Star product: Heidelberg Prinect Digital Front End

Workflow for the press manufacturer’s latest digital devices.

What does the software package do?

Heidelberg’s Prinect Digital Front End (DFE) is a workflow package for its latest generation of toner-based digital cutsheet presses, the Linoprint CV and CP. It provides pre-press, press and post-press set-up and processing for these presses based on the manufacturer’s core Prinect workflow tools, which are well established and familiar to many of its customers.

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?

First announced at the end of 2014, the software was launched in the UK in June at an open house event at the company’s UK HQ in Brentford, which was sold out. The Prinect DFE is aimed at customers who want the benefits of the Prinect environment, either as a standalone system or to integrate with their offset workflows. The DFE only supports the latest top-of-the-range Linoprint CV and CP digital presses, for the rest of the range Digital Print Manager remains available.

How does it work?

Central to the software is the concept of smart automation, which can automatically build a workflow based on the complexity and value of the job. 

Heidelberg Prinect product specialist John Murphy says: “30 variables determine the smart automation. These include customer, material to be printed, run length, binding method and page count. The variables are not just pre-press and print – they include the finishing.”

As automation is a central capability of Prinect DFE, it doesn’t need to be set up by an operator and is designed to by driven by external tools, either a web-to-print system or an MIS. At the product launch it was shown integrated with ROI 360 W2P and Tharstern MIS. 

How does it differ from previous products?

One new feature, which has been added in part to support the 10% wider colour gamut of the new Linoprint CV and CP machines, is a tool to simplify spot colour handling. Any spot colour can be output as a test print with a range of subtle differences that the operator – or the customer – can use to pick the preferred match visually – either to a swatch book or to printed samples of house colours.

What is the USP of the product?

“The Prinect Digital Front End incorporates Heidelberg’s production expertise across the whole factory into the product,” says Murphy. Aspects of that include the use of the same algorithms in the renderer (RIP) as in Heidelberg’s Prinect Prepress Manager for driving CTP output, to ensure consistency with your offset output if you’re an existing Prepress Manager user.

“You don’t want to be experimenting with rendering or finding differences between your output devices, you just want it to work,” says Murphy. 

Additionally the DFEs incorporate Heidelberg’ production expertise.

“There are all the tools from Prinect that we’ve always had to control post-press such as creep, spines, gripper fold and binding lap,” says Murphy. “I don’t know that such features are included in other DFEs.”

How easy is it to use?

Smart automation goes a long way to making it easy to operate and Murphy says: “You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to set it up.” 

For even more control you can set user permissions, so that when operators log in they can only access the features that are relevant to their role and experience. 

What training and support is on offer?

Again Murphy emphasises the fact that buying the Heidelberg product ensures that its expertise is embedded in the software but is also available in the form if its own engineers and range of training offered.

How much does it cost?

Pricing starts at £7,500 and ranges to £13,000. A typical configuration is likely to cost £9,000 according to Murphy. 


Hardware requirement Windows PC

Price From £7,500-£13,000 depending on configuration. A typical system would cost around £9,000

Contact Heidelberg UK 020 8490 3500


Ricoh is Heidelberg’s digital print partner and provides the core press technology for the Linoprint CV and CP. It also sells the same hardware under its own brand as the Pro C9100 and C9110. It offers a choice of two EFI Fiery controllers with its own printers, although it will also be offering the Heidelberg Prinect DFE as an option later this year. 

The firm highlights the EFI Fiery’s place as an industry standard workflow system for driving digital printers and presses, but also adds to get the best out of any workflow system it is as important to take the training to get the best out of the tools you purchase to maximise their effectiveness.

EFI Fiery E-43

Software Fiery System FS150

Hardware 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD

Additional modules Graphic Arts Package as standard

Price £47,169

Contact Ricoh 01784 416900

EFI Fiery E-83

Software Fiery System FS150

Hardware 16 GB RAM, 1TB HDD

Additional modules Graphic Arts Package Standard & Premium, Impose & Compose

Price £95,362

Contact Ricoh 01784 416900


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