Heidelberg: MetaDimension RIP Software Opens Up PDF-Based Workflows
Wednesday, May 09, 2001
05/07/01 - The new MetaDimension PDF workflow module from Heidelberg provides printers, trade shops and service bureaus with a cost effective gateway to PDF-based workflows. Open interfaces also facilitate integration into existing workflow systems. Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) will offer its new MetaDimension RIP (Raster Image Processor) and workflow software with plate- and filmsetters in the second half of this year. The regional availability, however, is depending on the distributor in each country. MetaDimension ensures that smaller printshops and service bureaus have a cost effective alternative for moving to Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) based workflows. MetaDimension combines an open system architecture with a modular design. This means the software can be integrated effortlessly into existing workflow environments from other suppliers. MetaDimension is built upon the Adobe Post-Script 3 printing and imaging technology and is a PDF renderer. It supports a pluthora of prepress and workflow features and tools within the Adobe printing platform. These include color management, proofing, trapping, page positioning, CIP 4 and OPI (Open Prepress Interface). Users also have access to a diverse range of Acrobat plug-ins and applications to ensure a high-productivity PDF workflow. The philosophy behind Meta Dimension is its modular flexibility. Using the Adobe Acrobat technology allows a new level of freedom with virtually unlimited access to additional options from Heidelberg and any plug-ins from third party developers. The new MegaDot Plus screening technology, now available for the first time in MetaDimension alongside existing screening methods, ensures high output quality. MegaDot Plus guarantees smooth color tones without rosettes without special requirements to the printing process. MetaDimension has already been prepared for the new JDF (Job Definition Format) industry standard. In the fall of this year, a version will be available which will be able to import and export screened TIFF data to control third party devices. ”In developing MetaDimension, Heidelberg has taken a further important step towards an open industry standard based on PDF and JDF which will allow an end-to-end workflow throughout the entire prepress sector”, states Thomas Doliwa, Head of Heidelberg’s Prepress Unit. The portal for easy entry into PDF MetaDimension is based on PDF and uses Adobe Portable Job Ticket Format (PJTF). Both PostScript (PostScript Level 1, Level 2, and 3) and PDF are supported as standard input formats. InRip features such as trapping, page position-ing and color management ensure a compact, automated workflow. An open, modular process can be constructed in conjunction with other Heidelberg products like the Acrobat plug-in Supertrap or the Signastation impositioning soft-ware. Signastation can not only imposition highly complex jobs in conjunction with PDF, job tickets and PostScript, but can also transfer all job data to downstream production stations using CIP 4 PPF (Print Production Format). This pro-vides a means for automating both ink zone presettings and cutter and folder settings which reduces setup times considerably. MetaDimension can be customized to the user’s needs and scaled as required. Software packages such as Preflow, consisting of Supertrap, PitStop Profes-sional and PitStop Server, for generating PDF data and the ROOM package for fans of the "Rip Once Output Many” concept are also available. Integration into existing Delta Technology or Prinergy workflow is made possible by the Delta-Flow option for adopting Delta lists into MetaDimension and the Autoflow option for automated transfer of job tickets and PDF files from Prinergy. MetaDimension can be operated from any PC or Mac in the network. Peter Segin, Product Manager for MetaDimension, is convinced of the advan-tages of the new software solution: "MetaDimension's open and modular architecture gives customers the reliability they need for their workflow. Customers do not need to invest in a new structure, but instead can continue using their exist-ing modules and operating procedures and can adapt MetaDimension to suit their needs. This is technology, which at long last provides customers with a cost-effective springboard to a full-featured PDF workflow.” Proofing in all its forms MetaDimension offers a whole range of proofing options. These include concept proofs on desktop printers, true-color page proofs with integrated color management, and true-color form proofs using e.g. the HP DesignJet family. Since MetaDimension outputs standard TIFF, virtually any proofer can be integrated into the workflow. The true-color softproof option supports customized resolu-tions and delivers highly accurate results on the monitor. Once the finished proof is in place, MetaDimension can automatically initiate im-aging to plate or film. Jobstream, a plug-in for the Adobe printer driver, increases reliability in production as early as the application workstation and before the data is output as composite PostScript. This ensures correctly performed InRIP separations and known problems can be corrected with composite PostScript data, which prevents errors in the output and could otherwise lead to costly and time-intensive reprints. MetaDimension’s bandwidth will range from the simple, cost-effective software RIP for small filmsetters to the large PDF workflow engine for a whole range of film- and platesetters. Better print quality without additional hardware Different screening methods are supported to ensure optimum print results. MetaDimension supports the familiar HQS (High Quality Screening), I.S. (Irra-tional Screening) and Diamond Screening. MetaDimension also supports the new MegaDot Plus, a line screen technology which generates smooth tones without rosette structures. This has previously only been possible with frequency-modulated screens. Unlike the latter, however, MegaDot does not place higher requirements on the print process and can therefore be used with ease at any time. All screens are calculated directly in the software without need for additional hardware. The first step to an open workflow Heidelberg's new workflow concept envisages a gradual merging of the existing Delta Technology, Prinergy and MetaDimension solutions over the long term. MetaDimension extends the range of workflow products offered by Heidelberg in the lower and medium price-performance sectors and will be the digital front end for new output devices. Delta Technology is and will be the base for ROOM-workflow even in conjunction with MetaDimension. Customers who have chosen Delta Technology in the past will continue to receive software updates, full service and support and can either integrate new output devices with MetaDimension into their existing installations or can change over to MetaDimension if they prefer. Prinergy continues to be the high-end PDF workflow system based on Adobe Extreme technology for everyone preferring a fully-automated, DB-based pattern of working. MetaDimension is the first step towards an open, modular PDF- and JDF-based workflow, which Heidelberg is developing not just for film-, platesetters and proofers, but in the longrun also for digital presses such as the Quickmaster DI, Speedmaster DI, Digimaster and Nexpress. Acrobat plug-ins and applications such as Supertrap and Signastation will continue to be extended. New modules for special tasks will be added. As a solution provider, Heidelberg is committed to more than simply developing these modules. It is also working on integrating other makes of products in order to satisfy the workflow requirements of its highly diverse customer base. Note The availability of MetaDimension could differ in every country. For detailed information please contact the local Heidelberg sales staff.