A New Generation of Harlequin RIP® Debuts at drupa

  • First commercially available graphic arts RIP to process XPS
  • The only graphic arts RIP to natively process XPS, PDF, and PostScript in the same RIP for true multi-format compatibility
  • Introduces more power and performance for pre-press, digital print and workflow applications
  • Result of twenty years of development

Significantly more processing power together with a range of new features for increased productivity and efficiency in pre-press, digital print and workflow operations are at the heart of the next generation of the Harlequin RIP® –  Harlequin PLUS Server RIP (v.8.0) -­ that sees its international debut at drupa (Hall 7, stand 7.0D) twenty years after the first Harlequin RIP was shipped to a customer.  Based on a re-engineered kernel, Harlequin PLUS Server RIP brings a new level of ground-breaking functionality to print operations, including the ability to handle files natively in the XPS file format, as well as PDF, PCL, and PostScript®; fast processing of variable data in PDF files; and multi-threaded rendering to increase performance and prevent RIP bottlenecks.

“We are the first to market with support for XPS because we believe that it will become important for some sectors of professional printing just as we knew the PDF format would be when we introduced native processing of PDF files into the Harlequin RIP in 1997”, says Martin Bailey, chief technology officer, Global Graphics. “We want to ensure our customers don’t need to worry about how they receive files from their customers, and how they need to process those files. Some sites  want to use high-quality PDF and others still need PostScript.  Some segments of the industry will need XPS especially in-plants and print shops who undertake corporate printing.

“With this new generation RIP we have looked very closely at addressing the most important issues in day-to-day print operations.  To support our customers migrating towards digital print we’ve added an entirely new feature to speed up the processing of variable data in PDF files: it only RIPs new content on multi-page jobs so that the same areas are not processed repeatedly.  Multi-threaded rendering raises the Harlequin RIP’s performance even further, takes full advantage of Duo and Quad core technology, and is ready for even higher core counts in the future.  We continue to invest in the many in-RIP features which save our customers time and money including Simple Imposition for two-up and four-up, in-RIP color management, in-RIP trapping and in-RIP Font Emulation for time-critical applications such as print-on-demand, newspapers and magazines, for which we were delighted to win a PIA/GATF Intertech™ award last year.”

The Harlequin PLUS Server RIP is the first commercially available graphic arts RIP to natively process files in the new XPS print format (XML Paper Specification) available from Windows® Vista™ onwards, as well as PDF, PCL, and PostScript.   Native processing of file formats renders files more accurately and speedily because there is no conversion to an intermediary format and with PDF files there is no need to flatten transparencies.  More importantly, native processing within a single RIP is the only true way to guarantee quality and compatibility between different Page Description Language file formats.

Processing power and a rich feature set for maximum efficiency
The new features bring important performance improvements and efficiencies to print operations of all sizes for CtP, proofing, DI presses, digital production presses, wide and grand format printers and workflow applications.  New features include:

Native XPS 1.0 processing:  The XPS (XML Paper Specification) Document format is a paginated, fixed-format, representation of electronic documents and is based on XML and the new graphics architecture that Microsoft has developed alongside Windows Vista. As an open, cross-platform document format, XPS allows users to create, share, print and archive documents.  When combined with the new print subsystem, its capabilities as a new page description language mean that it will offer significant improvements in fidelity and increased performance in rich graphics content that users increasingly demand.  

Native PDF 1.7 and PDF/X-4 support:  In addition to handling all popular file formats the new RIP provides full support for PDF 1.7  as well as previously available support for PDF 1.6 – PDF 1.0 and complies with the final specification for PDF/X – 4 as well as the previously available support for PDF/X-1a and PDF/X-3. The Harlequin RIP has processed PDF natively for more than ten years. Native processing of file formats, rather than converting to PostScript as an intermediary format, ensures fast and accurate rendering of the file.

HD photo support: A new file format for continuous-tone still images that surpasses the limitations of existing image formats

Significant performance increases: Multi-threaded rendering that helps raise performance even further and takes full advantage of Duo and Quad core technologies; PDF retained raster that speeds up variable data processing in PDF files, even if they were not created using specific variable data tools.

PDF wrapped raster facilitates soft proofing: PDF wrapped raster allows the print service provider to quickly and easily create a completely flattened PDF file that represents exactly how a job will appear on press, enabling it to be used for soft-proofing and customer approvals.

Compatible with JDF 1.3 specification: The JDF-enabled Harlequin PLUS Server RIP will accept jobs conforming to the JDF 1.3 specification and is compliant with the Base, JMF, and “Layout Creator to Imposition” Interoperability Conformance Specifications (ICSs).  Version 3.0 of Global Graphics’ JDF Enabler adds JDF compatibility to Harlequin RIP based workflows and Imposition-led workflows.  In such cases printers can easily set up a JDF-based workflow to accept JDF files from most major prepress Imposition packages and allow JDF files created from those packages to determine how the RIP processes the constituent page files. The Harlequin RIP was the first product to be officially CIP4 certified following testing by the Printing Industries of America/ Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, against the Layout Creator to Imposition ICS and Base ICS.

Extended platform support: now includes Windows Vista and MAC OS X 10.5 (Leopard).

Global Graphics OEM and system integrator partners offering solutions based on Harlequin RIP technology include Hewlett Packard (Hall 08a/B26 and Hall 07/07), Agfa  (Hall 8a/ B63 and Hall 07/7.0C), Kodak (Hall 5/D01, and Hall 07/7.0J ), ECRM (Hall 9/ 9C56), Presstek (Hall 04/A55), Xitron (Hall 9 / D26-9 ), Ryobi (Hall 17/A06), HighWater Designs (Hall 9 / 9D 26-9), and Polkadots Software (Hall 09/E61).

Editors notes

A Harlequin PLUS Server RIP datasheet and a variety of images, including those showing the award winning font emulation, are also available on request to jill.taylor@globalgraphics.com or by visiting the technologies section of www.globalgraphics.com and selecting the Harlequin RIP.  More information about the expected impact of XPS on the graphic arts industry can be found in the White Paper “Analysis:  XPS and the graphic arts market” at http://www.globalgraphics.com/xps/graphic_arts_wp.pdf

About Harlequin RIP technology
Global Graphics PostScript Language Level 3 compatible Harlequin RIP was first used in a commercial system in 1988 since when its core technology and associated modules has evolved through successive generations into the high-performance processor it is today.  For more information visit: http://www.globalgraphics.com/products/harlequin_rip/index.html

About Global Graphics
Global Graphics Software (http://www.globalgraphics.com) is a leading developer and supplier of sophisticated high performance RIPs, electronic document, workflow and color solutions mostly to a customer base of Independent Hardware Vendors, system integrators, software developers and resellers. These partners include the world’s leading vendors of digital pre-press systems, large-format color printers, color proofing systems, copiers and printers for the corporate and SOHO markets and software applications. Global Graphics Software is a subsidiary of Global Graphics S.A. (NYSE-Euronext:GLOG)

Global Graphics, the smarter alternative, Harlequin,  the Harlequin logo, the Harlequin RIP, are trademarks of Global Graphics Software Limited which may be registered in certain jurisdictions.  Global Graphics is a trademark of Global Graphics S.A. which may be registered in certain jurisdictions. PostScript is a trademark of Adobe Systems Incorporated which may be registered in certain jurisdictions. All other brand and product names are the registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective owners. Global Graphics makes no warranty and accepts no liability for any loss or damage arising from the use of information or particulars in this document.


Jill Taylor, Global Graphics Software
Tel: +44 (0)1954 283074 / +44 (0)7714 410598
E-mail: jill.taylor@globalgraphics.com

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