RIP, workflow, and interface developer reflects on history while charting future contributions to printing industry
Ann Arbor, MI – Xitron, the leading independent developer of RIP and workflow products for commercial, digital, and high-speed inkjet printing has passed a milestone, now celebrating 40 years as a provider of prepress hardware and software to the printing industry. Xitron’s first products were “blue box” interfaces between newspaper editorial systems and high-speed laser imagesetters, first brought to market in 1977.
“Back then, our job was to provide technological independence to newspapers, allowing them to choose their editorial systems separately from their output systems,” said Karen Crews, President of Xitron. “As we mark our 40th year in the print industry, we continue to develop RIPs, workflow software, and hardware interfaces for commercial, newspaper, in-plant, flexo, screen printing, and high-speed digital output devices without binding our customers to any single vendor.”
Xitron’s business model has allowed them to place nearly 35,000 RIPs and over 20,000 CtP and imagesetter interfaces in printing companies on every continent. From Papua, New Guinea to Plainview, New York; Anchorage, Alaska to Cape Town, South Africa; Xitron continues to drive almost every output device used in print production today.
“This achievement really speaks to Xitron’s commitment of independence when it comes to a user’s prepress choices,” said Gary Fry, CEO of Global Graphics, authors of the Harlequin RIP. “Xitron has been a development partner since 1992, and, coincidentally, our anniversary with Xitron is a milestone in and of itself,” he continued. “We plan to honor our 25 year association with Xitron by presenting them with a special Silver Partner award at Print 2017 later this year.”
In advance of Print’s return to Chicago this September, several new products that build on Xitron’s commercial catalog are slated for release. Included in the line-up are Raster Blaster 4.0, which is an intelligent TIFF catcher for all supported CTP devices; B3, a new network-based interface that doesn’t require a computer platform; and a very economical USB/SCSI interface for legacy Fujifilm platesetters that (until now) could not be upgraded beyond Windows XP operating systems.
An upgrade to Xitron’s Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE)-based Sierra workflow is also planned, in cooperation with their Adobe development partner, FFEI, Ltd. “Xitron and FFEI have a relationship that began in 1999 with the Xenith workflow,” said Andy Cook, Managing Director of FFEI. “We’ve continued to work together through the introduction of Sierra using the Mercury RIP architecture introduced in APPE 3, with which Xitron has significantly impacted the high-end workflow market in the US.”
While continuing their successful approach of delivering alternative RIP and interface strategies to the commercial market, recent innovation in print technology has required Ms. Crews to keep one eye focused beyond traditional printing. This has fostered the development of color matching workflow software designed specifically for the needs of high-speed inkjet press manufacturers around the world.
“Staying relevant in a market whose technology moves as quickly as ours is not easy,” said Len Lauer, President and CEO of Xitron’s inkjet technology partner Memjet. “And yet, here they are, developing remarkable color RIP and workflow software for over half of Memjet’s OEMs. We’re looking forward to sustained expansion of this market with Xitron.”
“This is a very exciting time for Xitron and I have to thank our worldwide dealer organization and OEM customers for their contributions.” said Crews. “While being firmly entrenched in the traditional print landscape, we also have clear vision of the technological future of our products. Forty years of development have provided us with an excellent foundation to move forward with this industry.”