Ann Arbor, Michigan – January 11, 2007 – Xitron, the prepress industry's leading independent developer and integrator of Raster Image Processors, RIP management software and workflow solutions marks thirty years as a provider of leading edge products to the printing industry. Xitron will celebrate this milestone with promotions and events throughout 2007.
Begun in 1977 by Tom Hamilton, Xitron’s first products were interfaces that provided a direct link between proprietary editorial systems and high-speed phototypesetters, such as the Linotype 202, in newspapers. These interfaces were housed in a blue metal box and the name “Blue Box” became synonymous with the device. By the early ‘80’s, the ubiquitous Blue Box was a mainstay in newspapers all over the world.
The functionality was similar to a translator. The Blue Box received data streams from the front-end and performed a code conversion on-the-fly, changing the front-end language to the language understood by the output device. Many conversions were relatively simple, such as translating ASCII to TTS, the format commonly used by phototypesetters in the 1970s. But the interface also translated command codes, such as font and size changes, for the specific output device. A series of LEDs on the front panel confirmed data transmission.
Although this technology is considered rudimentary by today’s standards, in the late 70s, it was revolutionary, resulting in the first “open system” concepts that would eventually unlock the doors to desktop publishing.
"The Blue Box permitted newspapers to separate proprietary input and output systems,” stated Steve Phillips, Vice President, Hardware Engineering for Xitron and twenty-nine year Xitron veteran. “This meant they could choose the best combinations of speed and functionality among several vendors and combine them in a thoroughly unified production system.”
“From the company’s inception through the present day, Xitron has provided quality, innovative solutions to meet the needs of the printing industry,” stated Jim Thrush, President of Xitron. “Now our products are more focused on commercial printers than newspapers, and we provide complete RIP and workflow solutions in addition to our output device interfaces.”
“In fact, far from staying one-dimensional, Xitron has expanded from its original single interface to the ability to drive more than 256 different output devices,” added Jim. “Our offerings even include proofing paper and a new short run digital press. Every day, somewhere in the world, Xitron solutions are becoming part of many printers’ production systems.”
Xitron products are available through a network of OEMS, Distributors, Dealers, and System Integrators worldwide. Xitron RIPs and workflow solutions drive more than 256 output devices ranging from black and white and color proofers, to film imagesetters and the latest in CTP and direct-to-press systems. With shipments of more than 14,000 RIPs, Xitron is the largest independent provider of RIPs in the market. For more information about Xitron products, visit Xitron on the web at www.xitron.com.
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