Esko-Graphics and JDF
The JDF standard, overseen by the International Cooperation for the Integration of Processes in Prepress, Press and Postpress (CIP4), is a Job Definition Format, an industry standard for end-to-end job ticket specifications. It allows RIPs, imagesetters, presses, finishing and other equipment and software to “speak” a common language. JDF job tickets describe a complete workflow or an individual process step.
In an ideal JDF scenario, all information about a job will be entered only once. The job now flows through a complete workflow system, carrying all this additional status information, ready to use for planning, analysis and so on.
A Packaging & Labels workgroup was formed on behalf of converters. Some of the specifications the group is working on include:
· Definition barcode specifications
· Resolution of a high level definition of step and repeat
· Definition of the interface to a conventional die cutting device
· Definition of the interface to a folder/gluer device
· Media definitions
Why is JDF important for the packaging industry?
Traditionally there have been weak communication links between the consumer product company (CPC), the design firm, the prepress company and converters — and many different departments within those organizations. It results in a workflow that is error prone, hard to optimize, and hard to automate.
One way to check for errors is to make the process traceable. If the system can be optimized, it can provide global status information of the process, checking that deadlines will be met, with rescheduling or reprioritizing tasks when needed. Many think JDF is the solution.
Esko-Graphics and JDF
Esko-Graphics holds the seat at the head of the CIP4 Packaging & Label committee, and has not only worked diligently on the JDF spec, but has developed JDF capabilities for our own products. Esko-Graphics also is co-chairing the pre-press subcommittee.
Scope’s BackStage is completely JDF-enabled, capable of accepting instructions that direct BackStage tasks to correctly process a job, and to remotely drive other software functions via JDF commands. Thus, a supplier has the means to integrate itself into its customers’ supply chains, thus providing substantial added value for the packaging buyer, the end customer.
JDF-enabled BackStage is already used in several JDF scenarios, such as job creation linking an MIS/order entry system to BackStage; digital delivery between BackStage and an asset manager or proofing system; receiving feedback from a device such as a platesetter; and launching tasks, even from the web.