Welcome to CIP4, an organization dedicated to standardizing automation in the printing industry
The CIP4 Organization is a not-for-profit standards association, whose mission is to foster the adoption of process automation in the printing industry. A global organization with representatives from 31 countries, CIP4’s membership boasts a diverse membership that includes printers, prepress companies, publishers, vendors of graphic arts systems and software, integrators, distributors, consultants and educators.
“Process automation” is a broad term, with the basic premise that workflow is based upon communication between the various equipment, MIS systems, and integration services in the graphic arts industry. These can be devices in print production, but also higher-level systems such as a production controller or a management information system (MIS). In order to standardize this communication independently of the diverse manufacturers, CIP4 has developed the Job Definition Format (JDF) standard, which is complemented by its messaging component, the Job Messaging Format (JMF). Recently, these two formats have been modernized by the newer Exchange JDF (XJDF) and the Exchange JMF (XJMF) specifications, respectively.
In addition to the detailed production information specified for these formats, CIP4 has also developed a method to standardize the communication of business-related job content. PrintTalk defines the standardized exchange of business-data between print buyers, print manufacturers and suppliers. Real-world applications of this include web-to-print systems, or Business to Business portals, for both customers and sub-contractors.
All of these data formats have been developed to integrate as independent modules, much like a conveyor belt that combines different materials. The end-result is a highly automated workflow with fewer human touchpoints, and deeper integration into existing MIS workflows.
The power of JDF is as much strategic as it is practical. A non-proprietary, open-source data exchange such as JDF allows machines and software modules from various manufacturers to communicate with each other without the complex or costly development of custom interface development. This also provides a barrier to obsolescence in order to ensure that an investment in new equipment will integrate with future upgrades or business changes.
Because these needs became apparent as print-automation became an essential part of business, CIP4 has created a standardized foundation for process and workflow automation in the printing industry. If you would like to learn more about print production automation in general and its benefits, click on the "Print Automation" link, if you would like to learn more about the technical details of the different data formats defined by CIP4, click on the "Specifications and Tools" section.