15 April 2018 Digital Printing Technologies

Harlequin reaches 12 with PDF 2.0 ready version of its Rip

Global Graphics is the first to declare and deliver a PDF 2.0 compliant Rip, able to take advantage of features in the first non-Adobe version of the file format.

Global Graphics is cementing its position as the industry’s leading supplier of powerful Rips, with the introduction of the PDF 2.0 ready Harlequin 12.

While design and production workflow software is still coming to grips with how to implement and cope with the features of PDF 2.0, the first version produced as an ISO standard, the new Rip has been shipped to Harlequin OEM customers for them to implement in their latest versions of either a Rip for a platesetter or large format digital printer or into a DFE for a digital press.

Though none has yet announced the implementation, Global Graphics CTO Martin Bailey says that as OEMs have had the technology for a while, products will be close to shipping.

“The specification for PDF 2.0 was published last year,” says Bailey. “It includes some extensions to colour management, enhancements to transparency controls and to halftone screening and the encryptions algorithms.”

This is supported in the new Harlequin Rip and each has valid requirements. It will support variable data overlays using a much simpler method than using PDF/VT. This will drive sequential numbering and product codes on labels and packaging and will enable barcode generation on the fly. Data can be read from a CSV file. The Rip includes a barcode generator that will support EAN style product barcodes, postal barcodes and QR codes.

This will be put to use on labels and carton blanks printed digitally or for addressing preprinted envelopes or for some security applications where a combination of overlays can include microtext, changing colours and text. In a security application, the first time that the varying content and the static content will meet is in the Rip at the point of printing, adding a level of security previously not possible.

The Harlequin Rip is already used for some of the most demanding print applications. On an HP PageWide T series inkjet press, it can handle 10,000ppm. Now Advance Inkjet Screens can apply a new screening algorithm to optimise output quality on either non absorbent papers or highly absorbent papers to eliminate the unwanted artefacts that can occur.

Bailey advises that while PDF 2.0 is not generally in use, printers should prepare for its arrival by upgrading from the end of the workflow. “This is why we believe it’s exactly the right thing to put PDF 2.0 into Harlequin.

“The safest approach to the adoption of PDF 2.0 for press manufacturers is to ensure that all applications that consume PDF, such as the DFE for your press or Rip, are upgraded to support PDF 2.0. Your DFE is the best place to start because if your customer sends files for processing that contain some of the new features in PDF 2.0 they will usually be silently ignored by an older reader with unexpected results in output.”

This may happen later this year. A third InterOps meeting for those developing applications around the specification takes place in Berlin next month. “We expect to see software that is a lot more mature than the we saw at the previous meetings last year,” says Bailey.

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Rip generates barcodes

Rip generates barcodes

Harlequin's latest Rip will include a bar code generator and the ability to create and handle some variable data. But the main feature is that the Harlequin 12 is ready to accept PDF 2.0 files with the additional features that the version of PDF enables.

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