“There have been several major iterations of XMF since we introduced it, but this is probably the biggest technology step-change for three or four years,” said Fujifilm Europe ESBU workflow business strategy manager John Davies.

XMF Workflow v5.5 uses Adobe’s new Mercury RIP technology, which was officially launched yesterday as part of the latest Adobe PDF Print Engine (APPE 3). Fuji said it worked closely with Adobe on the integration of the Mercury architecture in XMF 5.5.

Among the headline upgrades to XMF 5.5 are a raft of variable data and productivity enhancements that optimise print production on Fuji’s digital inkjet presses, the Jet Press 720 and 540W.

According to Davies, when XMF was launched in 2007 as the first APPE-powered workflow, it signalled a new era in workflow technology.

“But the latest digital print technologies, predominantly web fed, have created a whole new dimension of productivity, speed and processing pressures and the new Adobe Mercury RIP architecture allows XMF to automatically scale its capabilities depending on what work is coming at it.”

He said that the XMF 5.5 added a “huge amount of processing power” for ‘regular’ printing, but with Mercury’s parallel processing, multi-tier caching and dynamic load balancing v5.5 also has the flexibility to cope with data-rich variable data printing (VDP). The latest version also boasts a new database and users can also prioritise jobs, enabling the RIP to automatically weight its processing power towards these jobs, while others are still processing in the background.

“We’ve known for a while that printers are having to handle more jobs, with shorter run lengths, which means more jobs going though the RIP. So now if you have 30 or 40 jobs all turning up at once you can deal with those and get them out,” said Davies.

“For VDP, what the new system also does automatically is recognise every pixel area that doesn’t change and intelligently only renders the areas that are different – not just text, but image blend-wise too.”

While the variable data functionality is primarily targeted at Fuji’s Jet Press 540W, Davies said it also potentially applied to the sheetfed Jet Press 720. He added that v5.5 is also ideally suited to hybrid litho and digital environments.

MIS integration has also been boosted in the latest incarnation of XMF, with v5.5 securing full CIP4 certification for the first time. XMF’s flagship 3D proofing functionality has also been upgraded, with 3D proofs now generated automatically.

Version 5.5 is available immediately, having been in beta with a number of undisclosed companies. According to Fuji, v5.5 pricing is “on par” with XMF v5.