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Xerox Unveils First Freeflow Product For Print Providers

Press release from the issuing company

NEW YORK, March 8, 2004 – Advancing its vision of a streamlined connection between printing applications and printing systems, Xerox Corporation today unveiled the first workflow software product, under the FreeFlow Digital Workflow Collection?, that enables print providers to manage both digital and offset jobs with a single interface. In addition, the company revealed workflow enhancements for three current software products. “The new Xerox FreeFlow? Print Manager will truly make hybrid workflows a reality in commercial and digital print provider environments, simplifying the way print industry professionals work and vastly improving production times,” said Michael Kucharski, vice president and general manager, Workflow Business Team, Xerox Production Systems Group. “Now, with a few keystrokes, a production manager can choose to have a job printed on a digital device for short runs, such as proofing, reprinting or doing customized versions, or choose to use an offset press for long runs where it makes sense economically. Both presses can be fed from the same workflow system.” The FreeFlow Digital Workflow Collection is part of the company’s strategic initiative to help printing professionals reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and increase revenues by optimizing existing workflows for digital printing. Based on an open architecture and industry standards, such as Job Definition Format, Xerox is automating workflow and enabling a common set of electronic instructions to direct a job from creation and ordering to fulfillment and distribution. The strategy was first announced here at the AIIM/On Demand Expo and Conference last year. Beginning April 30, the Xerox FreeFlow Print Manager will be available as an option in the 2.20 release of Creo Inc.’s Prinergy? workflow management system, which is widely used by commercial printers to manage offset prepress and print workflows. It is the first true integration of offset and digital, allowing printers to manage entire print jobs from a common workflow. Currently the process for printing on a digital press typically requires the press operator to key in job ticket information right at the digital device. With the FreeFlow Print Manager integrated in Prinergy, an operator can view and enter detailed Xerox job ticket information such as stock selection, finishing options, image shifting, color adjustments, and special page exceptions and insertions from within the Prinergy system. The result? The press operator has a single interface to both digital and offset presses and can direct jobs to the most efficient press for the job, resulting in a more economical and efficient operation. The solution enables print shops that already have both offset equipment and the Creo Prinergy workflow solution to integrate with Xerox’s DocuColor or DocuTech digital presses controlled by the Creo Spire? color server or Xerox’s DocuSP digital front ends. And it will provide an easy pathway for printers that have only offset but want to take advantage of the short runs, quick turnaround and variable information printing capabilities of digital equipment. Upgrades support workflow Incorporating the FreeFlow Print Manager within Prinergy demonstrates Xerox’s commitment to products that are open, scalable, modular and leverage customers’ existing workflow environments. Three new product upgrades from the FreeFlow collection unveiled today at the AIIM/On Demand Expo also fit that strategy. They are: - DigiPath 4.1 Professional Production Software. This leading workflow for the print-on-demand industry has thousands of installations worldwide. With the newest version, customers can send a Microsoft Office document to DigiPath, where it is converted to a PDF document and readied for printing, making it easer for job submission over the Web. This capability enables a customer to submit a document for printing from anywhere in the world from a Web browser. - Output management. In its latest version of Enterprise Output Management Services software, Xerox has added a Document Enhance feature that enables customers to add value to existing applications without expensive IT programming skills. There are numerous ways this capability can be used, for example, instead of printing a Postscript and AFP application separately on their respective devices and then consolidating them, with EOMS they can be merged into one document quickly and easily. Even a black-and-white image or text within a document can be changed to color within a matter of minutes. - DocuSP 3.8 Printer Controller. It now supports PPML GA 2.0 (open standard Personalized Print Markup Language) for variable data printing, improves color image quality, and speeds up job processing by taking better advantage of the workstation’s multitasking capabilities. A common controller for Xerox’s color and black-and-white production-level printers, DocuSP is operating in some 20,000 locations. Xerox’s FreeFlow Digital Workflow Collection components are sold through the Xerox direct sales force, agents, resellers and concessionaires. Pricing and availability varies by product and geography.