly from the CAD files and the JDF information; a customer service rep can then add job scheduling and planning information.
In Bobst’s demo, the job hit a job cue and the operator only needed to hit a ‘play button’ once the substrate was loaded into a Bobst Masterfold 110 folder-gluer machine. The Masterfold used the parameters supplied in JDF by Packway to automatically set-up the machine, including gluing lines, belts and substrate guide.
The Masterfold communicated job data by way of Bobst’s Open Interface Module back to the Packway MIS using JMF after the job was complete. This included production data as well as information on start and stop times, operators and other management information. Bobst has created apps that allow managers to monitor job status from anywhere on smartphones and tablets - these apps can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store.
Bobst provides its own cloud service where job status information is gathered and made available to Bobst users. This includes real-time data that can also be used to analyse machine
James E Harvey is executive director of the CIP4 organisation.