Heidelberg supplies comprehensive software solutions for the integrated print and media house
Saturday, March 31, 2001
CeBIT 2001 - The networked printshop The print media industry is changing worldwide. In the age of e-business, the printshop milieu has changed, and demands are rising sharply. To ensure the industry’s continued success in the future, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) is supporting the graphic arts industry in reorganizing working processes, involving customers and suppliers to a greater extent than ever before, and integrating the full range of processes in a digital workflow. Today, around 28% of the average processing time for a print job is spent on the press itself, 23% is taken up with prepress and 24% with job administration work including costing. The remainder is spent on finishing operations, setup times and corrections. Market studies conducted by Heidelberg show that, in four years’ time, the continuous reduction in print run sizes in the commercial printing sector will mean that only 15% of total time is spent on the press itself. The prepress element will increase to 28% and the administration component to 29%. To maintain virtually the same sales and profit, a much higher number of orders therefore need to be produced faster than ever. This can only be achieved through massive rationalization in prepress and administration. Heidelberg has therefore developed software solutions which are specially tailored to the needs of the industry. To ensure that the increasingly end-to-end process chain is as efficient as possible, a whole series of new, detailed solutions and software tools are required. Industry standards need to be set and interfaces defined in order that isolated solutions can be replaced by fully integrated production and business processes. JDF standard interface growing in popularity Heidelberg was quick to identify this trend and its consequences and has already developed a number of products to support Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM). Using the modular Prinect product family and numerous CIP3 software solutions means that Heidelberg can now provide users with the most comprehensive range of products in the industry from a single source. Heidelberg has also worked in collaboration with Adobe, Agfa and MAN Roland to develop the Job Definition Format (JDF), the standard interface definition for the print media industry. Over the course of 2001, Heidelberg will be one of the first companies to bring JDF-based products onto the market. These solutions enable Heidelberg to increase the level of automation and cost-effectiveness of production process and thereby ensure the competitiveness and future of print media. Prinance - greater transparency in the printroom The Prinance management information system provides users with a means to integrate all phases of the production process on a business management level. The software bundles the information flow and makes the data available for business management analysis. Prinance supplies order-related data to the various applications involved in the process. Once the production process has been completed, Prinance is provided with information for post-costing and statistical analysis from other Heidelberg software products located along the prepress-press-postpress chain. "We need to get away from isolated solutions to ensure that our customers will still be able to count on high quality and profitability in the future and thereby remain competitive. Our goal is the networked printshop. Designing truly end-to-end, digital workflows opens up new opportunities for our customers. We have therefore made this our goal in our Research and Development activities," explains Technology Director Dr. Klaus Spiegel. Horizontal and vertical integration To Heidelberg, however, the "networked printshop" not only involves integrating internal process steps, but also linking up to customers and suppliers of cutting-edge print media companies. It is therefore important that everyone involved is speaking the same language — the Job Definition Format provides a good basis for this. The initiators of JDF transfer their authors' rights to the CIP4 Consortium headquartered in Switzerland, which has the task of the further developing the JDF. CIP4 is supported by 70 companies and stands for Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress. Example of an integrated workflow As pilot user for a wide range of software and networking solutions, the Thieme/Meissen printshop this year became a reference customer for Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG. The Prinance industry software and Prinergy PDF workflow software form the backbone of the networked printshop. Jetbase is used for archiving image and text data, while Signastation is used to impose print originals. The data package created at this stage also contains information for the next stages of the process. PrepressInterface, for example, receives CIP3 data from the prepress stage and forwards information on presettings to the printing presses and finishing units. The DataControl production and information system makes planning data available for production purposes and ensures that the print process is transparent and manageable. Thieme uses Compucut and FCS 100/Compufold for presetting and controlling the finishing operations. Using Heidelberg’s software solutions and networked processes has transformed the Thieme printshop into an integrated print and media house. "One of the key points is that the horizontal and vertical processes are networked, in other words the production process is intermeshed with business management control and monitoring," explains Ulrich Thieme from the Thieme printshop in Meissen.