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May 29, 2001 12:00 AM
The new MetaDimension PDF workflow module from Heidelberg
(Kennesaw, GA) reportedly provides printers, trade shops and
service bureaus with a cost-effective gateway to PDF-based
workflows. MetaDimension's open interface also facilitates
integration into existing workflow systems. MetaDimension provides
smaller print shops and service bureaus with a cost-effective
alternative for moving to Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)
Heidelberg plans to offer its new MetaDimension RIP (Raster
Image Processor) and workflow software for plate and filmsetters in
the second half of this year.
Open System Architecture & Modular Design
MetaDimension combines open system architecture with a modular design. Software can be integrated into existing workflow environments from other suppliers. MetaDimension is built on the Adobe PostScript 3 printing and imaging technology and is a PDF renderer. It supports a wide variety of prepress and workflow features and tools within the Adobe printing platform. These include color management, proofing, trapping, page positioning, CIP 4 and OPI (Open Prepress Interface). Users also have access to a diverse range of Acrobat plug-ins and applications to ensure a high-productivity PDF workflow.
MetaDimension has already been prepared for the new JDF (Job
Definition Format) industry standard. In the fall of this year, a
version will be available which will be able to import and export
screened TIFF data to control third party devices.
"In developing MetaDimension, Heidelberg takes another important
step towards an open industry standard based on PDF and JDF which
will allow an end-to-end workflow throughout the entire prepress
sector," said Ray Cassino, Director of Prepress Marketing,
MetaDimension is based on PDF and uses Adobe Portable Job Ticket
Format (PJTF). Both PostScript (Level 1, Level 2, and 3) and PDF
are supported as standard input formats. InRIP features such as
trapping, page positioning and color management ensure a compact,
automated workflow. An open, modular process can be constructed in
conjunction with other Heidelberg products like the Acrobat plug-in
SupertrapTM or SignastationTM imposition software. Signastation can
not only impose highly complex jobs in conjunction with PDF, job
tickets, and PostScript, but can also transfer all job data to
downstream production stations using CIP 4 PPF (Print Production
Format). This provides a means for automating both ink zone
presettings, and cutter and folder settings, which considerably
reduce set-up times.
MetaDimension can be customized to the user’s needs and
expanded as required. Software packages such as PreflowTM,
consisting of Supertrap, PitStop Professional and PitStop Server,
for generating PDF data and the ROOM package for fans of the "Rip
Once Output Many" concept are also available. Integration with an
existing Delta Technology workflow is made possible by the
Delta-Flow option for importing Delta lists into MetaDimension.
MetaDimension can be operated from any PC or Mac in the
"MetaDimension’s open and modular architecture gives
customers the reliability they need for their workflow," said James
Mauro, product manager for MetaDimension. "Users need not invest in
an entirely new infrastructure, but can continue using their
existing modules and operating procedures, and adapt MetaDimension
to suit their needs. This technology can provide customers with a
cost effective springboard to a full-featured PDF
True-color Softproofing Proofing options--include concept
proofs on desktop printers, true-color page proofs with integrated
color management, and true-color form proofs using, e.g. the
Hewlett Packard DesignJet family. Since MetaDimension outputs
standard TIFF, virtually any proofer can be integrated into the
workflow. The true-color softproof option supports customized
resolutions and delivers highly accurate results on the
Once the finished proof is approved, MetaDimension can
automatically initiate imaging to plate or film. Jobstream, a
plug-in for the Adobe printer driver, increases reliability in
production before the data is even output as composite PostScript.
Jobstream helps ensure properly executed InRIP separations, and
known problems can be corrected with composite PostScript data.
This prevents errors in the output that could otherwise lead to
costly and time-consuming reprints.
MetaDimension’s bandwidth ranges from the simple,
cost-effective software PostScript RIP for small filmsetters to the
large, PDF workflow engine for a whole range of film and
MetaDimension supports the familiar HQS (High Quality
Screening), I.S. (Irrational Screening) and Diamond Screening. All
screening is calculated directly in the software, without the need
for any additional hardware.
MetaDimension extends the range of workflow products offered by
Heidelberg in the lower and medium price performance sectors and
will be the digital front end for all new output devices. Delta
Technology continues as the base for ROOM workflow , while Prinergy
remains the high-end PDF workflow system based on Adobe Extreme
technology for a fully automated, database controlled
Open, Modular Workflow
MetaDimension is the first step towards an open, modular PDF and JDF based workflow, which Heidelberg is developing not just for film, platesetters, and proofers, but also for digital presses such as the Quickmaster DI, Speedmaster DI, Digimaster and NexPress. Acrobat plug-ins and applications such as Supertrap and Signastation will continue to be extended, and new modules for special tasks will be added. As a solution provider, Heidelberg is committed to more than simply developing these modules. It is also working on integrating other makes of products to satisfy the workflow requirements of its highly diverse customer base.
For more information, see http://www.heidelberg.com.