Ghent Workgroup releases the
PDF Processing Steps Specification

GWG_ProcessingStepsSpecificationThe Ghent Workgroup (GWG) has released the PDF Processing Steps Specification. This document specifies how parameters for subsequent processing steps can be stored in a PDF in a standardised way.

This is primarily interesting for packaging since in addition to the printing objects many additional information are defined in a PDF for packaging. According to this specification objects like cutting lines, varnish areas, embossing, braille, etc. can be identified by adding standardised meta data to PDF layers (Optional Content Groups). This allows a language independent identification of these objects.

This information can e.g. be used for selective display of the elements in a packaging. A marketing person is interested in other elements than a prepress specialist. In addition subsequent systems (e.g. impostion, embossing, braille) which support this standard can retrieve the information relevant for their processing step directly in the PDF data.

With the help of this standardisation automating the processing steps in packaging production can be improved substancially.

I have used these processing steps already five years ago (then still called “Storing non printing contour data in PDF”) for the definition of the Novartis Technical Colors in the Novartis Pharma Artwork File Specification and could achieve a very good success with this.

On the GWG web page of the PDF Processing Steps you can download the Specification, three sample files and a Whitepaper for free. I recommend the Whitepaper to start.

GWG has submitted the PDF Processing Steps Specification to the ISO for international standardisation. The proposal was already accepted. At the moment the publication as ISO 19593 is in preparation.

At Drupa 2016 serveral vendors will already present applications of this specification:

  • ESKO [8b/A23]: ArtPro+ 16 can add and check Processing Steps information.
  • Enfocus [8b/A23]: PitStop 13.2  can convert pdf layers to Processing Steps.
  • Callas Software [7/C19]: Callas pdf Toolbox 9
  • CHILI publish [7a/F40]: CHILI rendro supports Processing Steps.
  • Durst [6/D40]: Workflow Label
  • Agfa Graphics [8a/B62]: Support in Apogee and Asanti Workflows planned.
  • Global Graphics [7/B21]: Support in Harlequin RIP planned.

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