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CIP3 and CIP4 explained



CIP3 is an acronym derived from: 

International Cooperation for Integration of prepress, press and post press


The ‘international cooperation’ is a not for profit organisation with members from a range of industry suppliers.


The mission of the CIP3 organisation was to link (pre-set) data from prepress to the print and post-press production phases.


The result of the CIP3 groups’ work was a file format known as ‘PPF’ (print production format). It’s been around a long time and manifests itself most commonly in the pre-setting of printing machines from prepress systems.


The pre-setting data includes ink coverage information along with administrative data such as job name, job number, sheet number, sheet side (front/back), and even customer name. It may also extend to production settings such as sheet size, ink name, and even colour bar location for press side colour measurement equipment. A job preview (thumbnail) is also common place.


The concept applies equally to post-press, with administrative data, along with production parameters such as folding, stitching and trimming pre-sets.


CIP3 saves time and money, by reducing job preparation times and waste. 



CIP4 adds a further dimension to CIP3 with the inclusion of processes:

International Cooperation for process integration of prepress, press and post press


The international cooperation for CIP3 morphed into the international cooperation for CIP4, with an extended and more diverse membership (including printers and consultants).


The mission of the CIP4 organisation was to foster the adoption of process automation in the print industry. The result of the CIP4 groups’ work was a file format known as ‘JDF’ (job definition format).


By crucial distinction (over and above CIP3), CIP4/JDF is bi-directional. It integrates cost estimation and MIS with live print production and extends to include production parameters such as quantities and delivery dates. It physically and graphically integrates presses and finishing equipment into the production workflow interface. It not only pre-sets, but also listens and records actual production activity, fed back to MIS for ultimate cost analysis.


This concept is broadly labelled ‘integration’.


It’s a huge concept, presenting potentially massive advantages.


However, it is coupled with some very real challenges, not least eye-wateringly high investment costs.


See article ‘Press pre-setting solutions’ for further information


Note: Formerly with Heidelberg, Steve has 35 years’ experience in the print industry. As Heidelberg Print Colour Specialist Steve led Heidelberg UK’s PCM activities, specialising in press pre-setting, optimisation and colour calibration.