Fujifilm XMF 2.0

At drupa 2008, Adobe announced the next incarnation of the PDF Print Engine, APPE2. Just as it was the first to market with an APPE-based workflow in XMF, Fuji has repeated the trick with the APPE2-based XMF 2.0. Fuji’s speed to market this time round has been largely thanks to the work it did on the original XMF, which was built from the ground up using JDF and the original APPE RIP. That meant that, this time round, it was simply a case of swapping the old RIP for the newer version.

“With XMF designed from the ground up to use the APPE RIP this also helped make it simple swapping old for new,” says Fujifilm Australia national manager, Electronics, Steve Collyer.

Overcoming problems
One of Fuji’s goals in developing XMF was to ensure it could support any new application that hit the market. In doing so, it hoped to avoid any repetition of the sort of problems printers encountered with the introduction of PDF transparencies, which designers found they could not RIP.

Fuji has been aided in this quest by Adobe, which now uses consistent technology between its creative applications and the PDF print engine. This was not the case in the past, according to Collyer, who says delays of six to nine months were to be expected between creative applications coming out and anyone being able to RIP them.

Thanks to this developmental synchronisation, XMF 2.0 is fully compatible with the full feature set of Adobe’s latest Creative Suite, CS4, which was only released recently. In addition, APPE2 is faster than its predecessor, which enables corresponding speed gains in Fuji’s updated workflow.

APPE2 brings big productivity gains. It’s faster than version one, in terms of general throughput throughout the workflow, and it also maintains compatibility with Adobe’s latest creative applications, says Collyer.

In the main, this compatibility with CS4 means greater support for variable data, which could prove an important factor in the future. “At the moment, variable data is managed by various formats, all of which are non-standard,” says Collyer. However, the Adobe-developed PDF-VT, which is currently going through the ISO certification process on its way to becoming an open standard, is likely to become the de facto means of managing and communicating variable data. This will provide numerous benefits, especially for users of APPE2-based workflows, which will support the standard from day one.

“With PDF-VT you can actually view multiple versions contained within a single file, using Acrobat, and see each different version come up on screen, which is something you can’t do with current formats, such as PPML,” says Collyer.

All from one
This means that, where regional or language variations of a print job are included in a single PDF-VT file, these can be managed from within the Fuji workflow. For instance, if a client submits a versioned PDF job that contains four languages, XMF 2.0 can switch on and merge the different layers of the job, allowing the printer to actually produce all four language versions from the one source input file.

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