According to Kellie, the audience was "wowed." In his opinion, PDF really makes distribute-and-print possible. "We, and certainly most vendors, are banking on all future workflow tools being targeted to PDF," Kellie predicts. "It's often used in the proofing stage of production. Now you can actually print with it, so it makes sense to make it a part of the manufacturing cycle as well."
Digital presses also play an important role, Kellie suggests: "The idea of a digital press is that it can be calibrated to match a digital proofing device's output. So if I calibrate my printer and proofer, I should be able to get the same quality in Philadelphia, for example, as I get in Chicago. The important thing to keep in mind is that anybody can use these tools for not a lot of money," he adds. For more information on Heidelberg's Digital Imaging Association and a list of installations, visit www.hdia.org and www.heidelberg-di.com.
Simplifying the process
Accountability is also an issue for distribute-and-print suppliers. Who will be held accountable for collecting payment when a job is contracted at a printer in New York City but printed in London? This is an example of why the international headquarters of Agfa Div., Bayer Corp., Wilmington, MA, created Print-Cast—a service that manages the administration and distribution of digital files as they journey across the PrintCast Network, which comprises 400 Chromapress sites. Now in its Global Phase II, PrintCast involves two new software components: PrintCast Manager and PrintCast Remote.
International Marketing Com-munications Manager Gene Hunt explains the features: "The two software modules were developed in direct response to the need for some administrative and back-office procedures, including job tracking, billing, payments, currency, languages and things like that."
Designing the software in two components allowed for greater automation.
"We wanted one piece to remain at the central hub location—that's PrintCast Manager," explains Philippe Duval, international business manager for Print-Cast. "PrintCast Manager is essentially the master of all of the operations functions." PrintCast Remote, he adds, is the software that resides at the Chromapress sites and is used to create and receive job tickets.