Hardly any hardware developments as wide-format wakes up to workflow at Fespa Digital 2012

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Feb 28, 2012

Fespa Digital was held last week and the overarching theme was workflow for wide-format. While the single biggest launch at Fespa was the Mimaki JV-400 with its Latex or solvent UV ink options (see Tim Greene’s recent blog here for more information), the area where there were the most announcements and developments was in the workflow space. Wide-format has long lagged small format digital, and for that matter analogue print in the sophistication of its workflow. Recent developments show it is catching up at least and may even be overtaking those sectors.

At Fespa new products were announced by GMG, SAi, Esko, ONYX and Xanté, while other established wide-format workflow vendors such as Caldera refreshed some products for SGIA in the USA at the end of last year and plan further developments around Drupa in Germany this May.
Of the show launches the common theme was the introduction of end-to-end workflow with a standalone editor to control job submission and set-up, centralised ripping and colour management and often a production management tool that enables the production manager an overview of the whole system from wherever they may be — either in their office via a browser interface or via mobile and tablet.

Integration of pre-flighting tools is helping eliminate and/or fix problems before files enter a shop. The adoption of PDF as an internal file format is helping to drive standardization during production. Standalone editors are eliminating the need for time-consuming manual editing in application files — and also making it unnecessary for printers to keep on top of old and new version of layout apps to ensure they can handle anything a client of whatever sophistication sends them.

Other developments include the adoption of ink optimisation, in particular by GMG leveraging its colour heritage, which promises to not only save 20% on ink costs but to ensure a better match between different substrates and processes.

For more detail on the developments in workflow and the other news from Fespa Digital 2012 a full post-show analysis will be published soon. It will be available to WFP service subscribers or from the report store.

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