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Esko-Graphics demonstrates JDF-enabled capabilities at Graphics of the Americas

Press release from the issuing company

Gent (Belgium), January 2005 - At Graphics of the Americas, Esko-Graphics, the world leader in pre-production tools for the packaging industry and commercial printing, and a resolute proponent of open, standard systems, will demonstrate extensive JDF compatibility on its booth. As an active member of CIP4, Esko-Graphics recognized the value of JDF in its early days and has invested considerably in the integration of JDF capabilities into Scope, Esko-Graphics’ end-to-end supply chain management workflow. JDF, or the "Job Definition Format”, is a standard for process automation in the graphic arts that is built as an XML Schema (an open and widely supported standard for data interchange). JDF provides and standardizes language for collecting and preserving data about a print job throughout its lifecycle. It includes a command and control language that allows workflow or Management Information Systems (MIS) systems to drive individual devices on the shop floor. It also provides a methodology for automating business and production workflows. What makes JDF exciting for prepress are the opportunities for integration with MIS systems. Not all suppliers in the industry are capable of linking the tools of the trade with management information systems, digital asset management systems, accounting systems and desktop applications into one complete and comprehensive tool kit. MIS typically has an abundance of relevant pre-production information, ranging from simple administrative details (job and customer name) – but can extend much further, for example, with imposition data (number of sheets, folding schemes, inks, etc.). Conversely, prepress software can provide MIS with job status information used for job tracking and cost calculations. The biggest benefit comes from avoiding repetitive work and manual re-entry of job data. This seems insignificant when considering automatic job creation in prepress, but is enormous when prepress can automatically create an imposition based solely on MIS data. JDF “in Scope” “Esko-Graphics recognizes the importance of system connectivity to components supplied by third parties.” states Aleks Zlatic, Area Sales Manager Latin-America. “Customers depend on this capability to implement complete end-to-end workflows, where various software and hardware products are driven by centrally managed job and process parameters. Specification, design, production and distribution are all collaborative processes. By offering growth paths with connectivity to other systems, vendors can open up opportunities for each step in the process chain.” Esko-Graphics’ new Scope workflow solutions promote horizontal synergies and intense interaction between multiple collaborating partners. Peripheral partners in the supply chain – print buyers, brand and product managers, account managers, financial controllers and operations supervisors – can tap into Scope’s databases and processing resources through easy-to-use, easy-to configure web interfaces, or through standardized JDF and XML links with ERP, plant management or other business systems. A number of Scope components have very specific, JDF-enabled capabilities for package and commercial printers. With Scope’s BackStage 2.0 workflow server, any server task can be initiated from a JDF ticket. It is capable of accepting instructions that ‘pilot’ tasks to correctly process a job, and to remotely drive other software functions via JDF commands, sending instructions to other JDF-compatible software. BackStage also allows for job parameters to be defined upfront, reducing errors throughout subsequent job processing. In similar fashion, the new 6.0 version of FlowDrive, supports JDF connectivity. The new WebCenter 5.0 asset management and collaboration system provides a JDF handshake to compatible systems, and also can send job submission instructions to a BackStage server over JDF. BackStage, in turn, is capable of interpreting these JDF commands, and of sending instructions to other software applications on the network. Commercial printing benefits In a commercial printing environment, Scope links the traditional prepress functions with sales offices, the pressroom, the finishing and logistics department: the broad capabilities of JDF links are applied for job scheduling, remote viewing and approval, plateroom feedback, and many more. All production parameters are defined upon reception of the job, including the imposition. JDF is the ideal transportation vehicle to feed the Scope workflow with all the imposition details as defined in the MIS system. Esko-Graphics was instrumental in adding the JDF 1.2 specification to the “stripping” resource, a high-level imposition description. Many MIS suppliers are now implementing upscale added-value integration solutions based on this new JDF feature. Esko-Graphics estimates that the sharing of this information between MIS and production systems can save as much as 25% of costs associated with developing impositions. Esko-Graphics also uses JDF to assign files to pages on the basis of metadata. When the job creator passes this metadata along with graphic files, prepress can process that data more intelligently, by automating the creation of page lists. JDF is also used for page approvals. “There is a great deal of technical work Esko-Graphics has undertaken to assure its Scope workflow systems are JDF-enabled. It has required thorough knowledge of XML but, more important, a deep understanding of the printing process and variables that need to be delivered between systems to complete jobs. It’s why Esko-Graphics took the initiative to propose the imposition specification within JDF 1.2”, comments Hubert Scheir, Director of Marketing EMEALA at Esko-Graphics. “At the same time, saying that you are JDF enabled can only be appreciated when you are showing interoperability with other vendors. Esko-Graphics fully understands the value of partnering. It’s why, for example, Esko-Graphics has created a bidirectional JDF link between its workflow and RealTimeProof.”