The key to making any software automation scheme work is interoperability—if devices and files aren’t speaking the same language, it’s impossible to truly wring efficiency out of a workflow. The International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press, and Postpress Organization (CIP4) is devoted to change by bringing the job definition format (JDF) standard to the wide format marketplace.
“The issue we’re trying to address is that margins are challenged and companies are looking to squeeze costs out of their operations,” says Andrew Cuzner, CIP4 workgroup, Hewlett-Packet (HP). JDF can help by automating color management in pre and postpress. At SGIA in October 2010, HP announced that it would build JDF interoperability into its printers and launched a certification process—HP Certified for JDF—so that third party software and hardware manufacturers can demonstrate interoperability on the JDF standard.
The JDF file format contains a description of every stage of the print process, from creative, prepress, press, postpress, and delivery. In a system compatible with JDF, information can be exchanged between production systems and management information systems as well.
With the backing of a growing number of major industry players behind the effort to standardize around JDF, the broad adoption of the standard won’t take very long, given the moment and breadth of industry partners.
“JDF is not a topic that will become important in the future, JDF is happening right now,” explains Roland Campa, inkjet printing applications, EFI.
Others think the process will be somewhat more evolutionary than revolutionary. “We do see the industry moving toward JDF but the process will be gradual,” confesses Danielle Mattiussi, director, product portfolio and business development, ONYX Graphics, Inc. With a background in the offset world, Mattiussi has seen the power of JDF, but also some confusion with its implementation. “Ultimately we see it as a valuable way to enhance RIP-independent software tools, which is why we have supported HP’s certification effort.”
Read more about workflow software in the March 2011 issue of Digital Output.
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