Revealed at drupa: Independent speed tests confirm sheer power and consistency of the new Harlequin “digital” RIP

  • delivers pages at over 20 times the rate required by the leading label press or 11 times faster than the leading full-color cut-sheet device using one RIP
  • plenty of head room to keep presses running at full speed even on complex or badly constructed jobs

Independent speed tests carried out by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) on the latest release of the new generation Harlequin RIP®, show that it delivers pages far in excess of the rated speeds of the industry’s highest performing digital presses.

The results, published today at drupa in a new White Paper authored by InfoTrends, confirm that the Harlequin Host Renderer has so much processing speed that it not only reduces the risk of poorly constructed jobs slowing down production but exceeds industry requirements in keeping presses running at full speed.  This amount of power has benefits for press manufacturers in potentially reducing their bill of materials for the digital front ends driving presses. It benefits print shops by providing a faster return on press investment and future-proofing their operation against the accelerating trend towards personalization of data.

The tests were conducted by RIT’s School of Media, under the auspices of Administrative Chair and Gannett Distinguished Professor, Chris Bondy. The test file suite, developed by RIT, comprised files created using Adobe InDesign, Quark XPress, XMPie and GMC, selected to provide a good representation of the standard production tools used to create static and variable data pages for six sample categories –  label printing, direct mail, transactional printing, commercial printing, publications and photo books.

“The global digitization of all content is driving the use of more imagery and personalized content in all printed material”, says Chris Bondy. “Print service providers world-wide are interested to see how enhancements in software architecture, coupled with the latest computing systems, can efficiently and accurately deliver pages to a digital press.   That’s why Global Graphics asked us to develop an independent test suite and conduct a RIP processing test that represents the range of printing markets served by digital print.”

The headline results, reported in full in the White Paper, have significant implications for the digital printing industry:  

  • manufacturers of light and medium production devices can reduce time to market by using a single RIP;
  • vendors of high and ultra-high volume devices can minimize the costs of their DFE using multiple RIPs.  

The speed tests show that the Harlequin Host Renderer delivers:

  • Label printing
    • Over 20 times the rate required by the leading label press using one RIP;
  • Transactional/direct mail (variable data printing)
    • 4 times faster than the rate required by the  leading continuous feed color devices using a server with 10 RIPs  
    • 5 times faster than the leading toner cut-sheet color devices using one RIP;
  • Commercial (assuming a minimum run length of  20 copies)
    • 11 times faster than the rate required by the leading full-color, cut-sheet device
    • 20 times faster than the rate required by high-end MFP cut-sheet color devices using one RIP;
  • Publication (assuming a minimum run length of 20 copies)
    • 11 times faster than the rate required by an ultra-high volume wide-web inkjet press with a server of 10 RIPs;
    • 24 times faster than the rate required by a medium volume, full-color graphic arts production press with one RIP.

 “The high-speed inkjet printing market is expected to grow phenomenally in terms of speed, width and productivity which will put tremendous requirements on the RIP”, says Kaspar Roos, associate director, InfoTrends.  “Global Graphics has highly efficient, scalable and robust technology to play in this market.  OEMs developing high-speed, high-volume printing equipment should consider adding Global Graphics to their evaluation list when sourcing RIP technology.”

The Harlequin Host Renderer provides high performance components with which to build Digital Front Ends for digital production presses. A number of new features in Version 3 increase processing power so that pages pass through the RIP at a faster pace than ever before:

  • Harlequin Parallel Pages™ allows the RIP to interpret one page while it’s still rendering the previous one. This allows print shops to take maximum advantage of multi-core computers.
  • Harlequin VariData™ accelerates the processing time of regular PDF files containing variable data including, but not only, PDF/VT files.
  • The Harlequin Host Renderer is also available as a 64-bit build to access additional memory when it’s needed for pages with large amounts of data.

Press manufacturers at drupa who use Harlequin to drive their digital presses include HP Indigo, and HP inkjet web division ( Hall 4/D60), Tokyo Kikai Seisakusho ( Hall 15/B55) and Miyakoshi Printing Machinery (Hall 9/A04).

Editors notes

About Global Graphics
Global Graphics Software ( is a leading developer of OEM printing and electronic document software including high-performance RIPs, PDF document, workflow and color solutions.  Customers partners include the world’s leading vendors such as HP, Quark, Miyakoshi, SIS, TKS and Agfa.

Global Graphics and the Harlequin RIP are trademarks of Global Graphics Software Ltd. which may be registered in certain jurisdictions. All other brand and product names are the registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective owners.


Jill Taylor, Global Graphics Software
Tel: +44 (0)7714 410598

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