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IPA Appoints HIFLEX as MIS Provider for JDF Roundup

Press release from the issuing company

ASHLAND, NY -- HIFLEX was chosen as the Management Information System (MIS) to provide JDF testing files at the International Prepress Association's (IPA) annual conference, held June 8-12 at the Intercontinental O'Hare Hotel in Chicago, IL.

JDF testing is new to the IPA who has built their reputation on open and unbiased testing or "shoot-outs" as they are called, in the areas of proofing, ripping and prepress systems.

Gary E. Marron, HIFLEX President & CEO commented "We are very pleased and honored that IPA approached us to provide JDF files from HIFLEX MIS for testing the leading vendors systems. We frankly integrate with their systems everyday but this test was unique in that the vendors were asked to consume our JDF files "cold" with the objective to test JDF in an unrehearsed fashion. We commend IPA for putting this program together and feel that this will be an important part of their future role as an industry organization."

"Automation of workflow processes is a critical component to graphic service providers' ability to effectively compete in this challenging economic environment," noted Steve Bonoff, IPA president. "As one of IPA's valued supplier partners, we thank HIFLEX for their important supporting role in the IPA JDF Roundup, IPA's examination of JDF system capabilities, conducted during the 2009 IPA Technical Conference."

JDF or 'Job Definition Format' provides an opportunity for efficiencies through process automation and automated set-ups and make-readies using data from MIS derived directly from the estimate. JMF or 'Job Messaging Format' a subset of JDF, also provides a mechanism to communicate between systems for highly accurate and detailed feedback for costing and identification of bottlenecks. This series of tests demonstrated successful implementations of JDF technology and identified the real-world status of JDF integration. Tests included an examination of the Management Information System (MIS) to prepress Interoperability Conformance Specification (ICS), MIS to conventional press ICS, and the LayCrimp ICS. These tests helped identify the strengths and opportunities for improvement and implementation of various JDF enabled solutions.

Scott Marienthal, Central Region Sales Manager for HIFLEX provided on-site support for the JDF testing. Vendors who participated in the roundup were Agfa Corporation, Kodak, Dalim and Fuji.

The contest was structured so that each participant would receive a JDF file freshly generated by the HIFLEX MIS 'Office' Estimation Module, simulating live production of a printing company utilizing HIFLEX MIS. Each vendor participant consumed the HIFLEX generated JDF file and was tested on the features of their software. In short, IPA tested the demonstrated functionality of the vendors and what each software did with the JDF file.

Professor Abhay Sharma of Ryerson University in Toronto, and a member of the CIP4 Advisory Board, facilitated the testing and commented:  "In planning the IPA JDF RoundUP, I consulted the CIP4 JDF Integration Matrix at www.cip4.org/matrix. The matrix is a table that illustrates the pairing that various vendors have developed between their products and other vendors. The company with the largest number of Customer Confirmed pairs in the matrix is HIFLEX MIS. The HIFLEX system has a wide range of functionality and even includes an iPhone view into their system, so that the plant manager can access the database from his/her working lunch! Another reason for the choice of HIFLEX is certification as a manager according to the MIS to Prepress ICS. After a product has been verified against the relevant ICS, this ensures that the product produces a valid, well-formed JDF file and can be used to freely communicate information between systems. For extra insurance, I checked the files myself in the JDF Editor, and also imported the job into Adobe Acrobat 9. There is a lot of finger pointing in JDF, and I needed to make sure the fingers were not pointing at me – so I decided to use the HIFLEX MIS system."

Jim Harvey, Executive Director of the CIP4 Organization, commented on the results of the Roundup:  "This was a truly and totally blind exchange of files and everyone at Agfa, Dalim, FujiFilm, HIFLEX, and Kodak should be commended not just for their effort, but also for their fortitude in conducting a test with so many potential pitfalls and in such a public setting. In the end, I think everyone involved learned much about how each other's products work, but were also pleased with the results. It's plain that each of these systems can communicate via JDF, with no smoke or mirrors. I think that the JDF Roundup demonstrated for all IPA Technical Conference attendees that JDF-enabled automation isn't magic, but the result of picking good tools for modern printing production and putting some thought into how to organized work for the most productive operations possible."