ixPressia

 

How finding the right tool to solve your PDF problems can lead to new product development

ixPressia licenses the Adobe® PDF Library™ SDK from Datalogics for use in their ixPressia PrintEngine™ software product range. Their positive experience of integrating the Library into their software line also led to development of a new product, ixPressionist, and a new market for ixPressia.

Company Profile

ixPressia is the inkjet product division of Cametrics, located in Cambridge, UK. They develop software products for the industrial inkjet industry, printing on a wide range of substrates (e.g. paper, ceramic, textiles, glass) and satisfying market sectors from narrow-web labels through to wide-format graphics.

Challenges

ixPressia PrintEngine software is designed to drive industrial inkjet printers and its completeness and versatility means that new machine designs are accelerated to market. ixPressia Label Designer is a template editor for designing variable data jobs. The template is populated with data at print time by ixPressia PrintEngine software and the bitmaps are sent straight to the printhead electronics. A key function of the software is its precise control of color management and rendering of PDFs to bitmap for print workflows. Early versions of ixPressia PrintEngine software were built using a different PDF Library; but it very quickly became clear to ixPressia that they needed to upgrade the PDF capabilities of the software to meet the growing demands of their customer base.

“Having the Adobe PDF Library in-house, and gaining some experience developing with it, was the catalyst that led to the development of our ixPressionist product line.”

Solution

As ixPressia began to look for alternatives, they immediately dismissed building their own PDF support from scratch. “We knew that we didn’t want to build our own PDF engine,” states Matt Pyne, Technical Director of ixPressia. “We wanted to focus on our core competency of providing printing software modules, and not on writing PDF parsers.” After contacting Adobe, they were referred to Datalogics and the Adobe PDF Library SDK. “The Adobe PDF Library was able to do exactly what we needed and Datalogics worked with us to come to an agreement that worked for both us and them,” added Jim Taylor, Managing Director of ixPressia.

Results

Version 4.4 of ixPressia PrintEngine software, powered by the Adobe PDF Library, will be released later this quarter and is expected to receive positive feedback from customers. “Our color management and rendering capabilities are much improved,” continues Taylor. “Further, as most of the artwork is sourced from Adobe products, it was important for us to exactly match the rendering intents of the Adobe Library in our output.”

Additional Benefits: New product, New markets

The decision to license the Adobe PDF Library from Datalogics has resulted in other benefits for ixPressia as well, most notably a new product line, also powered by the Adobe PDF Library. “Our software solutions were targeted specifically towards the industrial printing market,” adds Taylor. “We’d been looking for a way to leverage our expertise and technology and expand to other markets. Having the Adobe PDF Library in-house, and gaining some experience developing with it, was the catalyst that led to the development of our ixPressionist product line.” ixPressionist is an easy-to-use, stand-alone program designed to simplify the production of customized and variable data printing. Aimed primarily at wide format printers, this innovative solution is PDF/VT compatible and is not reliant on a specific RIP or printer to generate print-ready PDFs with all the assets (fonts, graphics) embedded in the file. ixPressionist was released in June, 2010 and has been described by one industry expert as the product that the wide format market has been waiting for. “We’re very happy with our decision to license the Adobe PDF Library from Datalogics,” concludes Taylor. “It solved our existing problems in PrintEngine; and without it, ixPressionist would probably not have been created.”

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