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JDF: Ready for Take-Off?

(July 2011) posted on Thu Jun 30, 2011

The Job Definition Format has been around for a decade now. So why isn’t it more common in wide-format printing—and why is that about to change?

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According to Andrew Cuzner, HP strategic partner marketing manager for Designjet Business, “What HP has done has been to pull together a number of key players in the wide-format printing space and make sure they’re using the correct descriptions and schemas in their products. When those components get put together in a customer site, they have a better chance of operating with one another if they all use the same JDF descriptions.”

Onyx’s Mattiussi supplies an example: “The changes we are working on make JDF more powerful for wide-format printing, such as automating processes that don’t exist in other print markets (and therefore were not previously included in the specification). One simple example is the flow from a RIP to the press to a flatbed cutting device. The unique information exchange concerning the media type and cutting requirements, you would never see in other print markets.”

What will it mean?
JDF is not a product itself, it’s just the “plumbing” that enables different devices in a workflow to communicate with each other. Given that, the way it will show up in products varies from vendor to vendor. “Software vendors will mature JDF together, and print service providers should expect to see interoperability grow,” says Mattiussi.

“We sell an optional JDF Module for our RIP,” says ColorGate’s Kirschner. “Most of our customers that license the module use it to remotely control the RIP software but also to obtain feedback and info about job status, job flow, and so on. Also, our Web-to-print solution speaks JDF to our production servers, so you're able to set up a fully automatic flow where the end user is actually initiating the production process. Some of our customers even put the shipping and invoicing data into the JDF, from where it's passed onto an MIS system. We're also feeding back from the RIP information like how much ink was consumed and the total media used.”

“Our first implementation of JDF is available in a recent update to our ProductionHouse and PosterShop software,” says Mattiussi. “We want to continue doing what we do best – RIPs and color management – and partner with other systems our customers choose for being best-in-class in their product category.”