Commentary & Analysis
GraphExpo 2004: CIM, JDF, and Digital Applications for Commercial Print
By Chuck Gehman At Graph Expo you will be able to see the benefits of real interoperability in demonstrations on the show floor,
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: October 4, 2004
By Chuck Gehman At Graph Expo you will be able to see the benefits of real interoperability in demonstrations on the show floor, between vendor partners, and even between companies who might be considered competitors. October 4, 2004 -- Why does the industry flock to Chicago every year? It's not because of the food at McCormick Place, (although it might be the Steaks on Rush Street!) It's primarily to learn about new technologies and how they can be used to make printing a more profitable business. This year, GraphExpo will not disappoint. State-of-the-art Automation Even if you went to the "JDF Drupa" this past May, you will definitely see advancements in Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) at the Chicago show. Pundits can be heard saying that printers went to Drupa earlier to investigate, and are coming to GraphExpo to buy. JDF will be everywhere at the show, and many vendors will have JDF-enabled products that can be purchased today. JDF enables CIM, and they are both about saving time and making people and businesses more productive. You will be able to see the benefits of real interoperability in demonstrations on the show floor, between vendor partners, and even between companies who might be considered competitors. Don't Miss Events and Programs Even if you make your first run at the show floor on Sunday, don't miss The Research and Engineering Council of the NAPL's Critical Trends in Printing Technology Breakfast. It's Monday morning at 7:30AM, right at McCormick, room #S100C. Industry experts will give you insight into what to look for in the following areas: Prepublishing and Workflow Trends Digital Smart Factory Digital Color Proofing Processless Printing Plates Digital Presses and Imaging Sheetfed Presses and Auxiliaries Web Presses and Auxiliaries Bindery Integration and Automation Fulfillment and Mailing Services Converting Trends and Issues Bill Lamparter's "Must See 'Ems" If you are only interested in a couple of these topics, it'll save you hours of time on the show floor. And the breakfast is still well worth blocking out the time to attend. It's also a charitable event, in that 50% of the profits from breakfast are contributed to the Print and Graphics Scholarship fund. Contact NAPL, www.napl.org. JDF Activities CIP4 (The International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress, aka www.cip4.org), the group that brings you JDF, is holding two fact-filled seminars at GraphExpo on Tuesday, October 8th. The seminars are open to all GraphExpo exhibition attendees at no additional charge. They will be held in Room N229, located in the North Building, Level 2, McCormick Place. The first, called "What is CIP4's JDF and how can it help my print workflow?" is targeted at printing company owners and managers wanting to make sense of all the hype around JDF. Not a bad idea! A panel of experts from leading industry companies will answer questions about JDF's practical benefits to workflow. This seminar will be held from 1:00pm to 3:50pm. Speakers include: John Sweeney (CIP4 Finance Officer, GMI), James Harvey (CIP4 Director, Media4theWorld, President), Margaret Motamed (CIP4 Marketing Officer, EFI Director of Product Planning), Tim Daisy (Creo), Jonathan Cape (Vio President), Albert Such (HP), Koen Van De Poel (Agfa), Christian Anschütz (Heidelberg), Gareth O'Brien (ObjectiveAdvantage, Inc. Vice President), Heiner Schilling, (MAN Roland), and Chris Ries (ScenicSoft). The second seminar is targeted at technical people who are developing JDF applications and features a technical panel and updates on the status of CIP4's JDF initiatives. Topics will include a summary of JDF 1.1 updates, and PPML with JDF support. This seminar will be held from 4:00 pm to 5:00pm. Speakers include: Rainer Prosi (CIP4 Chief Technical Officer, Heidelberg), Dave deBronkart (PODI), Doug Belkofer (EFI Senior Principal Scientist, Integration) and Tom Cabanski (ObjectiveAdvantage, President). Bring your technical questions for this panel. JDF Pavilion Transmission between unassociated pieces of equipment is just one aspect of the use of JDF that provides advantages to printing plants. This year, for the first time, GraphExpo is hosting a JDF Pavilion, similar to the highly successful JDF Parc at Drupa. There will be 18 stations, where attendees can actually see the exchange of complete information from one piece of equipment control software to another, thus enabling the equipment being controlled to instantly share complete information about the file and the entire print job, from quantity, to specification, to cost to delivery information. This transmission between unassociated pieces of equipment is just one aspect of the use of JDF that provides advantages to printing plants. At this writing, the JDF Pavilion has stations representing Adobe, Agfa, Creo, Dalim, EFI, Global Graphics, Group Logic, Heidelberg, LinoTechnics, Müller Martini, Prism, Screen, VIO and Wam!Net. JDF Tours In addition to the pavilion, there will be JDF-enabled solutions being shown in numerous booths across the show floor. "JDF Roadmaps" listing company locations and the JDF-enabled products that they are demonstrating will be available. CIP4 will also offer four free morning and afternoon JDF Show Floor Tours leaving from the JDF Pavilion, each with a specific focus and tour stops. GraphExpo attendees may register for the JDF Show Floor tours at: http://www.cip4.org/activities/graphexpo2004/tour_registration.php. Digital Printing Applications If you are a commercial printer getting started or expanding a digital operation, this is the show for you. A key area that continues to garner strong interest from commercial printers is Digital printing and On Demand technologies and applications. GraphExpo is the optimal venue to get an understanding for what Digital printing technologies are available, and specifically how they will fit into a traditional offset printing environment. There might be other shows and conferences that are better for "strictly digital" applications, but if you are a commercial printer getting started or expanding a digital operation, this is the show for you. You are going to want to see new machines like the Kodak Versamark running fully variable pages at 2000ppm. Variable Data Printing (VDP) applications will be everywhere. Check out machines from Xerox driven by EFI Fiery. Enovation's booth should be a key stop on your tour of the show, because they will be showing most of what a commercial printer needs for both offset and digital workflows in a single booth. Mailing and Fulfillment Value-added services have been the recipient of almost as much hype as CIM and JDF. What they have in common is an outstanding ability to boost a printing company's bottom line. Mailing and Fulfillment can also grow revenue, by helping to get more business from existing customers and attracting larger new accounts. There's a mailing and fulfillment center at the show that includes a theater with free sessions focused on topics like USPS regulations, ink jet addressing technology, data processing, "intelligent mail", "repositionable note technologies" and more. You'll find mailing and fulfillment technologies and software everywhere on the show floor. EFI at GraphExpo I would be remiss if I didn't mention what my company, EFI, will be showing at GraphExpo. In our booth, we'll demonstrate ways Computer Integrated Manufacturing can be applied to printing operations, from the smallest to the largest without wholesale replacement of existing capital investments. We'll be show new Fiery servers and technologies driving new digital output engines, and next-generation workflow technologies embodied in our new OneFlow 2.0 Workflow solution including new hybrid screening. You'll see state-of-the-art inkjet color proofing with the brand new EFI ColorProof XF products, new versions of our PrinterSite, Digital StoreFront and PrintSmith Site Internet applications (including new PDF generating drivers and web-enabled VDP solutions). Last but not least, you'll want to investigate the benefits of new versions of our venerable Hagen, Logic, PSI and PrintSmith Print MIS systems, as well as some new warehousing and mailing solutions that integrate with them. Summary GraphExpo promises to be as exciting and fun as it always is, and according to the show company, well attended, too. I don't have to remind you to wear comfortable shoes, and plan ahead to maximize your time. Compared to Drupa, GraphExpo should be a "walk in the park", but no less exciting!