Xerox Tips IPEX Digital Solutions Past Heidelberg
Compositing has left the buildings
(outline notes for OhmyNews story one)
IPEX 2010 has a new layout, a range roughly from very digital to very mechanical. This only partly because pre-press is at the beginning and finishing at the end. Computers and the Web are throughout the show but the description "Digital Solutions" is used for the halls with pre-press and/ or digital printing. The only complication with this is that Xerox are in a hall just beyond Heidelberg.
Heidelberg press conference confirmed that they will have a partnership with digital kit "in this calendar year"- 2010. But not specific. However, Xerox demonstrate how workflow could cover digital and litho. They print short runs of wrap round covers for a photobook that Heidelberg are printing litho. They have a Prinect screen showing the production status of each Heidelberg machine at IPEX. So if Xerox is not on the shortlist at least they made an effort. They also show integration with FujiFilm XMF but this is not as advanced as with Prinect for messaging within the Job Definition Format (JDF).
Heidelberg also show a prototype of an iPhone app linked to Prinect. This can display the current status of jobs. It is not clear if memebers of the sales team will be able to make adjustments to the schedule.
Meanwhile FujiFilm showed how inkjet could target a short run. Heidelberg are responding with improvements on make ready times.
Digital print took much of the space at this IPEX. Manroland did not display any machines. Benny Landa, founder of Indigo, predicted that at the next IPEX HP (who bought Indigo) will have the largest turnover as well as the largest stand area.
The consequences of digital innovation have also reached composition and page make-up to the extent that they seem no longer to be part of IPEX. There is no stand for Adobe or Quark. Apple were not at drupa a couple of years ago and not even at BETT, the schools show that is also the only hardware show with a comprehensive range. It seems that people in pre-press now accept the "print-ready" PDF that publishers and clients supply. there is a lot of software on show for managing the colour. But a whole section of the industry seems to have vanished at least from this show. The debate about whether the iPad is a threat to print is at a tangent to whether pre-press can offer a service to publishers that includes digital formats. Elpical image optimisation includes an option for twelve shades of grey as required on a Kindle.
The layout of IPEX is complicated so you need to cover the complete length at least once. Esko Artwork are at the digital end and have a reputation for design software including 3D models of packaging. At this IPEX they are also showing short run finishing equipment from Kongsberg. This very automated and computer controlled but also definitely part of the world of hard copy. At the other end of the show in Hall 17 Manroland have a space for RedTie Web-To-Print. Previously this has been thought of as mostly used with digital printing.
There is still a balance of digital and mechanical technology thoughout the show. For whatever reason Xerox chose their spot, my overall impression is that Heidelberg has become part of the transition.
Comment welcome. Longer version in OhmyNews soon.